Online Help for Partnership Problems © Martyn Carruthers
Arguments are part of relationships.
Arguments reflect your values, beliefs, boundaries and bonds.
Healthy arguments can INCREASE your happiness together.
Unhealthy arguments can destroy your relationships.
Arguments are essential. Arguments help you fine tune your relationships and challenge injustices. Yet some arguments may cause you to act impulsively, and sabotage your relationships.
In my experience, most arguments are the definitions of words.
For example, what is love for you? What does love mean to your partner?
If you think you have no conflicts – you’re not in a committed relationship or somebody is hiding important things. Intimacy includes conflicts and arguments. When couples communicate their priorities, plans, boundaries, beliefs and bonds – some will differ. The questions, “Who is right?” and “Who decides?” may trigger strong emotions, beliefs, transferences, personal histories and relationship issues.
Most arguments are people defending themselves from character-based accusations.
E.g. “You are unreliable, inconsiderate or lazy”. Such accusations
can be direct, implied (e.g. voice tonality) or imagined. Kosjenka Muk
Rather than trying to win arguments, here are some ways to help you clarify the details of your life together – in ways that improve and maintain happiness.
Assume that you are loved and remember why you love your partner.
You WILL argue – so HOW will you argue – and WHEN? Do you trust your partner and yourself enough to argue with words? Or do you simmer in silence? If one of you are tired, hungry or ill, or if one of you feels the time is not right – do you discuss issues when you can talk about whatever is troubling you?
Communicate gently and stay engaged. Use any waiting time to consider how you can best communicate your truth in supportive ways.
Take responsibility. Own your argument as a step towards finding solutions. After an argument, work together to find better ways to express yourselves.
If you must leave – explain why and for how long. Ensure that your partner knows what you are doing and why. (If you leave the house with a packed bag, you may communicate that you are ending your relationship, while you may only be taking laundry to the dry-cleaners).
Even with your best intentions and highest truths, you will sometimes hurt your partner. If you believe that being right is more important than expressing love or being happy – your love relationship and passion may already be doomed.
If you find that you were wrong or misinformed – admit it quickly and apologize. (If you cannot apologize, you may have difficulties in any healthy relationship).
Be kind after a quarrel. Avoid acting righteously or behaving like a victim. Develop an attitude of caring and consideration.
Do something together. Being active together may help you both feel better. Housework, gardening or even silent walking is better than avoiding each other.
Talk, talk, talk. Then kiss and make up, if you can. Leave your attitudes at the bedroom door and turn to each other instead turning to distractions.
Are you still ANGRY later?
Is your anger temporary, triggered by something?
Or do you feel generally angry most of the time?
Anger is a feeling, hostility is an attitude and aggression refers to behavior. Although anger is often called a negative emotion, evoked when a person cannot attain a goal or fulfill a need, we find that most anger seems to follow perceived injustice.
Angry people often behave childishly and can be very destructive.
If you feel anger and remain adult, you can better decide how to respond.
Expressing love includes expressing your anger.
If you can’t express your anger – consider getting help.
Dealing with Anger
If your anger and its consequences causes problems, you may hide your anger, but your stress may lead to depression or obsessions.
Angry people often damage their relationships, which may increase their anger and isolation. Withheld anger can also contribute to bedroom problems such as (erectile dysfunction in men and frigidity in women).
People who are afraid of their own anger may be passive-aggressive. They may not allow themselves to feel anger … rather they may hide or deny their angry feelings. They may be afraid that if they allow themselves to express anger, they will damage or destroy something – including their relationships.
Chronic Anger & Aggression
If a parent appears to repress anger … a child may perceive the parent as a victim,
and express the parent’s anger.
If a child decides that a family member is a victim, then another must be a victimizer, that child may attempt to rectify this injustice by expressing the anger of the perceived victim – to the perceived victimizer. This expression of anger can lead to a child identifying with a victim and suffering chronic or habitual anger.
Habitually angry people often dedicate their lives to fighting,
to helping victims and / or to punishing victimizers.
Understanding your emotions is useful, but insight alone is
rarely enough to change them. We help people change.