Something you should know about me... I have a temper. I like to blame it on my Irish heritage, but the fact is that I am a Type A female with little patience (don't you want to be my friend!)
Back in my college days I was something of a Taylor Swift - scrappy and willing to hit below the belt to claim my victory. However, I am happy to report that now a days I am more of an Adele - brutally honest when the moment is right.
I truly believe that my temper has calmed down from a mixture of a coming to age, life humbling me more times than I can count, and most importantly developing my relationship with my fiancé. I would be lying through my teeth if I told you that K and I never argue - because we do - and that is okay. I truly believe that if want a relationship to work it has to be based on mutual respect - and part of mutual respect is fighting fair.
I know that I cannot be the only one who struggles with holding in that nasty (but oh so witty) comeback, so I have come up with a list of the top 5 things I do wrong when engaging in a heated debate in hopes that you might avoid some of those humbling moments I mentioned above.
The Top 5 Things I Do Wrong When I Argue with My SO
Having the fight before the fight begins
As I mentioned earlier, I have a Type A personality… and turns out I like to be in control. One way I try to maintain my control in my life is preparation - so when I am gearing up for a heated conversation I try and envision how the discussion will go, I call this "argument prep". Turns out - that is not productive or useful at all. In all my years of "argument prep" I have never actually been able to accurately predict what the other person is going to say. I have never thought up an amazing comeback that wins the argument and I am usually so focused on using my AMAZING comeback that I am not actively listening to what he is actually saying thus causing us to go in circles for much longer than necessary. The only thing "argument prep" ever accomplishes is getting my WAY more upset than I should be, when really I should be focused on understanding why I feel the way I feel and what will this discussion help resolve.
Trying Too Hard to be Perfect
You know that moment when you realize that you did not vocalize how you really felt about something - pretending it does not bother you when the reality is that it burns a fire as hot as Hades layer? Yeah - that is a special feeling I know all too well. As much as it pains me to admit it, I am not perfect. But you know what the best thing about accepting my imperfection? Accepting that whoever you are talking to is not perfect either. It is a constant battle to remind myself that it is okay to argue sometimes because sometimes it might lead to a happier ending for all.
Being TOO honest
Big caveat on my pervious point - somethings are better left unsaid. Picking my battles is HUGE. I have learned to importance of looking at the bigger picture. For example, I might ask myself "Will ripping into K for leaving a dish in the sink when the dishwasher is RIGHT NEXT TO IT really help anything? Is my yelling at him really going to solve any problems? And is it really worth potentially putting a sour taste in his mouth for the rest of the night?" No no my friends, I save my strength for the important battles - flash forward to later on in the evening "oh you want to watch Trailer Park Boys? Well I did the dishes so we are watching HGTV". Like I said, bigger picture.
Lack of Empathy
Otherwise known as being hardheaded. I confess that there are times I have neglected to acknowledge K's feelings about a situation because the "right" answer seemed so plainly obvious to me. But as we have all come to know, the right decision is not always the easiest decision and it is important to keep the struggle in mind.
Letting the fight linger
Ever replay an argument over and over in your head recounting all of the things you should have said? The AMAZING comeback you could have used (I really like comebacks if you did not notice...)? Or the perfect closing statement that would leave him speechless? Yup. Me too. This is something I am most guilty of and typically happens when I feel like I have lost the argument. The fact is, if we both decide argument is done and we have beaten this topic to death than that decision needs to be respected.
Like I said, I am not an expert on relationships - but I am always interested in learning more! I recently came across this awesome video about 'How to Resolve Conflict Using Mindfulness Practices' which has really helped me think about the act of arguing in a very different light, and helped me understand why harnessing my temper will only lead to good things.
Please comment and let me know if you have any great nuggets of knowledge you can pass along - you never know who will take that advice to heart :)