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PDF of Lesson Thirty-six
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Resolution vs Revolution
Fighting can be productive or foolish. This class explores ways to have conflict resolution in an assertive healthy way. Foolish fighting will be discussed so you can compare and begin to notice the communication techniques that stop the resolution process.
by Yvonne Sinclair M.A., LMFT
Fighting can be an effective way of communication. Fighting does not need to be bad or hurtful. Fighting can be productive and assertive.
In the previous class of this program we learned there are four types of communication or styles; I would like to review those four styles here. Aggressive, passive, assertive, and passive aggressive.
An aggressive communication style means you are trying to get your needs met through force, either verbal, emotional, or physical force. If you wanted the salt at the dinner table, here is what your aggressive statement will sound like… it will be bossy and loud, something like; “CAN’T ANY OF YOU STUPID PEOPLE PASS THE SALT!!!”
An aggressive styles of communication can feel violent. Yelling, swearing, pointing your finger in your partner’s face, and calling names are all forms of aggressive communication and feel violent. Aggressive communication gets us what we need or want by violence-either physical or verbal or emotional.
When you communicate in a passive manner there may not be any statement at all. You may just hint at what you need. You might sit quietly wishing someone would pass the salt. Or make the statement “this food really needs more salt.” A passive style is unhealthy communication in that it is VICTIM thinking and not being proactive about asking for our own needs.
Some people have the talent of mind reading, but most of us are not able to read another’s mind. SO…even though people you live with love you very much, they probably can NOT read your mind. A Passive style of communication relies on the wish our mind can be read and our needs be taken care of magically.
Passive or Victim thinking in Fighting would be attitudes or statements like this; Adopting a “Wait and see” behavior. Saying “Tell me what to do” instead of “Tell me what you want and I will see if that fits for me.” OR you might make up tall tales about why YOU are not to blame. Avoiding responsibility for any of you own words or actions is Passive.
Passive is unhealthy communication because it is not being proactive about our own needs.
When you communicate assertively you increase the chance of getting your needs met without hurting anyone else or using force. An assertive statement would sound something like this; “Would someone please pass me the salt?”
In Assertive Communication you are straight forward about what you want. You don’t manipulate others, or try to force others, or wish for what you want. When you are assertive you are proactive about asking for your needs and wishes.
Passive Aggressive style;
An example of passive-aggressive behavior would go like this; your boss asks you to file some things and filing is not your job. You are irritated and file them all wrong….
Foolish Fighting uses methods of communication that are not assertive. Foolish fighting methods bring up old issues to cloud the focus. Fighting Foolish will stop communication, sabotage your relationship, and possibly cause more pain and damage.Foolish fighting can escalate to yelling and feel violent.
Methods that lead to Unproductive/Foolish Fighting.
Foolish fighting usually goes nowhere – just around and around – resolving nothing. Communication may escalate into violent behaviors. Here are some behaviors that are sometimes chosen in conflict resolution that are unproductive.
1. Change the rules mid-game. Don’t stick to the agreed format for the discussion.
2. Bring up past problems and issues. Even if you have never mentioned them before. Use sex to cloud the issues-“you never give me sex.”
3. Raise your voice to get the upper hand and feel powerful.
4. Step closer and raise your hand or point your finger to intimidate your partner and make them take you side.
5. Interrupt your partner so that they cannot voice their concerns completely.
6. Pretend to not be listening
7. Really don’t listen to your partner, spend the time they are talking thinking of what you will say back to them.
8. Make sure your partner knows YOU are right and they are WRONG.
9. Call names and label behavior as “mental” or “dumb”.
10. Say, sarcastically, something like-“YOU are so right I am just scum.”
Statements and Thinking Patterns that will STOP communication. If you use these statements you are using unproductive foolish fighting thinking. “Oh it is not so bad!” “Let’s not talk about it now. You will feel different later.” “If you would just listen to me this wouldn’t have happened.” “You talking stupid now.” “What about what you did yesterday?’ “Here is why you are so wrong.”
Maybe you can think of other statements you have heard or used that stopped the communication in its tracks.
Here is a list of communication messages that will STOP the progress cold; Recommending, arguing, warning, threatening, ordering, giving the solution, lecturing, instructing, advice, commanding, preaching, moralizing, obliging, kidding and teasing, sarcasm, psychoanalyzing, interrupting, making a joke of the issue. And using logic to be right.
Productive Fighting Productive fighting is a form of communication that resolves issues. When fighting productively we use assertive communication and stays focused on the problem. Fighting productively will get issues resolved and partners will feel heard.
Before you begin your discussion or fight, agree on the issue you will discuss.
*Stick to that one issue.
*If one of you thinks of something else you need to discuss, write it down for later.
* Stay focused, stay open minded.
*Be clear of your own personal boundaries, needs, and wishes.
*Remember and KNOW there does not have to be a right and wrong.
*You can both be right…just different. Right and Right.
