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Highly recommended reading for anyone who has any kind of issues in their relationship (i.e. everyone!)

More from Harriet Lerner at Amazon.com


This woman is amazing! She knows what she is talking about. Check out her books and audios.


More from Harriet Lerner at Amazon.co.uk





Fighting in Relationships is Pointless and Painful!

End the Pain of Fighting in Your Relationship


Fighting in Relationships. Upset couple in bed Dating Success Guide and Email Course Sign Up - Click here

Are you fed up of painful arguments and time wasted fighting and blaming? Have you had enough of those lonely, silent days where you and your partner feel worlds apart? Sometimes it seems that we do more fighting in relationships than loving each other and wanting to be together. Fighting and arguing can become a habit which can spiral out of control and eventually destroy our relationship. If you want to stop this happening to your relationship then you must learn new habits to communicate issues and what you want.

Do you find yourself doing a lot of shouting and blaming? Does your anger make you react in ways that you don't like? This kind of behaviour leads to pain, rejection, disconnection and frustration - all the things that will damage your relationship. It is a complete waste of time because it is highly unlikely to get you what you really want, which will normally be a change in his behaviour. Fighting with your man will cause him to dig his heels in and make him resentful and unresponsive to your needs.

How Each Partner Feels the Pain

It is rarely effective to lose your composure with your man and resort to blame, recrimination and emotional display. You may find that he stays cool at first whilst you get upset and angry. Men are much more able to detach from their emotions and argue logically to get a problem solved. And right now he sees your emotional confrontation as a problem that he needs to solve as soon as possible. He feels uncomfortable and he just wants it to go away.

When he starts offering solutions and justifications, will this make you feel better? No, it will make you feel unsupported and unloved. When you reject his solutions and reasoning in favour of your emotions, which feels like the right thing to do, you may find him becoming cold and distant or frustrated and angry. A man often takes your issues with him personally and feels attacked, blamed and criticised. When you trigger the masculine, competitive part of him, he generally forgets to be loving and needs to prove himself right.

Of course this is doubly painful for you, as not only do you have the pain of the issue you are trying to deal with, but you now have the pain of feeling disconnected from your man. With both partners in pain, stalemate ensues followed by withdrawal and a heavy silence which can seem to last forever. What could have been time spent together turns into loneliness and resentment.

What Are the Alternatives?

So, what are the alternatives to arguing and fighting in relationships? Well these are just bad habits and patterns of reaction that we have developed over the years to try and get our needs met. Change may be difficult because these patterns can be deeply ingrained and we need to convince ourselves of the benefits of making such change.

The fact of the matter is that when you change and learn new more effective communication patterns, you can eliminate all this pain, negativity and wasted time from your relationships. Fighting and arguing is such a waste of energy because it never solves the underlying issues which include behavioural and emotional problems, inability to compromise and communicate effectively, and not knowing how to get our needs met or meet our partners. Added to this, there is always an amount of resentment that gets saved up in the resentment bank for a rainy day, waiting below the surface to trigger more trouble at the slightest opportunity.

Patterns and Triggers

The first step in dealing with arguing and fighting in relationships is to look at the patterns and triggers in your relationship when problems arise. Look below the surface of the words being spoken and the reactions being played out to what is really going on - what are the real issues here? What needs are you both trying to meet? (e.g. the need to be right, to feel superior, to get more love or attention, to feel in control, to stop feeling insecure, to get approval, the list is endless.)

You will need to realise that shouting and blaming is not going to resolve any of these issues and is a particularly ineffective way to communicate because it triggers defensiveness and resistance. A person in pain who is feeling attacked, will stop listening and only be able to deal with how they feel and try to protect themselves.

Good Communication Habits

The way to communicate is to stay cool and say how you feel about an issue rather than give in to the temptation to blame someone else. This is about taking responsibility for your feelings and is a mature way to deal with issues. You may need to walk away from a situation to regain your cool before tackling it at a later time. Negotiation and compromise are absolutely essential components of good communication habits so start to fully listen to what your partner is saying and learn to respond assertively. Healthy communication means you both stand up for what you want but are prepared to compromise at times. Sticking to the real issues, avoiding criticism and blame is essential.

If your relationship has been suffering from an anger problem, then simply becoming aware of this and wanting to change may be enough to produce some positive effects. But you will need to keep on practising new positive ways of behaving in the face of confrontation. Change can be difficult, but if you start to make some change then you will find it worth the effort. If you continue with your old ways then sooner or later, your relationship will self-destruct.

Change Yourself First

You can't change your partner by the way - only your own behaviour - but if you refuse to be drawn into those old patterns of fighting in relationships, then he will have no choice but to change his. You may find that the new you will no longer be compatible with the old him. In this case, you will probably have outgrown him, but the good thing is that the new mature you will be in a good place to find a new, positive, loving relationship with healthy communication patterns which will avoid all the pain and suffering which you are enduring now.

I hope that I have shown you that fighting in relationships is both pointless and painful. If you will start to make these small changes you will be working your way to a relationship where good communication fosters love and connection above all else.


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