Relationship Advice to Avoid Fighting from the 1960s
1. Don’t take the bait. A personal attack is their way of getting their intended victim to play their game. Think of a personal attack as a them tossing a baited fishing line out to you, hoping that you will bite. Once you take the bait, then its GAME OVER–they win by default because now the victim has become an easy target for additional attacks. Even if the victim is quick-lipped, they are still fighting an uphill battle because they are on the defensive rather the offensive. Make a conscious deciscion not to take the bait and not to play their game. Make them play yours by not reacting emotinally.
2. Avoid the “YOU” word. It’s really easy to tell when someone is getting angry at another because they start throwing out “YOU” statements all over the place. “YOU” statements are very accusatory in nature. “YOU are (blank)” “You did (blank)” “You said (blank)” It signals to the other person that a criticism is coming their way and they get on the defensive, just like if someone bladed their stance and put up their fists for a fight. If you need common examples of this, just look at some of the posts here in this forum….there are a lot of angry “YOU” statements being tossed around. Instead, reflect on your own statements by using “I” or pull them closer to you by using “WE.”
3. Empathize with them. When you find yourself getting angry at another person for the stuff that did, try for a moment to place yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. Often, we assume mistakes are done against us personally, when it was unitentional. Once, as a new employee at a company, I was contantly berated by my boss for making common newbie mistakes–afterall, mistakes are how we all learn and improve, right? After one particularly bad case of my boss screaming at me–in front of my fellow coworkers. I simply asked him if he made similar mistakes when he first began working and how I could improve so that the same thing would not happen again. This made him change his tune real quick because he was viewing me through the eyes of someone who had 20 years of experience on his hands. I had 5 days of experience. I made him view the situation through my perspective and this changed his view on the whole thing. So try to empathize with them first and see if it was an honest mistake. And if it was done deliberately, then its time to disconnect and move forward.
4. Don’t fight back–educate them. Assertiveness can be good and is what many people say to do instead of aggression, but the problem with being assertive is that it still breeds conflict between both people. Assertiveness is basically getting the same point across, only in a polite fashion so that the other side feels obligated not to fight back. While this might work to avoid further attacks, it does very little to satisfy the underlying resentment that lingers underneath because they will still harbor ill-feelings towards you even though you exhibited calm assertiveness. When harsh criticisms, sniping, or abuse take place….what
I’ve found to work better is to tell them how their words makes me feel. The theory behind this is that it offers no target for them to strike at…..it makes them consciously aware that their words are hurting you…..and it will often make them feel sorry or guilty (assuming they do not have socipathic behavior) for what they have said. So tell them something like, “It makes me feel (blank) when I get shouted at.” or pose it as an innocent question such as, “Why would you say something that’s hurtful to me?” If you offer no resistance to their attack and instead use their attack to educate them, then its not backing down, or submitting to them, but rather it is empowering you with taking control and it is educating them as what not to do.
Original of the video here
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[Music] [Music] it couldn’t happen it wouldn’t happen but for the sake of illustrating some construct and destructive ways of handling marital conflicts let’s suppose that there’s an argument going on at the Adams house and if there’s an identical argument going on at the same time over at the Cain let’s listen in on both couples for a moment first the king it’s only money let’s just throw it all away it’s only a budget it’s not sacred not with you around me who does all the scraping and scrounging to keep us on that precious budget I suppose it was you who shopped in four different grocery stores and over at the Adams out I don’t know why you spend so much time on the food part of it I mean yours the Adams is and the canes are at it again the gist of their arguments so similar that in switching from one house to the other not a thread is lost now the best way to handle the disagreement is to calm discussion but as you can see neither the Addamses nor the canes are using the best way right now but in a moment one of these fairs will begin to handle their conflict constructively working toward a solution for their differences the other couples will let the conflict handle them so that hostility mounts and a solution is away than ever see if you can tell which one of these couples is arguing constructively which pair is arguing destructively my big fat allowance as you call it all goes for far better get me along I think there is no place for any leeway we have ourselves strapped in a straitjacket going overboard for a vacation won’t help that I don’t call it going overboard not now under the circumstances just once I want to have the best you have the best when you buy a new suit oh boy back to that I bought one good suit in my life and I’ve worn it for three years that’s extravagant but a trip to Acapulco oh no that makes sense look you know my suit has nothing to do with this oh let’s just forget it okay but you can’t say that a real vacation doesn’t make sense not when we have the money and not what is the only camera but out for years is that what’s bothering you the fact that we’re gonna be tied down look if that’s what’s eating you let’s talk about that not about spending every cent in the savings account baby’s gonna keep you at home the responsibilities are gonna pop exactly think of the hospital bills and furniture and stuff for the baby deliver the baby for two dollars and 98 cents less than somebody else you are acting like a mini you’ve already lined up the best obstetrician in town hey speaking of him what does he think of this idea of yours of going on a vacation does he think it’s all right I know no I didn’t have I’m sorry you’re not the mini I’m the ninny for letting you get me so worked up look I understand how you feel I’d like to break loose from the ground while we still can but we’re gonna need every penny and we’re gonna have less because you won’t be working anymore you’d like to break your loose you want to get away just as much as I do I never said I didn’t I said do we have to go whole hog and you jumped up on your hike I think your pardon you said a budget is a budget and I thought that meant that trip was just off well it’s not not unless you insist on going to the ends of the earth I mean I am willing to go anywhere I gave yourself oh okay okay but I know we’ve got to be reasonable