5 Ways You Accidentally Start Fights

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fighting couple
You may not even realize it at the time.

4. You expect your partner to be a mind-reader. When you desire something, you might believe that your partner should know how you feel and what you want him/her to do about it. You might believe that you shouldn't have to tell him/her or if you did, that his/her assistance would somehow be of a lesser value. Mind-reading also applies when you think that you know what your partner is going to say next or assume you can guess his/her intent or motivation.

5. You act hopeless. If this isn't your first time around the arguing cycle, you might want to give in to the emerging thought that you've "tried everything" and "nothing works." You feel like the victim of your partner's tyranny. In response, you shut down or resign yourself to your fate. This is another way of protecting your feelings that has the side effect of triggering your partner's insecurities, getting in the way of finding real solutions.

So what can you do instead?

The most important part to remember is acknowledging and validating your partner's feelings. You'll want to find some truth in what they are saying, even if you don't agree with everything. If your partner's statements don’t make sense to you, ask gentle questions to find out more. Rather than barking back, "What is that supposed to mean?!" ... ask them to tell you more. When you speak, express your feelings as honestly as you can, but start sentences with "I feel" rather than "You are" or "You do."

Even if you're upset and annoyed, try to convey a caring and respectful attitude rather than giving in to the urge to be condescending. Oftentimes, just finding one positive thing to say about your partner's point can go a long way. While you cannot control what your partner says to you, there are things you can do to improve your interactions with them and more positive experiences will over time improve your own emotional reactivity as well.

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