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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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

T January 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I remember, when the ex and I were on the verge of splitting up, a particular argument where I stopped fighting and stopped listening to the hurtful words he was saying. I stopped because I didn’t care anymore who won or lost, I just wanted it to end.

In my current relationship, I DO care but I now know that I have the power to step back. When my current love and I fight, it is really tough because I want to defend myself. And I do. And then he does. And it becomes, instead of defending, attack, Attack, ATTACK! We’re both attacking out of fear and past battles we’ve faced in prior relationships.

Thankfully in there, one of us will stop and realize, we MAY be wrong. We MAY not see things eye to eye. Then one of us will say something like, “I hear you saying this. Why do you feel that way?” or “I could be wrong. I’m only telling you how I feel.” After that switch gets flipped from “attack” to “this is how I’m feeling” or “please clarify what I think you’re saying”, it’s amazing how much quicker the argument dries up. We may agree to disagree but at least each of us has been heard. Sometimes, being heard is the whole point.
.-= T´s last blog ..Hes SO big and youre so small =-.

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Love Coach Rinatta January 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Rachel! Thanks for reaching out to me.

The key is – don’t fight! Fighting does not work. It does not work in relationships, or friendships, or parenting, or work. It is a pointless way of discharging energy and frustration.

So if you feel you need to fight, go hit a pillow. Go discharge that frustration and fear away from the people you love.

And then talk. Just the way T said. Talking, understanding, seeing into each other, problem solving, strategizing, those do work.

You know what I find remarkable and always fascinating? How we humans can be so very similar to each other and yet so very different in how we interpret events and how we think. More and more I think what resolves relationship problems is simply realizing that our partner has a different view point and learning to trust that his/her view point is ok too and that the world won’t collapse if things don’t always exactly go our way.

Peace!
.-= Love Coach Rinatta´s last blog ..How to Take Feedback or Criticism so that it Contributes to Your Life =-.

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Momma Sunshine January 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I read in a book recently that everything a person does is either love, or a cry for love. Since reading that, when things have gotten tense between CBG and I, I have been able to remind myself (when he’s lashed out) that he needs to be loved now, more than ever. I see his upset as a call for love…and when I do, it makes it so much easier to NOT act out in response. I may still feel angry, hurt, or upset, but I allow myself to have those feelings without lashing out at him. Because we all know what happens when we lash out at an angry person…it all gets very ugly very quickly.

My ex and I used to fight a lot. Thankfully, it’s not something that CBG and I do very often. We have both been in bad relationships in the past, and I guess we’re determined to learn from that and do better this time around.

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Martini Mom January 21, 2011 at 12:51 am

The Man and I don’t fight very often, but when we do we don’t do it very well. The Man says EVERYTHING VERY LOUDLY when he’s upset and, though he’s not actually yelling at me, it *feels* like he is. (To his credit, I’ve talked to him about this and, after initially accusing me of being overly sensitive, he has gotten much better at keeping his voice down. And he’s a fighter, whereas I prefer to discuss things. I’m not interested in who’s right or wrong anymore (a change from my younger years), I’m interested in solving the problem. But The Man in still very much in the mode of showing no weakness while arguing. He once even told me that he’s not going to give up any ground for fear that I’ll use it against him later in the argument. Wow. Sounds like he’s been up against some calculating people in the past, doesn’t it? Luckily, the more “practice” he have at arguing, the more he learns that I’m not going to use anything he says against him – that’s just not me – and his automatic defensiveness is slowly dissolving. We’ll get there…
.-= Martini Mom´s last blog ..Another parenting rant- wherin I call bullshit Repeatedly =-.

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Legal Editor Mom January 21, 2011 at 8:28 am

The man and I refuse to fight. We both had disastrous marriages and were both unwilling to settle for less the 2nd time around, so we each work harder to NOT fight. Sometimes to prevent a heated argument it takes walking away, which I am very good at. In turn, once he realizes that I am not going to argue, he reevaluates his position and we reconvene when we’re both calmer and more willing to listen.

Listening and trying to see the other’s point of view—even when you don’t understand it or may not agree with it, goes a long way. Mutual respect is key in any relationship.

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LT January 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Thinking before I speak works great!

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Don January 26, 2011 at 3:26 am

When I feel angry with my girlfriend I try to calm down and talk properly. Rather than screaming at her, I try and explain what’s made me angry. Most of the time it works pretty well – a conversation about why we both feel frustrated is more productive than a screaming match.
.-= Don´s last blog ..Legitimate Paid Surveys – Helping you make money online =-.

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AdrienneMay January 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I love this post. We work hard on our communication. I tend to withdraw and that doesn’t solve any problems either. We have little tiffs but generally our big disagreements are so much better when we carve time out to really talk and understand each other… so much better for the kids to see us agree to disagree and talk than fight or scream or worse, pretend like everyone always magically gets along.

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Andrew @ Blogging Guide January 28, 2011 at 12:21 am

Sometimes people argue over such trivial or small matters that at times you would wonder why do we fight over such things? I think this happens to everyone. What I usually do is to get out of the house, stay away until the iron cools down as they say, then I come back. By that time, we can talk it out in a peaceful manner.

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Kat Wilder January 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm

My parents fought a lot; it was nonstop bickering. So it made me conflict adverse. Same with my ex.
By not fighting, we kept our unhappiness inside until the marriage imploded. That’s not good either.

I don’t agree with Renatta that, “The key is – don’t fight! Fighting does not work. ” I think they key is to know how to fight — well, disagree — well. We don’t always agree with the ones with live with and love; knowing how to work that out is key.

Plus, makeup sex is pretty nice ;-)

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