This paper introduces new analytical concepts to reveal overlooked dimensions of power inequalities between elite development agents (EDAs), local development agents and the targets of aid. Affective privilege captures the positioning of EDAs within affective patterning that sustains their dominant position. They enjoy a greater capacity to affect others in ways that reproduce structural power. Affective resilience captures their reduced capacity to be affected in ways that challenge their prior understandings, including understanding of self and their relations with others. Both affective privilege and affective resilience act as barriers to mutual understandings, limit reflexivity and, crucially, sustain hierarchies that are intimately felt by the power-deficient, but that pass unnoticed and therefore unaddressed by EDAs. I propose vulnerability as an ethical practice by the powerful as a means to both be attentive to these hierarchies, and to meaningfully transform relationships in development.