August 7, 2023
DEBATE, EXPLAINING, AND DEFENDING ARE ALL THE SAME.
What causes couples to quarrel? The most common explanation is that the words people pick harm their deepest feeling of connection. Although hearts are in the right place, saying the wrong thing can have long-term consequences. Fights may erupt over little and major topics. Each person sets off the other until they’re both in a place they don’t want to be. Let’s have a look at this to see what the best things to say are. Fighting with your partner
WHAT CAUSES UGLY FIGHTS?
Couples aren’t truly addressing one other’s issues in fights, according to language analysis, but are misreading each other’s emotions and responding to the wrong problems, resulting in muddled communication. Words are repeated and voices get louder, as though automatic repetition and volume override the lack of understanding, as it is with persons who speak various foreign languages. Old injuries to one’s sense of self can be rekindled, just as unintended insults that are not promptly addressed become lasting sensitivities. These sensitivities and previous injuries may be the result of a person’s personal history and trauma. The cycle of louder and louder voices reflecting hurt feelings damages their feelings for one another. This might further distort their perceptions of one another, perhaps resulting in tragic outcomes. Poor communication can cause alienation, separation, and even a level of hatefulness that can lead to divorce.
Have you ever been in any of these situations?
I thought we were having a normal conversation, What was the cause of your anger?
(You’re being unreasonable, emotional, and unwilling to listen.)
You questioned me and questioned my intentions, but I was only explaining why I did what I did.
I wasn’t doing anything wrong since I understood the context. Isn’t it supposed to be that way. What is the cause of this anger? (The underlying message is that you are irrational, emotional, and don’t listen.)
If we weigh the facts in a healthy discussion, we can figure out what and who was right or wrong. That isn’t a personal insult. We both want the right solution, don’t we? Why do you get so angry? (Underlying message: You are being unreasonable, too emotional, and not listening.)
DEFENSE VERSUS UNDERSTANDING
You may disagree, but the responses mentioned above are defensive and exacerbate the situation. By defensive, I don’t mean defending your acts or beliefs — I’m not referring to Freud here, but rather the feeling that you can’t deal with whatever feelings your unconscious is expressing. Simply put, you’re disputing what was said rather than expressing that you heard and understood what was spoken to you. You’re justifying your activities, claiming that you didn’t do anything wrong and that your actions were necessary. You’re expressing, whether overtly or subtly, that your spouse is unreasonable and excessively emotional, and so isn’t listening.
Probably, you are correct. They’re not paying attention to what you’re saying. They have a lot of feelings. They’re acting out of character. You’re doing the same thing. Who will take charge as the responsible adult? Or are you going to have a disagreement over that as well?
You may argue that you are responding to what was stated to you. That’s not the case. You don’t even appear to understand what was stated to you. Maybe you picked up on the majority of the terms but didn’t understand what they meant.
What are you hearing and how are responding to it?
It’s all about the meaning. The conversation may take a more hopeful course if you asked yourself, “What was the meaning of what was said?” and then ask the individual with whom you are conversing if your understanding was right. You’d be almost halfway to a far better discussion if you asked yourself, “What was the sentiment behind those words?” — and then double-checked if your interpretation of the meaning and felt was right. Keep track of your feelings and reactions to what has been said to you. We’ll get to that soon.
If you only respond to your feelings, you’ll probably end up with defensive responses that criticise or explain behaviours but don’t validate your partner’s experience. In its most basic form, this is a rash attempt to defend or justify acts that are being questioned or criticised. It’s called gaslighting when someone is convinced to believe something they don’t see with their own eyes. Gaslighting is a nasty and sometimes hazardous practice. It is encouraging and positive to be clearly understood.
That will be addressed in due time. First, we must emphasise confirming proper understanding by getting confirmation that our understanding is true if we want to have a healthy, productive conversation rather than argue. If you can get everything up to this point, the conversation has the potential to become very useful.
It’s not the same as agreeing with someone else’s experience. It’s only affirming that you understand their point of view. You may or may not agree after ensuring that you have grasped the concept correctly. When we hear what we’ve just said out loud, we often realise that we haven’t articulated ourselves well, and our position softens. Self-awareness and understanding can be facilitated by listening to how we have been heard. Mutual understanding can lead to positive consequences. What is the most likely result of mutual misunderstanding? This isn’t what you want.
RESPONSE TO CONFLICT: HEALTHY AND UNHEALTHY
There are both healthy and harmful reactions to defensive behavior. Stuffing your feelings and allowing them to harden into quiet resentments is harmful. Using hurtful remarks or intimidation, as well as trying to shout louder until you shut out the other person’s voice, are all examples of becoming aggressive. Unresolved resentments and aggression are likely to develop and destroy the relationship. Worse, one or both parties may give up on the relationship, destroying it unknowingly or purposefully.
The difficult aspect is establishing new, healthy habits and routines. Changing deeply entrenched habits is difficult. Emotionally-given criticism might feel like a personal attack. It’s particularly difficult to avoid retaliating, which is a natural, even instant reaction to what seems like an attack. The inherent promise is that the effort of change returns much greater benefits than the cost of change.
What Does Healthy Look Like?
Here’s how we can define healthy to make it simpler for you to grasp the objective and identify it when you get there:
- Healthy is paying attention to your emotions so that you can fully understand and communicate what you believe you’re hearing.
- Listening to what is said about the other person while understanding that it isn’t about you at the time is healthy. They’re unhappy, furious, or hurt. They raise their voices in an attempt to be heard. You are healthier if you choose to listen rather than reply right away.
- Finding a way to show that your spouse is being heard is healthy.
- Healthy means using careful language to confirm your own knowledge rather than assuming your understanding is right.
These new healthy habits and behaviours show that you value the other person’s understanding. Even if your perception is incorrect, you are showing your concern for them by attempting to understand their viewpoint.
Prioritize accurate understanding and sensitively expressing it. Too often, people assume they know what they’re talking about when they don’t. As a result, they explain themselves and why the other is wrong. It’s a judgment, no matter how you describe it. Consider this: Do you really believe that pointing them where they went wrong would be positively accepted in the heat of the moment? When raw, hurt, and angry emotions are driving the conversation and relationship, how often does criticism become constructive?
Do they know you understand, even if you do? Do they believe they’ve been heard? How did you figure that out? Keep in mind that this isn’t about you right now. It’ll happen later. At some point, it needs to be about you, too, or your relationship will be doomed. One-sided relationships are undesirable for one or both partners. This must be done one step at a time.
What to Do in that situation?
Listen first, then paraphrase what you believe you heard to ensure that your interpretation is accurate in terms of meaning and emotion. Are you able to keep yourself from reacting inappropriately to your feelings in this moment? If you can’t, you’ve got an issue that has to be dealt with separately, perhaps. Let’s pretend for the time being that you have sufficient self-control and that you can listen carefully and articulate yourself clearly enough to be understood. If the person to whom you’re speaking doesn’t understand your clear request to confirm what you think was said, they may have an issue that has to be addressed individually.
If we discover that listening and speaking sensitively with a couple’s current skills is difficult after attempting these approaches, we question their ability to have a good relationship without resolving these concerns. Even if they can’t talk about controversial subjects, every mutually satisfying relationship requires both sides to be able to listen and communicate. Those abilities can be developed, but first, they must exist. Individual therapy may be the solution if they don’t exist, if they lack the ability to listen, understand, and express themselves clearly, or if they have an issue that has to be addressed individually.
To avoid relationship disputes, prioritize effective communication, active listening, and compromise. Set healthy boundaries, appreciate each other, and nurture shared interests. Seek counseling if needed to address underlying issues constructively
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