How to avoid exhausting arguments in your relationship?


Feb 25, 2024
avoid exhausting arguments in your relationship?

Are you arguing so much that you are starting to doubt your relationship? If so, you should know that the number of arguments does not determine whether your relationship will last – it’s about how you understand and deal with anger!

Most people find it difficult to deal with anger because we have been taught that anger is wrong.

Anger is seen as a kind of flaw in a person’s personality, which gives the recipient of the anger every right to retreat into self-righteous indignation and make comments like “Just calm down” or “Act normal”. On this basis, you can easily make yourself a victim or a martyr.

And when both parties start seeing themselves as victims when the other gets angry, the relationship starts to derail because we don’t understand what is behind the anger.

There is a lot of good advice to be found on the internet and in literature on relationships, on how to improve communication and how to control angry outbursts. The problem is that it does not help, because anger should not be controlled and suppressed.

Understanding Anger

So what is anger and how should it be understood?

Ultimately, anger is a healthy and natural emotional response to feeling that your boundaries are being crossed and that you feel threatened, so anger protects you and is a message to you about where you are vulnerable and the emotional pain you carry from the past.

When you get angry, you are actually scared and insecure.

Anger is what you show to the outside world that allows you to fight back and defend yourself. But behind anger are always vulnerable feelings that we don’t want to acknowledge or suppress. These may be repressed aspects of our personality linked to our self-image.

That we fear we are not strong enough, smart enough or good enough.

But it can also be deeper feelings, such as a fundamental fear of being rejected or not being worthy of love. Many of these deep feelings lead to violent outbursts of anger when we feel we are being attacked or criticised.

And it is these deeper feelings that can lead to helplessness and resignation because they cause the same conflicts and arguments over and over again.

Anger only arises when you feel threatened or afraid.

What we can feel threatened about varies greatly and is linked to the content of our emotional baggage and the coping strategies we carry with us from childhood.

This means that you are responsible for your own anger. Your partner does not make you angry, but anger is triggered by something you yourself are afraid of or that makes you feel threatened. Your partner may accidentally step on one of your emotional toes, but this is not because your partner intentionally wants to hurt you.

The next time you react angrily, you will now know that there is something you are afraid of that makes you feel threatened. Maybe you can’t take criticism because you have old wounds about your self-esteem or certain character traits. Maybe you are afraid that you are not important to your partner after all, vende vreden or that he or she is likely to abandon you, etc……

And exactly the same mechanisms apply to your partner.

Think of yourself and your partner as a child

The next time your partner gets really angry, take a step back instead of getting defensive.

Try to see your partner as a child with old, unprocessed emotional wounds, rather than as an unreasonable and hostile adversary. Try to understand that your partner is angry and unreasonable right now, a “child self” driven by old emotions and patterns. Think about what he or she might actually be afraid of and what emotions he or she feels such a great need to protect himself against.

The moment you refrain from following your partner’s anger, but take a step back and just let his anger disappear, you have a unique opportunity to end the argument before it has started at all. And by doing this, you can begin to understand your partner on a deeper level.

If you feel yourself being treated angrily or unfairly, use exactly the same method.

Make an appointment

Then offer to wait with the conversation until later so that you have time to calm down a bit. For example, don’t start the conversation or conflict right before you leave or when the children are around, but agree on a time with your partner when you have all the time to talk and listen to each other.

To make such a conversation meaningful, take turns sharing your feelings while the other person just listens and tries to acknowledge your partner’s point of view. Remember that one person’s feelings are no more right or wrong than the other’s. Be curious about what is behind your partner’s anger and try to feel his or her feelings, while closing your own internal conversation.

Think about how you can meet him halfway; show with your face and body that you are genuinely interested in understanding him.

For example, it doesn’t help if you half-turn away or try to check your phone at the same time. Be careful not to blame or criticise the other person. It is important to take responsibility for your feelings and use “I” sentences. “It annoys me when you… because I feel/believe that….”, rather than saying “You never do that or I’m so sick of you all the time….”

Instead, share where and when you feel vulnerable or where you feel scared and threatened.

Behind the anger is gold

Once you dare to open the door to your vulnerable feelings to your partner, you will find that the fights will decrease dramatically.

I’m not saying it’s easy to open up to another person at this level – even the closest person, your partner. It’s always difficult and embarrassing to open up and expose vulnerable feelings and old emotional wounds. This is also exactly what I spend most of my time on in couples therapy.

But it works!

By Aahil

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