How To Stop The Cycle of Endless Arguing
Leslie, with flushed cheeks and the tired look of
despair, described the cycle of arguing." "Jim and I seem to get stuck
on the same subjects; He says I "nag" him and tell him what to do. Why
should I have to ask? Why can't he be responsible for himself?" So we
go round and round. I feel like I have to chase him down to get him to
do anything around the house. He tells me I am nagging him, then I get
mad and stop talking to him. I end up doing all the household chores
myself. I do feel resentful. We never seem to resolve these kinds of
Figuring Out Your Argument Dance Steps
Leslie pursues, Jim comments on one of Leslie's silent
ever-present vulnerabilities;she worries about being a nag. So, she
retreats from being assertive with her request for help around the
house. The communication and connection between them stops. At the next
conflict the same pattern continues. In their argument dance steps they
know how to shut down conversation rather than keep communication lines
open. This is probably one of the most common argument dances. One
pursues the subject and the other retreats from it.
Jim probably does not like this argument dance any more
than Leslie does. Leslie needs to hang in there and assert her needs
calmly without secretly fearing that her needs are nags. Jim has been
manipulative to avoid chores . Leslie may at times be too
authoritarian, commanding that what she wants, needs to be done now.
This leaves Jim without any choices.
Few of us do like to be told what to do. Hitting each
other between the eyes with issues you know you know your partner is
insecure about will not help you resolve the issue. The silence or
fights that usually follow just perpetuate the cycling of pursuing
behavior followed by distancing behavior. Help lead an obstinate
partner to make some choices for him\herself.
You Can Learn to Recognize Your Vulnerabilities And
Talk About Them
Friends, lovers, and business partners learn what your
vulnerabilities and insecurities are just by spending time with you.
You can avoid cycling into repetitive arguments by discussing your own
fears and areas of vulnerability. Leslie could tell Jim that she
worries about being a nag and knows that her request is not nagging
just a request for cooperation. The conversation with Jim can continue
now. Leslie could further ask what needs to happen first before they
attend to chores. Leslie has given Jim room now to make a choice. He
might say he wants to pay bills, work out, make love with her, before
they clean the house.
You want to move toward shared decision making to move
away from power struggles. Good friendship, love, and business
relationships are built on mutual trust, respect, cooperation and
reciprocity. If you are not cooperating with each other, each person
must look at themselves and come up with what each willfully says, does
or does not say or do that is contributing to the problem. Next, you
can discuss what each of you are willing to do to change yourself. All
relationships need elasticity to grow over time.
Remember that it does take two to tango. A relationship
problem is always our problem. Together you create the peacock dances
and together problems can be resolved. You show you care about having a
healthy relationship when you are willing to rationally and calmly
Know when to disengage as well as engage in a
conversation. When a person is under the influence of substances or too
angry to talk, wait for a clear headed time frame to talk. Some
behaviors are always unacceptable. Don't fight dirty. No one drives you
to drink or strike another person. When behavior is extreme, you are
out of touch with yourself and control with yourself. You always have
the choice to be extremely aggravated and express that long before you
feel like acting out your anger by drowning your feelings or striking
How to Stop the Cycle in 4 Easy Steps
Patterns of interaction are habits. We pass along fair
and unfair fight rules as part of family and corporate behavior. Once
you become actively aware of the patterns of fighting that you create,
you can change what you want to change.
Admit that you are 50% of the dynamic dance. It take
100% responsibility to break these patterns rather than hope for change
without any effort on your part.
Find more information in this book:
- Figure out what you do to contribute to communication
breakdown and own it.
( Do you chase others? distance yourself? acquire selective hearing?
selective understanding?, do you have emotional Alzheimer's?)
- Know your vulnerabilities and openly work with them.
(You can't be frozen in your communications when you can work with your
own Achilles' heal.)
- Evaluate the importance of the relationship.
(Are you willing to work on yourself and the relationship or not?)