When arguments escalate

When arguments escalate and take over your relationship one or both of you may decide the only option is to ‘throw in the towel’ and leave.  This in fact may be the right answer – you may not be meant for each other in the long term.  But how can you be sure?

You see men and women work differently.  They think differently.  The act differently.

When everything in the garden is rosy we can all behave like rational thinking human beings but when something flares then the animal in us takes over, rationality flies out of the window, we see ‘red’ and then say and do things that under normal calm situations we’d never ever do.

Have you ever felt better by being criticized or put down, patronised or being treated with sarcasm or condescension?  Probably not.  The problem is that when someone is angry, hurt, resentful or feeling unloved then traits within them will come to the surface and take over.   Now normal behaviour has disappeared and the person you loved has either turned into a wildcat or a raging bull or some other form which you don’t recognise.

We also attach meanings to events.  So for instance when you both met and fell in love you both felt great, your relationship was on a high, the world around you seemed fantastic (even if you had issues in other areas of your life – you felt you could win through).

Then when life became OK, you both felt OK, your relationship was OK and life, maybe, was OK around you.

Then something happened.  A financial crisis, a death in the family, an accident.

Now one or both of you are dealing with a real shift in feelings.  If one of you is still on a high then the one who isn’t can feel ignored and equally the one on the high can be saying things to themselves like  why don’t they “Just get over it”, “Deal with it”.

Now both can feel resentful.  Now instead of feeling great every time you see your partner, one or both of you can start attaching negative feelings to the relationship.  You start to blame the relationship for the way you feel. Why doesn’t he or she understand what I’m going through.  Why doesn’t he go and find a job.   Why doesn’t she do more around the house so when I come home I don’t have to do stuff…….

Communication breaks down and blame starts to take over.  Resentments get stacked.  Life is now no longer fun.

So if this is you what I’d like you to consider and know today is this.

Arguments happen – they always will.

But you can become better at them so they don’t destroy but they allow you to grow.

Argument Action:

Before you have got to the point of seeing red, take a deep slow breath and do something which, initially, will feel totally alien:

Put yourself in your partner’s shoes.  Look at their world from their eyes – not your own.  This requires you to stop being judgemental.  This requires you to stop attacking, rolling your eyes, being sarcastic about their efforts or condescending – whatever it is you do and now it requires you to say the following:

“You know I love you too much to continue this argument”  and regardless of how strongly you feel about whether you’re right or being treated unjustly, allow yourselves space.  To allow the animal in you to go back into its cage so you can say calmly and with love how you feel and what you need – and to listen equally calmly about what they need and how they feel.

Tomorrow we’ll learn how to listen from a position of strength.