Why Arguing Makes Things Worse

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It is fairly obvious that arguing is not the most
effective way to resolve disagreements. At the same time there is a certain
release or discharge of pent up negative emotions. It can at times almost feel
good to let your partner have it—to express the frustrations that you have
tucked away. But this temporary release is often quickly follow by remorse over
the hurtful things that have been said. It is important to remember that
although conflict is healthy, arguing is not the best way to handle conflict.

The following are some of the reasons that arguing
does not solve problems:
  1. No one is
    listening and no one feels heard or understood. You both end up feel more
    and more frustrated. Often arguments end, not because anything has been
    resolved, but because one or both of you have become so exhausted that you
    give up or walk away.
  2. Both sides
    quickly become defensive and react to what the other is saying.
    Considering possible solutions often take a back seat to throwing insults
    at each other.
  3. You both
    tend not to be completely honest with yourselves or your partner. As your
    anger rises, you get stuck in blaming your partner and find it difficult
    to see your own contribution to the problem.
  4. Arguments
    often become an excuse for dumping a truck load of garbage on your
    partner. Past hurts and resentments are used to pummel each other, to
    either deflect from dealing with the present issue or to release emotions
    that have been stuffed away.
  5. You are so
    busy defending yourself that you do not have the opportunity to consider
    that some of what your partner is saying may be valid and that there may
    be more than one way to arrive at a solution.
  6. Both of you
    are so busy hanging on to your positions and having to be right, that you
    miss the opportunity to become a team working together to solve a problem.
This does not mean that you have to stuff away all
your hurts and frustrations. It does mean creating an atmosphere where the two
of you are safe to express how you feel and know that you will take turns
really listening to what the other is saying. It means being willing to put
your defensiveness on the shelf and do your best to see and understand your
partner’s perspective. It means separating the problem from your partner and
working together to a solve problem rather than fighting each other.   

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11

Oct