about it well then for Pete’s sakes let’s argue about what we can do huh meanwhile over at the Kane’s I tell you what you can do you always do you can stop acting like a martyr every time I inject a little common sense into the discussion common sense you say no without even listening to what I have to say and you call that common sense but what is there to listen to you walk into the room and announce we’re going to Mexico you expect me to just say yes darling well that wouldn’t hurt for once do you have to make all of the decisions oh come on don’t be so silly talk facts will ya you want facts what about the car you bought what you wanted didn’t you oh it’s all right for me to work for cars and vacations but I don’t have any sense not when what you have to say is just plain stupid picking out a car because it’s boobs so stupid I’m in charge of my own department I thought that had come out your fine job well let me tell you I’m fed up with hearing about your fine job you knew when you married me that it would take time for me to work off in the company that was all right when you were trying to hook me now it’s new carpets new cars big trips any excuse for you to keep on working that’s what you really want how would you know what I really want at least what I earn gives us some of the nicer things in life the nicer things what are they more furniture a new carpet have you ever heard of a family of children or aren’t they nice enough especially since it was your idea to wait until you got established until we had a family my idea it’s the laughs my idea was to wait until you grew up a little a fine mother you’d make even your own mother admits you’re spoiled leave her out of this why should I I paid for her rent and her groceries don’t I oh maybe I shouldn’t mention that maybe that’s one of the nicer things in life that I haven’t got sense enough to appreciate oh brother tears that just solves everything with both the canes and the Addamses it’s clear that there is much more involved here than the disagreement over money with which the quarrels began this is usually true of most marital conflicts it’s also apparent that the heat of a quarrel has nothing to do with whether it solves anything the hot-headed Addams is bear this out do it for you baby how about here oh no no that’s too close to aunt Helen you know she ever heard we went through and didn’t stop besides getting trapped at a relative’s is the last thing Oh see there’s that very stomach to Smith’s raved about what do you think about that if you decided that the Adams conflict for all its heat was the one which moved through constructive channels you were right their clash cleared the air for a reasonable discussion but the discord between the Cain’s although not so loud didn’t get anywhere and left both of them feeling worse than ever what makes a quarrel destructive let’s back up and note some of the damaging elements of the Kane’s quarrel the most damaging element in any conflict is not knowing the real issue are the canes quarreling about money or a vacation or the car they bought last summer or the family they don’t have nobody knows least of all the kings whatever the real issue is it is repeatedly sidetracked well that wouldn’t hurt for once do you have to make all of the decisions the Kings not only allow themselves to get sidetracked into dead issues they also get sidetracked into personalities well not but what you have to say is just plain stupid taking out a car because it’s blue from attacking personalities it’s only a short step to hitting below the belt so stupid I’m in charge of my own department and once the hitting gets below the belt outright hostility the urge to hurt the other person as badly as you’ve been hurt comes to the fore the idea was to wait until you grew up a little a fine mother you’d make even your own mother admits your spoil leave her out of it why should i I pay for her rent and her groceries don’t I know we’re in the Kanes argument was there any attempt to understand the other person’s viewpoint or to find the real issue the tension exploded the only way it could for the Cain’s in tears and resentment over the items –is tension worked itself out to the point where they could laugh at themselves why what did they do to handle the conflict let’s go back and note the things which helped first of all after some preliminary sparring the Addamses zeroed in on the issue should we or should we not take a vacation it took some effort but they stuck to the issue as closely as they could while under emotional stress but you can’t say a real vacation doesn’t make sense that issue which could have sidetracked and was disposed of by mutual consent and an effort was made on both sides to try to understand the other person’s viewpoint is that what’s bothering you the fact that we’re gonna be tied down to make sure that what the other was saying was understood sometimes the atoms is lapsed off into personalities even name-calling but they never resorted to red flag words such as stupid and spoiled the way the Canes did you are acting like a ninny and when Adams realized he had fallen into the common practice of name-calling without a break in the argument the statement was retracted an apology was offered there was no necessity then for retaliation for hitting below the belt for hurting someone because you’ve been hurt yourself hostility was kept in check so that when the tension exploded it could explode harmlessly with both of them laughing at themselves well it’s not not unless you insist on going to the ends of the earth even though the atoms is may be childish enough to slam things and yell they still show a mature willingness to compromise mrs. Adams who started out wanting a trip to Acapulco was willing to settle for less and mr. Adams who apparently wanted to take no trip at all in the beginning was willing to consider some kind of vacation after all the Adams has established a basis for discussion which is the ideal way of handling conflicts neither individual one just as neither lost the argument still the couple won through compromise but over at the cane great deal seems to be lost energy time self-respect understanding if you are to avoid such unhappiness in your life it’s important to understand why the canes quarrel was so damaging quarrels of the cane type damage of relationship because the real issue is never established they do not stick to the point they do not understand each other they hurt each other they will not compromise the Addamses have reached a point where they can kiss and make up with no great harm done because the real issue was established they stuck to the point they understood each other they did not hurt each other they were willing to compromise when you marry you will have conflicts with your marriage partner with two individuals two points of view it would be impossible not to disagree sometimes and unrealistic not to learn how to handle marital conflicts learning the techniques now is better than learning them later the hard way how many of the suggestions for minimising the damages of family quarrels can you remember are there any other suggestions you can add for handling marital conflicts constructively [Music] [Applause]