Why is it we conflict the most with those we love? Are you interested in moving beyond survival ‘fight or flight’, to an improved relationship?
Relationship research shows us that as we get more familiar with our partner, their normal irritating quirks, blind spots, and normal self-centeredness cause a predictable “knot” of marital fighting. We can’t believe they’re saying the same things in the same ways – again! Arrrgh! So we snap, accuse, argue, or yell in the same old fights, over and over! We just want them to change, grow up, and stop “making” us so angry! How to stop this cycle and move beyond it?
Three tips to stop the habitual fighting and move towards healthier relating.
1) Learn how to hold onto yourself, calm yourself, soothe your own normal urge to fight, or leave.
Through counseling, you can be more mindful, recognize family patterns, release anger in healthy ways, and use breathing techniques to calm normal relationship stress. This starts to “undo” the normal knot of repeating fights through a combination of tools, so you can relax and take care of your self when you need to while still being in relationship. One becomes less “glued at the hip”, and able to calm your self down while maintaining contact with your partner, a very adult skill.
2). Grow your awareness of who your partner really is for them self.
We all tend to see things from our own perspective, which is normal. While you practice calming your self down, you could be using the power of the best map I know of to understand your partner, the enneagram of personality. Use this map to not only see your partner in a more complete way, use it learn about your OWN quirks! You could be surprised at how differently the enneagram helps you see your self and your partner, even after years of relating! This map also calms you through self-acceptance, and brings up compassion for your partner when you see their habitual patterns more clearly instead of reacting so much to them. We all have our quirks. Learn more on the smartphone app “enneaapp”, which can include a free personality test, plus descriptions. Or, for a more thorough test, take the Rheti full test, $10, at www.enneagraminstitute.com We tend to be a combination of two personality types in the enneagram, which are right next to one another. A “striver” three combined with a “helpter” two, for example. The numbers aren’t as important as the awareness of the habits of thinking and feeling as they affect your relationship. Plus how we can move BEYOND our habits to be more present with our selves and our partner. Freedom!
3). Communication: Emotionally Focused Reflective Listening.
The quick ‘back and forth’ of normal nitpick fighting can get exhausting. We’ve all been there, the same old fights! When one of you recognizes “It’s happening again,” why not agree beforehand that it’s ok to call a timeout, and try something new, when fighting erupts? What do you get from believing you’re right, indispensable, harder working, more unique, wiser, more powerful, more peaceful, or more fun? Or, when one of you remembers this tool for communication, and starts reflecting what you hear the other is feeling, fights can calm down quickly, and you can laugh at yourselves more quickly each time! Learn how to practice the basics here, and then remember you don’t have to do everything by yourselves! Why not practice with a therapist, using your real issues, so you can resolve them, using a more objective third party, as you grow your own objectivity? Couples learn these tools with their real issues, go practice on their own, and once in a while come in for tune-ups when they get stuck. Five to eight sessions is a frequent number of sessions most couples come in for to learn these tips.