If you've been in a romantic relationship for more than three months, you know that at some point in time, you are going to disagree. Conflict is unavoidable. And in fact, learning how to engage conflict, or fight well, is a huge factor of being a part of a successful team.
But some people, maybe even you, make a habit of bickering. You would be surprised at how many people seem to enjoy chronic antagonism. And, despite what they may admit, many people love to keep having the same fights over and over. Fighting in a loop de loop is a treacherous sport. But if you're looking to "up your game" of passionate antagonism, here are 6 easy steps to keep having the same fight... just with better results!
1. Pay close attention to the content: Who said what, when, where, why, and how they said it must be of utmost importance. Listen carefully to the words your sparring partner is using and leverage their misrepresentations to defend yourself and fight back with more words. Scour the details and gather evidence from them for proof of your point. If you want to keep arguing about the same thing, content is your ticket: Who picked up the kids last time; the way he flirted with that girl at the party; the mean thing she said in front of your friends—these are the essential sticking points. You must believe that what you are really arguing about is based solely on what was done or being said in order to stay in the game.
2. Blame, shame, win! Make winning the fight—whatever that means—and getting your way, or getting your point of view to be the agreed upon narrative, your number one priority. Place blame when necessary. Use shaming techniques to make your partner feel worse. If you are feelling really threatened, use name calling as last resort. Stay in the ring. Do not go for a walk, take five, or even a breath. Embrace the power struggle. Don't let the bone out of your mouth until you are the last one standing with it. Repeat as necessary.
3. Let your feelings lead. If you're questioning whether or not that little, potentially sarcastic comment your partner made in the car was a dig, don't. Not only should you refrain from doubting your experience, you should harp on it. You can either go over it inside your head again and again, building steam so that you can explode later, or you can give the reins to your emotional reactions right there and then. Allow them full expression (although pretending you're trying to restrain yourself can be a nice added touch), even if you are in a public place, on a date night, or at dinner with colleagues or in-laws.
4. Refer to history. Link back to other fights and trespasses that happened weeks, months, or even years ago—ones you frequently return to, or even ones you've harbored resentment for but never before brought up. Keep trying to resolve those hurts from the past. After all, this might finally be the fight in which they get resolved!
5. Reject Personal (or Any Type of) Reflection: You know those pesky questions that healthy and mature people ask themselves? Questions like, "What are we getting out of arguing like this?", "Is there a better way to communicate to get my needs met?", or "Is there a way to be on the same team about this issue?" Forget them! Or any type of reflective pause. They have the potential to interrupt the fight cycle and land you in a less aggressive, more aligned stance. Then what would you do?
6. Avoid Sexual Intimacy. When you have the same fight over and over, you are channeling your natural impulses for aggression and play into separation and misery. Having sex would utilize that aggression and entanglement to create a feeling of closeness, intimacy, and ecstasy. Who needs that?! Plus, not having sex will land you the ability to fight about sex, so keep going!
Not that this post was not written from personal experience or anything, ahem, but now that I’ve shared my ways, how do you stay in the same fight over and over?
Share in the comments below.
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