Fighting a lot? Here's 3 Tips On How to Fight Well
Why hasn’t he washed that plate yet?
Why hasn’t she cleaned up all her makeup from the bathroom?
Why are they ignoring me?
For how many of us do fights start off small but then escalate into something bigger? How often have we started a conversation with our partner, wanting to express how we’re feeling, but it’s quickly become something where you’re both defensive and calling each other names? Conflict can be challenging. It can be equally challenging when you would like to have a courageous conversation with your partner, about how you’re feeling, but also don’t want it to get ugly. At Piece by Piece Therapies we want to support couples to feel capable to communicate effectively and resolve conflict in a healthy way.
Below are three key ideas to consider next time you want to be brave and broach a hard topic with your partner. Additionally, these can be helpful when you can feel you temper starting to rise.
Take 5 (or 25) - When we get angry the way our brain works changes slightly. When we’re calm we’re quite capable of thinking rationally and calmly, however, when we get angry we can go into ‘fight or flight’ mode. Meaning, we start to enter ‘survival’ mode and can lose the ability to thinking logically and our emotions take over. This is not very helpful when you’re trying to resolve a conflict or communicate your thoughts and feelings effectively. If you have been fighting for more than 5 minutes it’s likely that you have entered ‘fight or flight’ mode. For this reason, if you’ve have been arguing for any longer than this it’s important to make a pact to take 5-25 minutes to allow yourselves to calm down and regroup. It also really important to commit to then coming back together to resolve the argument so that issues are not left unaddressed.
Be Curious - More often than not, when we want to raise an issue that has been bothering us to our partner, we can lapse into finger pointing. It can be easy for us to blame somebody else for their behaviour. This blame can very easily lead someone into becoming defensive and the conversation soon becomes unhelpful. Whilst it’s important for you to express how you feel, or how somebody else’s behaviour makes you feel, it can be really supportive to be curious as to why they are behaving they way they are. For example, if you notice that your partner can shut down when you’re trying to speak with them, rather than saying ‘You never listen to me’ you might want to try ‘I’ve noticed that when I try to start a conversation, you get really quiet, is everything ok?’ Try and be curious to your partner’s behaviours, this may help them to feel more heard and less attacked.
No Naming Calling! - This one might be an obvious one, but name calling and aggressive language can be really damaging to a relationship. Whilst some things are said in the heat of the moment they can often leave lasting scars and can slowly chip away at a relationship. At the core of a good relationship is respect, so remember it never helps to fight dirty.
At Piece by Piece Therapies we want to help couples and individuals to feel heard and supported in their relationship. If you or your partner would like support, or more information about the above, please do not hesitate to contact us or to make an appointment.