Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What are fights about?

Fights are often not about what they appear to be about at first glance. Does it drive you nuts when your partner corrects your pronunciation--even when she’s right (which she always is)? What is that about? Does it bug you because being wrong in the household you grew up in meant that you were stupid? Or did your family correct each other with sarcasm and demeaning comments, rather than correcting to be helpful? When you notice yourself getting angry or hurt, ask why the behavior or comment of the other person bothers you. (Hint: it’s not because she is an asshole. Which she may be. But that’s not relevant.)

Sometimes fighting about not taking out the garbage is about the annoyance of the stinky, over-filled trash can, but sometimes it’s really about how your partner interprets the garbage. She may not say “You didn’t take out the garbage so I know you don’t care about me.” She may refrain from saying it because she doesn’t want to admit how hurt she is and she knows intellectually that it’s ridiculous to let it bother her that much. But that may be exactly what she is feeling (that you don't care about her because you didn't take out the garbage). If there is a lot of emotion from her or you on a topic that, from the outside, seems silly to be so wrought up about, figure out what the fight is *really* about because it ain’t about the garbage. It’s something deeper. Ask yourself and her: what does the garbage symbolize? Lack of ambition in life? Inconsideration? Absence of true love? Sounds silly, but then why are you yelling about the garbage? These "silly" arguments are going to keep coming up if you don't at the root of the real issue.

But what if this isn't just a fight? What if this really is the end?

Up next: How to Break Up

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