How to fight well

by singlemomseeking on January 20, 2011

Maybe you grew up with parents who fought most of your entire childhood — like I did? They raised their voices and hurled words that hurt, and then retreated to their corners in silent anger. You could almost see the walls go up around everyone, as their fights got dirtier. Everyone seemed to take a stand, no matter what.

It wasn’t until you left home and started to observe couples — the kind of grown-ups who work gently at love — that you realized this kind of fighting wasn’t normal. Still, for more than a decade, you have struggled in intimate relationships with men. This struggle feels familiar, even if you’re not happy, even if you don’t feel safe. Fortunately, you start to seek out people who might help you — like Love Coach Rinatta — who writes such incredibly insightful posts, such as “How to stop fighting in your relationship.”

She tells you that you matter — and so does he. She says that you have the right to have needs and wants and also make requests of each other. She explains what kinds of actions are damaging to a relationship, like dismissing, stonewalling, ignoring, minimizing and making promises that are not kept.

But that fight-or-flight is ingrained in your psyche, and sometimes you fall back into old patterns when you’re afraid. Patterns. It’s as simple as that, and you want to change them. You try to remember that it’s okay to take a break to calm down. When you feel afraid, your pattern has been to lash back You did this, you did that. Yet, next time, you take a deep breath and say instead, “I’m scared.”

If you’re on a journey to change your patterns, too, I’d love to hear about it.

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