arguments, responsibility, defensiveness, relationships, advice

One Strategy To Disarm Arguments

arguments, responsibility, defensiveness, relationships, advice

One Strategy To Disarm An Argument

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the one thing you can do to immediately disarm or even prevent an argument.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, hung up, or pining over your ex? Do you know how your ex is truly affecting you and do you want to benefit from personalized advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report.

Adapting To Tumultuous Change & Uncertainty
The entire world is experiencing dramatic and tumultuous change as a result of Covid-19. There is very little certainty. Watch my video for the 8 keys to adapting to change, uncertainty and the accompanying emotions – sadness, sorrow, grief, fear and anxiety.

Now, let’s talk about the one thing you can do to immediately disarm or even prevent an argument.

What do you think is the number one cause of breakups?

It’s not cheating.

More than 4,500 people have taken my free, online breakup survey; men and women cite the same top 2 issues as the cause of their breakups:

1. We argued constantly (men cited this as the second top cause)
2 .We wanted different things in life (men cited this as the first cause)

Thus, ‘arguments’ is one of the leading causes of relationship breakups.

Here is just one simple strategy to help lower the impact and reduce arguments:
Make a conscious choice to lower your defensiveness and express sincere concern for the other person.

In other words, stop taking it personally. I understand that sounds confounding; when you partner is criticizing you for something you did, how can you not take it personally?

Let me explain.

What is your initial response when your partner or anyone in your life begins to complain or criticizes you?

Is it to try to cut off the person or to attack the argument by saying, ‘That was not my intention…you misunderstand me…you don’t understand…that’s not what I was saying…’?

Or perhaps, you might even begin to attack the person who is criticizing you?

It might be the truth that something you said or did, was not intended to hurt your partner or perhaps your partner did really misconstrue something you said.

However, the question remains, how does your partner respond when you try to cut them off, downplay or diminish what they have to say?

Most likely, it either leads to another argument or it creates a greater gap & distance or disconnection between you and your partner!

The key to reducing arguments or truly diminishing their impact or negative effect is to lower your own defensiveness. In other words, instead of reacting and cutting off the other person, let them speak and listen deeply, intently and completely. Allow them to complete their thought and concern.

Only after you’ve listened and fully understood, can you have a better response to address the issue that the person has presented to you.

Also, notice what is happening within you when your partner (or anyone) is criticizing, complaining or raising a particular issue: Does it trigger another issue for you?

Do you become anxious, angry, resentful or bitter?

Does it remind you of something you experienced in a former relationship or as a child?

The point here is that while your partner is criticizing you, it’s easy for you to become overwhelmed or flooded with other emotions that actually come from the past and have nothing to do with the present moment or the point at hand.

It becomes easy to lower your defenses when you deliberately stop and pause and decide to listen because you want to understand what your partner is going through and you want to be there to help him or her through it even if your partner is attacking or criticizing you.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Tibetan monk offers these 4 mantras to deeply transform relationships:

1. “Darling, I’m here for you.”
Be there for your partner by being fully present and not deviated by the past or future.
2. “Darling, I know you are there and I’m so happy.”
3. “Darling, I know you suffer. That is why I’m here for you.”
4. “Darling, I suffer. Please help me.”

When we become defensive, we automatically tend to react and to criticize the other person. Instead of being willing to look at the real situation and the potential solution, we are saying, “There is nothing wrong with me! I don’t need to grow; I don’t need to change; I’m perfect just the way I am.”

This approach doesn’t bring you closer to your partner nor does it improve the relationship, and often it only serves to escalate the actual argument.

When you fully and deeply listen to your partner, you will learn more about him/her and you will both become closer!

If, while your partner is presenting their concern, issue or criticism with you, you choose to become fully aware of what you are experiencing, and if you become overwhelmed or flooded with emotion, then you can simply ask to take a pause or a break: ‘I’m getting overly agitated…I’m taking this personally…this is raising other stuff for me….can we take a break and revisit it?

Next, take 15 or 20 minutes to become calm and grounded again, and then, revisit the issue. Meanwhile, it might even become apparent what the issue is that your partner unknowingly triggered for you.

Of course, it is helpful if your partner also becomes aware of what his or her issue is. In other words, in the same way that your partner may have triggered an issue for you that relates to your past (former relationship, hurt, trauma or childhood experience) it’s great for them to notice if they too have been triggered by something that you had said or done.

When both partners decide to listen attentively, truly show since care, concern and compassion for each other (be present and be there for each other), then the arguments diminish. I always teach that it’s best to accept responsibility and full ownership for everything that happens in the relationship and in your life. Control what you can control – your own responses and reactions to life!

If you need help to overcome a breakup, trauma, or the past, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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