What Every Argument You've Ever Had Is REALLY About

By

What Every Argument You've Ever Had Is REALLY About
Wondering why you keep fighting over the same things? It's more complicated than you think!

Most days these days, I can name a few reasons to be angry at my guy, The Spaniard. Truly. We’ve been through seemingly endless challenges — some self-created and others lobbed at us by an invisible, arbitrary all-star pitcher — and there are many times I’ve asked myself why, oh why, did he not handle x differently? (Read: The way I would have wanted him to.)

In our maturity, we’ve both learned not to go looking for drama. We know it has a way of finding us even when we’re hiding behind things we think will protect us: well-laid plans, a retirement account, historically good health. But drama has a way of slipping in just when you think you’ve closed the door tight. It doesn’t discriminate. This, we now know.

 

The Spaniard and I don’t have screaming fights. We don’t (anymore) go days on end without speaking. When we do argue, it’s usually because I’m unhappy with something he’s done. Truth be told, he rarely complains I’m not holding up my end of the relationship bargain. That’s either because, a) he’s more open-minded and forgiving, or b) I’m not doing much to derail our happy place. Okay, honestly? It’s a combination. Cross my heart.

Part of our ongoing challenge is we have a blended family. And blended families don’t come with easy-bake directions. They’re messy and raw. And frustratingly chaotic. Add the recent death of the ex-wife to the mix and you can toss the whole Brady Bunch-esque fantasy into the Nutribullet. There’s grief and disillusionment. And anger. And disagreement about whose anger and grief should be prioritized. And whose disillusionment should top the specials board on days that end in the letter y.

So, I know how it feels when the people and circumstances in your life do crazy with unparalleled proficiency and panache. Your only option is to unleash — often onto your fallible partner — a well-deserved mix of rage, inarguable criticisms and the always constructive, cherry-on-top list of why and how you do the whole living and breathing thing in an obviously superior fashion. Sound familiar? But what I want to share with you has changed the way I choose to respond to the crazy. Yes, choose. And not because I’ve found some super special zen place, I haven’t. But I know, in my deepest core, that it’s the most accurate, frustrating, righteousness-negating truth of truths about all disagreements. Whether you’re expressing anger at your spouse, your friend or your child, what you’re really saying, without exception, is this: Stop making me feel this way.

Yep. That’s it.

Stop making me feel sad or lonely or betrayed. Stop negating my feelings. Stop making me feel this out of control. Quit making me feel like I’m needy or demanding. Or crazy jealous. Or that I’m not an effective parent. Stop making me feel like I’m not a priority. Or that I’m not worthy enough or pretty enough or enough enough. Stop. Just stop. Because the more terrible or threatened or scared I feel, the more vicious and fervent the resulting argument will be. Full stop.

This article was originally published at Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Abby Rodman

Counselor/Therapist

Abby Rodman is a psychotherapist, relationship expert, author and speaker, renowned for her focus on midlife dating, marriage and divorce. She has appeared on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda, HuffPost Live, and is regularly sought out by print, broadcast and online media outlets for her expertise on relationship issues.  Abby is a regular blogger on the Huffington Post, better-after-50.com and YourTango. Her work has also appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine. Her book, "Should You Marry Him?" is a must-read for both women and men at any stage of life who are considering tying the knot. Abby's second book, "Without This Ring: A Woman's Guide To Successfully Living Through and Beyond Midlife Divorce" will be available in November 2014.

Location: Newton, MA
Credentials: LICSW, MSW, Other
Other Articles/News by Abby Rodman:

Why You Shouldn't Hold Out For Unconditional Love

By

If you’re searching for a future mate you can love — and who will love you — unconditionally, please stop. If you’re currently in a relationship and you’re waiting for the unconditional love part to kick in, you can go ahead and stop that, too. Unconditional means, simply, without conditions. Without rules. Without ... Read more

13 Secret Signs Your Partner Is Cheating On You

By

Discovering a partner's infidelity is easier than ever before in history. Text messages, emails and online credit card statements leave the careless cheater with an electronic affair trail a gigabyte long. We know the typical telltale signs: weight loss, new music or food interests, the purchase of a new wardrobe. But if your affair radar is ... Read more

6 Things Your Couples Therapist Knows About Your Relationship

By

It's said you can't kid a kidder. But you'd also have to reach a pretty high bar to fool a couples counselor. We've pretty much seen it all. Fortunately for us, we don't have to reinvent the therapy wheel every time we meet a new couple. There are some pretty standard issues in relationships we're on the lookout for and most couples will ... Read more

See More

 
PARTNER POSTS
My Videos
ASK YOURTANGO MORE QUESTIONS
Must-see Videos
SEE MORE VIDEOS
Most Popular