Love, Self

6 Ineffective Ways Of Fighting In A Relationship — And How To Fight Fair With Your Partner

Photo: Ronny Sison on Unsplash
6 Ineffective Ways Of Fighting In A Relationship (And How To Communicate Better With Your Partner)

Every person is taught to communicate differently. Its not our parents that sit us down and explain to us the best ways to express ourselves. We don’t take classes in elementary school that teach us effective ways to get our points across. They do, however teach us to communicate by example and respond to our outbursts.

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Picture yourself as a young child. You want a cookie, but your mom says no. You first ask politely, and she declines. Then you start to whine and complain, and she says no again, but this time she is more exasperated, and you can tell that she is getting upset. Then you begin to cry. You can see that she hates to see your tears but you keep on crying. You’ve committed now. 

You start stomping your feet and screaming at the top of your lungs. Finally, she gets angry and sends you to your room. Now you’re in big trouble. You have to stay up there until you calm down — and you never get the cookie. When you come downstairs to apologize, your mom feels badly for losing her temper too. As a reward for your apology, she grants you the privilege of a cookie.

This is how things are in relationships sometimes — we want things that we know will be declined. We want the confrontation. We want to have the “you always do this" moment and vent all of our frustrations and resentments, regardless of whether or not we are speaking from an honest place.

Sometimes in relationships, we manufacture arguments. We pick unreasonable fights, just to reward ourselves the eventual make-up.

To hear that we are the only one, how loved we are, and to feel for another moment that excitement of things beginning.

But before the part where we make up and spend our evening professing our love for the other, there is the talk. The long talk about what you said or what they said, why what they said hurt your feelings, why they felt belittled. There is the promise to do better. To try harder.

But why is it that things get so jumbled in the heat of battle? Why do we need the fight to reach the point in our relationships where we feel validated?

Why do we need to throw a temper tantrum in our room to get the cookie?

People communicate differently. That is why Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages gained so much popularity. When we are happy in our relationships, we don’t take the time to notice our different communication styles. But when we are fighting, it becomes clear that we need different things to feel validated.

Here are 7 of the most common ineffective ways we communicate in relationships, and how to use your differences in communication styles to the benefit of your relationship.

1. The Over-Talker

The over talker doesn’t want to move too quickly into the make-up phase. When you feel like all that needs to be said, the over-talker is going to want to recap everything.

Even after affirmations of change have been promised, the over talker can’t seem to let it go. They keep rehashing the same points at nauseum. This usually indicates something unfinished in the fight.

If you are experiencing an over-talker who just can’t seem to let it go, take a break. Let them assess what they are feeling and encourage them to come to you with what they need to move on. There is probably something they are holding on to.

2. The Contemplator

The contemplator is usually the listener in fights. They usually don’t say a lot, and when they do, it is usually unhelpful. They say things like “well, I mean yea I guess” or they get defensive and say a short annoyed “okay”.

When dealing with a contemplator, it is best to asses your tone. Sometimes the stress of confrontation can be too much for them. They are feeling overwhelmed and possibly even zoning out. It is best to just state clearly what you need and let them take a time out to consider it.

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3. The Manipulator

The manipulator is someone who says things specifically to get a reaction out of you. They may accuse you of cheating, knowing it is not true, just to get the upper hand. They may threaten to break up with you. They may bring up past arguments to make you feel bad and to victimize themselves.

The best way to handle a manipulator is to remain calm. Don’t dismiss or belittle them, just keep a clear head and keep driving your point home, without raising your voice or losing your temper.

4. The Intimidator

The intimidator is someone who is having trouble arguing so they resort to self-protection tactics. Usually this means getting louder. They will start yelling or knocking stuff off of counters.

Do not continue arguing with them — instead leave the fight, give them space to get themselves together again. When they are calm and not feeling as defensive, calmly talk to them about the situation and figure out the next steps to take in your relationship together in a more equal environment.

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5. The Belittler

Th belittler is usually sarcastic. They will make you feel small and stupid for being upset. They will mock you and make you feel like a child.

When dealing with a belittler it is important to not let them derail your feelings. Don’t let their insecurities make you feel small. If your partner is belittling you often, then you will want think about whether you really want to continue a relationship with them. Consider bringing a therapist or family counselor into your relationship to help you both figure out what's best for each of you and how to work through your differences.

6. The Baby

The baby is going to cry. They are likely to play the victim and feel helpless when it comes to fighting. They want to make you feel like a bully.

When fighting with them, it is important to stand firm. Don’t raise your voice, and don’t talk down to them. State your frustrations clearly and then walk away. Let that sit with them. When they finally realize the act isn’t working, the will retreat into having a normal discussion.

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Kaitlin Kaiser is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.