My boyfriend and I love each other, but he and I have been having more and more fights.
I try my best to be diplomatic, but he keeps pushing until I snap and the conversation turns ugly.
We’re both very strong-minded people and when we disagree it becomes a massive argument and days of “silent treatment”.
How do I break the cycle?
Many people have the thought that fighting keeps relationship alive. That is, if the other person is fighting with you, they care about you or see you as significant in their life.
Most of the time the fights and arguments that break out have nothing to do with the problem at hand. It is often the other person projecting their own baggage onto you.
Fighting and arguing is incredibly destructive to a relationship. It prevents real communication, defers responsibility from oneself and prevents looking at your own behavior.
It’s ironic that we think fighting will somehow solve the problem at hand when, if anything, it emotionally compels both parties to want to assert their offending behavior even more strongly.
The more you fight, the more you get stuck. Both people dig their heels into the ground and refuse to budge since that would mean they “lost”.
Men and women can both become “addicted” to needing to win arguments and fights. And, like an addiction, they become unconcious to the huge price they are paying and the destruction they are doing to themselves, their relationships and the people around them.
1) The first step to cut out fighting is letting go of your own anger.
Anger is like cigarettes or alcohol: It is poisonous, but it is also addicting and gives you a “high”. Once you have tasted the “high” of fighting with a particular person, you will start to crave fighting with them unless you make a point to stop giving in to anger cravings.
Quick Guide to Getting Rid of Anger
I am not going to go into a long explanation of each. I would encourage you to think about each item and what it would look like in your life:
a) Stop blaming the other person
b) Write out a list of every price you pay because of your anger and fighting
c) Aim to be happy instead of being “right”
d) Take care of yourself and focus only on taking care of the other person, no matter what
e) REFUSE to fight or argue with them anymore – stop feeding into anger cravings
2) There’s a difference between disagreeing and fighting.
Disagreeing just means you have one idea, they have another and you don’t agree.
Fighting is giving into an emotional craving and very quickly leads to you passionately speaking through anger and defensiveness, exaggerating facts and saying things you don’t mean.
When two egos get involved in a fight, they tear the relationship between them into shreds.
You can dramatically improve your relationship by recognizing that part of love is respect.
And part of respect is putting your emotional cravings on hold and giving that person the space to have their own opinion and thoughts.
It doesn’t mean you have to cater to them. It doesn’t even mean you have to agree.
But for your own sake, you need to let go of your anger and give them permission to have their own thoughts and feelings.
People have a funny habit of having showing love and respect for the people they are closest too. For some reason they feel that being close to someone means they can having a short temper with them, have a short temper with them and treat them more poorly than they would someone they weren’t close to.
When you think of it like that, it’s no wonder why this mindset leads to fighting and strained relationships.
There is nothing more anger-provoking and fight-baiting than interrupting the other person or jumping down their throat the moment that they finish their sentence.
Learn to relax and slow down. Give them space to speak and make a point of giving 100% attention to them while they’re speaking.
Half the reason that people fight is because they pay attention to their own internal feelings of anger instead of just respectfully and lovingly paying attention to the other person.
4) Forgive yourself and forgive him
I doubt that he means to fight with you and I know that you don’t mean to fight with him.
Before you can make progress, you need to forgive him and you need to forgive yourself. Wipe the slate clean so that you can start fresh.
5) Commit to changing yourself, no matter what
When it comes to change in a relationship, you really can’t change the other person per se. They need to be willing to change themselves.
What you can do is stop feeding into your half of the cycle.
This is challenging, but by talking about it here you will be better equipt to handle the challenge.
How to prepare for relationship change:
a) Realize your half of the responsibility.
When you take the time to notice what you’re doing that is feeding into the fighting and arguments, it will shift your focus to self-improvement and off of blaming.
You can only change yourself. You can’t change the other person.
Blaming is the delusional belief that you somehow can make the other person change by making them feel bad. It’s destructive and it doesn’t work.
b) Realize that you will need to keep your urges in check.
When you commit to stop feeding into the fighting and arguments, there are going to be several times where you feel the urge to fight and argue. It will almost feel like the other person is baiting you to fight or egging you on.
You need to commit to your gameplan and refuse to feed into the problem.
Again, you can only control yourself and not the other person. If you can demonstrate that you know longer feed into the problem, the other person will eventually cut the crap too.
c) Realize that if you truly love and respect the other person, you will put your ego aside and invest in stopping the destructive behaviors.
There are times where I feel the urge to fight or argue with someone I’m close to when they push my buttons.
Sometimes I rise above it and don’t give in. Sometimes I get sucked into the drama and it becomes a very ugly conversation.
What’s the difference? What is it I am able to do when I don’t give in versus the times that I do?
The winning strategy is being in touch with my commitment to my love and respect for the other person.
When I am able to stay in touch with my love and respect for the other person, I am able to keep my emotions in check and I don’t blow up at them.
When you “need” the other person to be a certain way or you’ll be angry, that’s not love or respect. That’s manipulation… that’s dehumanization and it is the furthest thing from love or respect possible.
Respect and love for the other person means putting your ego down and being OK with them the way they are.
It doesn’t mean catering to their every request, putting their needs before yours or anything like that. That’s just a recipe for resentment and would be an equally destructive problem.
It just means calming down and realizing you don’t really need them to be any other way than they are. If you love and respect them, give them that freedom and in time, they’ll naturally do the same for you.
Good luck and hope it helps,