Learning to stop a fight



Have you ever argued with your partner and couldn’t remember why you were fighting, although you were very upset in the moment?

I have clients who will come into therapy and say they’ve had an argument with their partner, but when I ask what the fight was about they sometimes can’t recall. I notice this especially with clients and couples who fight often.

We typically forget what caused us to fight if the fight wasn’t about anything in particular. For example, maybe your partner said something that irritated you, which snowballed into back and forth banter and let to a full-fledged fight, tears and all. Looking back you might wonder how it escalated and why you even fought.

If arguing is routine in your relationship, I recommend seeing a therapist for help with this. A therapist can help you understand the emotions and anxieties you experience in your relationship so you can identify what’s causing you to get into power struggles with your partner.

If you feel that you and your partner tend to fight over nothing in particular, consider that it might be time to pick your battles. Next time you get into an argument and it begins to escalate, remind yourself that whatever you’re fighting about might not be a big deal in a day or two, so why not let it go now?

Take a deep breathe and let go of the need to be right. This is very hard to do when you want your partner to see your point of view. The need to be right typically comes from a place of simply wanting to be understood. The problem is that arguments can escalate quickly when we can’t let go of the need to have our partner see things through our eyes.

Remember that when tension is high, conflict resolution isn’t likely. It’s best to wait for a better time to talk. If you forget your arguments, remind yourself that you probably won’t even remember what the argument was about in a day or two. So why not let it go in the moment?

When you and your partner are calm rather than fighting, you can have a mutually respectful conversation where both hearts are open and you’re listening. So breathe deeply, and keep your heart and mind open when you need to resolve something with your partner. There can only be authentic resolution when you’re calm and willing to listen.



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