My mate and I fight all the time. We wake up in the morning in an argument and we go to bed fighting. It is nonstop. We fight over everything, big and small. We fight over nothing. We constantly criticize one another and we never agree on anything, even when we agree.
I lie in bed at night and all I think about is what he did to me during the day and how mad I am and then it starts all over, I just want to tell him how mean he is and how much he does not respect me. I cannot take anymore. We have been together for six years and even did a commitment ceremony last year to help us stop fighting, but for the last two years or so, it is one big long fight.
We used to really connect and get along, but now, it’s all bad. How can we go back to like it was before when we got along?
Fighting is just one way of communicating with our mates, not however, exactly the best way. We usually fall into argumentative patterns when we are stressed and lack patience.
We tend to expect our mates to read and understand us, even when we do not understand ourselves.
Relationship issues always seem to come back to the same thing, communication. Most certainly, you are not fighting over who left the lid off the toothpaste. More likely, the lid represents a perspective to the offended party. The perspective may be one of feeling that your mate does not respect you or is insensitive to your need for order. His act may represent abuse to you.
Stop before you say or do anything. Take several long slow deep breaths. Pause when you inhale and pause when you exhale. Do not think. Do not do anything, but observe your breath.
If long, slow deep breathing is not your scene, then walk out of the house, in your pajamas if necessary and run around the block. Go for a drive. Do whatever you have to do to separate yourself from the scene and your anger.
When you have had time to calm down, ask yourself why the lid off the toothpaste upsets you so much. This is not high treason. Understanding that your anger may be out of proportion to the act will help you to see that it is not the act itself that is the problem.
Go deeper. Really investigate why you are so angry. What does his leaving the top off the toothpaste represent to you? Ask yourself question after question until you are completely spent or at the source of your anger.
Understanding what is really upsetting us can lead to a conversation of substance rather than a highly flammable criticism match.
One of my client’s mates began a new job and is working many more hours than he used to work. The mate is exhausted and less helpful around the house. My client came into my office fuming mad upset because his partner had not vacuumed the house for two weeks.
As the session continued, we discussed my client’s resentment and eventually his sadness and feelings of loss over his mate’s new schedule. He felt left behind and was not getting quality time with his partner.
We formed a plan for him and his partner to find ways of reconnecting. He agreed to the do the vacuuming because it meant that when his partner was home, they could spend time enjoying one another instead of catching up on chores.
His partner agreed to be more fully present when he was home and to treat my client with gratitude for taking over the household. They started a date night. They reworked their schedules to have lunch together twice per week. They made the effort to reconnect.
Whatever you are arguing about, STOP!!! Get to the bottom of the issue and be honest about your feelings. Working together instead of against one another is key to staying happy.
Try these two easy steps to a more peaceful relationship:
1. DO NOT ENGAGE! When you are triggered and feeling angry with your partner, breathe long, slow and deep or walk away.
2. INVESTIGATE & UNDERSTAND!!! Become calm and get to the bottom of your feelings before you discuss your problem.
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By Maria Etta Anabel