ONE BIG RULE; YOU CAN agree to disagree.
….remember Kindergarten… Okay deep breathe……….YES I did say Kindergarten;
Some of the rules for living together safely and lovingly we learned in Kindergarten. Think about it –we learned to share, to say please, to take a nap, and flush.
Most of all keep the discussion/fight positive, remember this is the person who loves you and who you love.
The previous class has a communication format that works well for resolving issues when practiced
Structure for TIME OUT;
If one partner feels a need for a time out…or a need to stop the communication process, here is a good way to make the time- out positive.
You may need a time out to cool off or even just to collect your thoughts. You may want to check your own self-talk and review what you want to say in a calm quiet place so the discussion stays positive and productive.
Anyone can call a time out for any reason-just say “I want a time- out.”
When Time-out is called;
1. The amount of the time needed to stated…….”I will be back in ½ hour (or however much time the person needs) and we can start again.”
2. Each partner goes to a separate place (either in the house, for a walk, or drive).
3. At the appointed time partners return and start again. OR make an appointment for a later time to try over.
Rules for Productive Fighting There are rules to “fighting” fair and productive.
Following are some of those rules.
1. First rule- take turns. One person talks at a time. The other listens. The previous class in this program teaches reflective listening. If you have studied that chapter, get out the communication guide and feelings cheat sheet to help with this project. The guide will help you take turns and listen.
2. Practice reflective listening. Make sure your understanding of the speakers statement is clear by repeating back to the speaker what you feel you heard and give the speaker a chance to say “that is/or was not” what I wanted you to hear. If the answer is “no” then the speaker can repeat the statement, perhaps in another way. Remember, as you learned in the previous class, we listen and speak through our life filters. If the listener hears differently than the speaker intended, it is not spoken wrong or heard wrong. ONLY DIFFERENT.
3. Stay focused on the issue you agreed to discuss, try not to generalize or bring up other issues. If other subjects come up remember to write then down for later.
4. Set you boundaries together and each one observe those rules. Respect each others rights to say no or yes. Respect each others right to take a break or discuss the issue later.
5. Be honest with yourself and your partner.
6. If you need a time out ask for it and if you are asked for a time out – respect that need.
7. Give respect that is how you get respect.
8. No physical violence, or emotional violence – like threats, names calling, finger pointing, or yelling. Keep the “hooks” out of your statements. We learned about hooks in a previous class. A hook goes like this. You might say “Oh you are wearing that dress I gave you---finally.” The “finally” is the hook. It makes the statement negative and possible hurtful. Keep the hooks out of you communication especially when you are trying to resolve an issue.
9. Admit when you are mistaken…it is human. Last time I checked it was quite okay to be human.
10. Agree there is no right and wrong. If you HAVE to be right it may stop communication and prevent any resolution. Remember you can agree to disagree. No right and wrong, just right and right and different.
If you want to resolve an issue in your fighting, here are some attitudes and responses that will make that possible;
Avoid a power struggle.
Avoid the RIGHT/WRONG trap.
Listen respectfully, Offer ways to compromise,
Be willing to compromise,
Say things like; Thank you for sharing with me, I know, I bet it feels that way, I know you feel that way, What do you want to do? I don’t know, what do you think?
Let’s talk about RIGHTS
Here are some real rights each person deserves.
Take them to heart and remember your partner has the SAME rights.
You have the right to feel…feelings just are. Feelings are always present. Like weather they are either calm and we don’t notice them or they are like a hurricane and we can’t miss them. Emotions are not good or bad, they may feel good or bad, but they just ARE. You do not MAKE them. Feelings are like your barameter to your world. HAPPY comes and something is telling you “hello something is happening you like.” IF you begin to feel
angry your baramenter is saying “hey pay attention this is not good for you.” Your partner does not MAKE your emotions. Only you can allow yourself to feel. That goes for happy, sad AND angry. You cannot make anyone else MAD and they cannot make you MAD, so don’t give them that power.
You have the right to disagree with anything you feel is wrong or off course to the resolution of the issue you agreed on.
You have the right to be wrong…you have the right to make a mistake.
You have the right to put yourself first. Putting others needs before your own, routinely, is co-dependent behavior and unhealthy.
You have the right to your own opinions and beliefs.
You have the right to consider and reject others advice.
You have the right to choose.
You have the right to claim your actions as right for you and not defend them.
You have the right to say NO and the right to say YES.
You have the right to ask for help and support from your partner.
You have the right to be happy.
You have the right to be YOU.
Thoughts about: Beliefs that interfere with our well-being and mental health. Attitudes given to us….junk we need to toss………OUT!! (Stuff we were told by adults as children and believed. Old stuff we learned while growing up).
You don’t deserve to take others time with your problems.
If others disagree with your feelings then your feelings must be incorrect.
It is selfish to do things for yourself if anyone else needs help.
