How often have you kept an argument going even after you knew you were wrong? Do you argue to release tension? Do you know that it is killing your relationship? I used to think that I had a right to argue, to yell and scream if my feelings were hurt. But, I didn’t realize the toxicity that seeps into the relationship when you allow yourself to burst into anger when you feel justified. The person that is your constant outlet may stay with you and be your emotional punching bag, but you are eroding the intimacy in the relationship.
What I have learned is that you have to find a more respectful way to express your feelings. I have learned that if I am angry that it’s not the time to express myself. My anger is a sign that I need to sit with myself and figure out what triggered my anger response. Once I have worked out my own feelings, I can sit down with the person and discuss my feelings. I can’t blame the other person for my response. I can discuss their actions and how I was affected by them. I can ask the person to avoid those actions that trigger my anger, but I cannot make the other person responsible.
I have also embraced these two words: I’m wrong. I was absolutely resistant to these words. I wanted to be right all the time because being right means that I am in control. I have learned to let go of control. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who has to be right all the time and by any means necessary. It leaves no room for communication. It leaves no room for the other personality in the relationship. So, I have learned that there are times when I have to acknowledge that I could be wrong. I have to make a safe space for the other person in the relationship to be himself or herself.
Some things to think about:
What are You Fighting About?
It might seem like it is that dish that the person left in the sink. The truth is probably that you are feeling unappreciated and you need some help. Instead of launching into a tirade about how lazy the person is, get to heart of the problem. How does it make you feel when the person is not helping you, because you are not really feeling anger. Anger is an emotion that hides a more vulnerable emotion like disappointment, fear or sadness.
Is the Person being Mean on Purpose?
Before you make the person responsible for your feelings, think about if they have malicious intent. Do you think that sock is on the floor because that person made a conscious decision to see you pissed off and breathing like a dragon? Is it more possible that it was simply carelessness? The sad truth is that people are rarely thinking about someone else when they make an action. Now, don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t let the other person off the hook. But, instead of looking at it as a crime against you, you can see it as a moment to teach love. Teach the person how to love you through their actions and thoughts.
Don’t Fight the Battle to Lose the War
Remember that arguing serves to erode love and trust. The person can’t trust your reactions anymore and then begins walking on eggshells around your emotions. Choose your battles wisely. If someone is doing something incredibly hurtful to you, then I believe that you may have an argument to get across the severity of the action and emotional pain. But, for simple differences in how you would do things versus how they would do it, you can sit down and have a conversation. When someone is hurting your feelings through differences in perceptions, it is an opportunity to teach love.
If you love the person and they love you, you should not trample all over each others’ emotions. Love is about making space. Love is allowing someone else’s view of the world to exist and expand along with your own. If you aren’t learning together, the chances are that you aren’t growing together and growth is key to maintaining a loving relationship.