Arguments Traps To Avoid
Arguments are bound to happen in intimate relationships. Being able to work through differences in a respectful manner is essential to building and maintaining connections

By: Family - Relationships - 11/15/2018

Arguments are bound to happen in your intimate relationships. Being able to work through differences in a respectful manner is essential to building and maintaining those connections. Conflict itself won't destroy your relationship if you can resolve it in a positive way. One key to arguing well is knowing the traps to avoid.

  • Criticism. Criticism attacks your partner's character. Saying things such as, "You always forget things; you must be dumb" or "You always want things your way; you're pretty selfish," are hurtful criticisms. Verbal attacks or blaming your partner will only result in defensiveness.

    1. Remedy: Show your partner you value her or him even when you disagree. Divert your focus away from finding fault with your partner's personality or character. It's possible for you to state your perspective without blaming or devaluing the other person. Focus on your needs and your feelings.

  • Defensiveness. Defensiveness often follows criticism. When you feel you're the victim or that you're being treated unfairly, defensiveness is a common reaction. Defensive statements include, "This is all your fault" or "You act like I can never do anything right, and it's unfair!" Denying responsibility, making excuses, or trying to read your partner's mind only serves to get the conversation off track.

    1. Remedy: Strive to keep an open mind and listen to your partner. Accept responsibility for your role in the situation or miscommunication. 

  • Contempt. If you act or speak as if you think you're superior to your partner, you're likely to convey contempt. Words or actions that show contempt for your partner could be interpreted as lack of respect. If you're sarcastic, use name-calling or eye-rolling, or mock your partner, you're acting with contempt.

    1. Remedy: Believe in your partner's positive intentions. Maintain respect for one another, even though you disagree, to help you find common ground. Strong relationships are  built upon respect and appreciation.

  • Stonewalling or withdrawal. Ignoring your partner or resorting to the silent treatment can escalate an argument. If you walk away or stop engaging with your partner without explaining that you need a break from the conversation, you're stonewalling. Removing yourself in a way that suggests disapproval, distance, or smugness can leave your partner feeling abandoned.

    1. Remedy: Stay engaged. If you need a break, ask for it gently and commit to coming back to the conversation. During the break, work to calm yourself down and avoid formulating an anger-driven response.

  • Holding a grudge. If you can't reach common ground, commit to readdressing the conversation at a later time and not treating one another poorly in the meantime. Resentment wears down trust and goodwill in a relationship.

    1. Remedy: Try to rebound from the argument, clear the air, and interact with your partner with positivity afterwards. The quicker you can "get back to good," the better you'll both feel about your relationship and your ability to weather arguments.

Strive to learn from your past mistakes. Avoiding these behaviors during arguments will make your relationship happier and last longer.

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