Fight without Fear
I’ve been on the war path recently. I’m not sure why. Maybe its winter or a new career challenge but even my partner’s breathing is getting on my nerves. I found myself shouting at some fool who doesn’t know how a traffic circle works. I think I can have that one!
Arguments are inevitable in every relationship and its how you approach them that makes all the difference. The real purpose of arguing is to come to an agreement not bring your partner to their knees!
Here are some tips for fighting without fear that will help you get to a position of agreement without degrading and destroying your relationship. When you are in full flight your emotions are heightened and besides taking offense really quickly if you have a tongue like mine you will go for the jugular.
Argue in the present– try to resolve the problem at hand without bringing up old hurts and slights I know it is really difficult to do this but it is probably the most important lesson.
It serves no purpose to rehash old arguments when you are upset. Deal with today’s issue only.
Leave out words like “You never…” or “You always…” and avoid insults.
Insulting someone leads to feelings of rejection and of being unloved which will just cause retaliation and escalate the fight.
Rather say things like, “I appreciate you but I am upset that you did/said this and it made me feel….sad/worthless/anxious/angry!” You are going to have to practice this because it does not come naturally.
We tend not to listen when arguing. You are no doubt formulating a reply instead of hearing what the other person is saying. Listen to the words but also to the deeper nonverbal clues in what your partner is saying. Listen to the wants and needs beneath what they are saying. Chances are that the argument has been triggered by an old hurt that has never been resolved.
Listen to what is being said and don’t steamroller the conversation. Try not to interrupt the other person and try to see their point of view. If you are unclear about something reflect back what they have said by saying. “ So you are saying that ….” You’ll be shocked at how often you’ve got it wrong.
Try to avoid screaming at one another, it serves no purpose and just makes you both more angry. Loudness equals powerlessness! It says “I am not being heard so I have to shout!” You are trying to learn how to fight without fear!
Don’t make threats or become physical by throwing or hitting things. If one of you gets out of control it usually means that they are feeling cornered or threatened. Have some safeguards to the argument becoming too overheated. Walk away or take a “time out” to both go and reflect and calm down.
We have implemented safe words so when the argument is reaching a point of no return one of us will call the safe word and the other has to shut up immediately! Tough but it works. When you have become more rational, set a time to resolve the issue and clear the air.
If you find it difficult to speak your mind or are being steamrollered, use this time to write down how you feel. Even if this just allows you to recognize your emotions without showing your partner, it is a valuable tool for you.
Recognise times when you are angry because your partner did something wrong or if you have just had a bad day because you are stressed or worried and are taking out your stress on the one closest to you. Rather tell your partner that you are stressed and unfit for human consumption. Honour the truth and give your partner space. It has nothing to do with you.
Men often feel the need to try and sort your problems out instead of just listening to you and letting you let off steam.Tell him that you don’t want his help at that time, just someone to listen and be supportive. If he incapable of listening phone a friend and tell them how you feel. Don’t discuss your partner’s faults because chances are you’ll make up but your phone friend will remember every word you said! Awkward!
Don’t remain silent when something is bothering you. Silence builds resentment and allows your anger to fester and grow. Rather discuss what is bothering you and sort out the problem. There is nothing more dangerous that the words ‘Nothing, I’m fine’. They serve no one. You assume that the other person should know what you’re thinking but they really don’t. Apply all these tips to problems you may have with your sex life.
Don’t hold grudges or stay angry. When the argument is over, kiss and make up and move on. Learn to compromise and forgive.
Make up sex is wonderful!
If you can’t fight the good fight get some professional counseling or couples therapy to help you resolve your issues. Contact us if you would like a referral to a professional.
DON’T of arguing.
- Don’t be ashamed of you anger
- Don’t call in the heavy artillery
- Don’t air your dirty linen in public
- Don’t paint yourself into a corner
- Don’t use the turtle approach
- Don’t keep a chip on your shoulder
- Don’t use sex as a weapon
- Learn to say “I’m sorry”
- Learn from past experiences
- Learn to forgive and forget
- Move on.