FIGHTING FAIR

In every relationship, there comes a time when disagreement raises its head. Conflict is a natural part of human interaction. Problem is we’re not usually provided with the skills to deal with it. You’re chatting and the next moment bang! You’re in an argument that could be a deal-breaker and dismantle the relationship.

Stop! So, how do you plot a course without getting into tantrums, screaming or saying things that you will regret later? Let’s take a look at some interpersonal relationship management techniques (IRMT), no, just joking its sage advice and information on disagreements and dealing with conflict. 

WILL IT MATTER IN A YEAR?

Most disagreements are not worth the fuss or drama. It will not directly affect your life if someone forgot to order an entrée with the takeaway. It may be near impossible to stay in a Zen state at the time, but disagreements usually happen due to one person’s pride. Ask yourself, will it matter in a year? Or does it even sound logical to spend time in conflict over chilli tofu?

Breathe, yes, take a breath and ask again “does this matter?” If yes, then analyse the disagreement points that are worthy of the time and investment in the conflict zone. Let’s face it; most people don’t even remember what the argument was all about later anyway. Keeping your pride in check is a balanced way to ensuring you can achieve that Zen state after all. 

FIGHTING FAIR

FREEZE FRAME

When you feel yourself slipping from the sanity and logical state, Stop. Ask if you can reschedule the discussion because you’re feeling tense and want to ensure you’re both happy with the outcome. When you recommence the debate, you’ll be in a calmer, more reasonable state and won’t say hurtful, spiteful words or something you will regret.

FIGHTING FAIR

DON'T SCORE POINTS

It is a low blow when you’re assertively discussing an issue, and someone brings up unrelated issues or old arguments to muddy the waters or score points. Being unfair or reintroducing things not relevant to this conversation will only take you to the merry-go-round discussion. Focus on the subject at hand and don’t go there, gurl.

Remember you can always add later, but you can’t take back a hurtful comment. Control yourself and your speech and stay away from the dark side. 

FIGHTING FAIR

DON'T MANIPULATE

Manipulating (someone) by psychological means into doubting their sanity or imaging things is cruel. Your partner’s thoughts and feelings are real and should be accepted, just as yours should be. If your partner is starting to get very emotional or reacting strongly to the conversation, there is probably a valid reason, even though they may not verbalise what this is. Don’t say condescending things or things that are manipulative emotionally. First find out what can you do to ensure your partner feels they are being heard and feel safe. Probe to find out what the reason behind the behaviour is. Don’t go judgmental, why are they feeling the way they do? Please don’t jump to conclusions ask questions to ensure you understand them.

FIGHTING FAIR

SUPPORTIVE STATEMENTS

"I want to understand why you feel like that."
" I can hear you're feeling frustrated."
"What do you think the issue is?"

MANIPULATIVE STATEMENTS

"You're acting cazy."
"You're overreacting, that's not what I said."
"You're being hysterical, calm down."

DON'T SCREAM AND SHOUT

Your beliefs and feelings are yours, and you have every right to voice them. But although you believe or feel very strongly about it, be careful how you say it. There can be a fine line between assertive and aggressive. Remember to keep your tone of voice in the normal range. People mirror other people, so if you continue to be calm and collected your partner should as well. If the partner states you are shouting or your frightening them, get your voice back to the norm and apologise (this isn't about blame, it's about how your partner is feeling).

FIGHTING FAIR

END ON A HIGH

Inevitably you will have differing views about things, that's a given. If in your conversation you've hit an impasse and you haven't a clue how to deal with it, try to end this conversation with a positive note. Discuss the things that you agree on, use positive statements that highlight your agreement with those points. When the argument is over, don't let it fester, bring you down or be trivial. Tell them you're happy to go forward and demonstrate your love. Bring yourselves back to that caring, loving and the reason you first got together feeling.

FIGHTING FAIR

NEED ASSISTANCE?

Sometimes we all need a little assistance to get us back on track. Don't suffer in silence, help is always available from great supportive organisations like these:

Relationships Australia
Lifeline
Mensline Australia


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