It is really bad to make a mistake. Being wrong is unthinkable. If you are not perfect you are a failure.
You should adjust your needs and schedule so that others are not inconvenienced.
No one wants to hear how you feel. So just keep it to yourself. Others will not like you if they find out you are not always happy.
You should always take another’s advice and act on it. They were nice enough to take the time to tell you about their thoughts.
You should never make others wait for you. But it is respectful to wait for them.
You should be able to “know” what your partner or family needs even without them telling you.
You should expect disaster at every turn. If things are going right, then something terrible will happen soon.
Together decide on the following;
FORM FOR A PRODUCTIVE FIGHT
1. THE ISSUE TO BE RESOLVED
2. AGREE TO RESPECT TIME-OUT IF SOMEONE ASKS
3. STAY ON THE SUBJECT-WRITE DOWN ANY OTHER ISSUES THAT MAY NEED TO BE DISCUSSED LATER
4. RESPECT THE OTHER PARTNERS RIGHT TO DISAGREE
6. PUT THE RESOLUTION ON HOLD UNTIL LATER IF NEEDED
HOMEWORK; THIS IS THE BEST PART
Here are some dirty, foolish, nasty fighting tricks to try on for size. They will hurt your relationship, they will stop any communication, they will surely cause frustration, confusion, and/or anger…..not a pretty picture. I would like you to try them out and see how they feel for you. See if they feel familiar, see how communication is derailed and resolution of issues is sidetracked.
Spend about 15 minutes each day for a week play acting these. Give them your all….go to the max. Pretend you are another couple and play act the scene. Maybe take a situation some friends had to deal with. Make up a scene or event. Do not use your own unresolved issues for this. Notice how these methods STOP communication.
Here is my suggested scene. You can use this one or make one up of your own.
Remember Keep it light. Don’t play with real issues here.
This is to understand how these behaviors can stop any communication and derail your progress.
One of you wants to go away for the weekend…you want weekend that is nice and romantic. You want to go to the coast or a nice bed and breakfast in the foothills, or camping by your favorite lake. The other partner has invited their sister and brother-in-law for the weekend without asking you.
(TRY THESE FOOLISH FIGHTING BEHAVIORS to address this issue…See how it feels to use them and have your partner use them.)
PRACTICE FOOLISH FIGHTING….
One of you be the partner (A) who wants a weekend away and one be the partner (B) with the “special” timing for inviting relatives.
Partner A is tired and really headed for bed…….now is the time to start partner B to start a “discussion.” Use those “always and never” words. You never want to go away with me. You always invite your sister.
Ask-“Why didn’t you take me into consideration. Why would you ask you sister now?” etc. Use the WHY.
Go right to the catastropizing. “Oh you never want to be alone with.” etc. This relationship is OVER if we can’t go away (or my sister is not welcome).
Don’t stick to the issue, bring up the time you partner’s friend stopped by unexpectedly….they went for a drink after work….bought tires for the car…without asking you.
Do the martyr “Oh I am so sorry it must be all my fault, I can never do anything right, I don’t know why you stay with me.”
Whatever you do don’t compromise…don’t back down….be sure you are RIGHT, be sure your partner KNOWS you are right and they are WRONG.
OKAY…have fun with this one and while you are there see if you identify any you have used before. Each day you pick a different scene or a different technique. Take turns thinking up scenes or borrowing situations. Take turns picking techniques to try out.
Wasn’t that just FUN??
After the foolish fighting practice try a method that will resolve the same issue. Try one of the Productive fighting techniques. See how it feels different. Notice if the communication is kept open instead of screeching to a halt.
Congratulations, you now have the tools to be a winner in relationship resolutions. If you keep the tools in the toolbox NOTHING will change. Take them out and give it a try. Remember changing old behaviors is hard work. Don’t get discouraged; you have spent many years honing the fighting style you use now. Give yourself some time to make this new assertive conflict resolution style work for you.
Unfinished Business by Maggie Scarf
Intimate Partners: Patterns of Love and Marriage by Maggie Scarf
How to Listen so your Kids will Talk and How to Talk so your Kids will Listen by Adel Faber and Elaine Mazlish
101 Romantic Nights of Grreat Romance: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples by Laura Corn
Tantra Secrets for Men by Kerry Riley with Diane Riley Nonviolent Communication-A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD
Tantra – The Art of Conscious Loving by Charles and Caroline Muir
Hot Monogamy – Essential Steps to More Passionate, Intimate, Lovemaking by Patricia Love, MD and Jo Robinson
Co-dependant No More by Melodie Beattie
©Copyright 2010 by Yvonne Sinclair M.A., LMFT. All Rights Reserved.
Congratulations, you are finished with the thirty-sixth lesson addressing domestic violence class for relationship revitalization.
When you complete the four questions for Lesson Thirty-sixth Quiz you will be automatically given Lesson Thirty-seven.
LESSON Thirty-six QUIZ