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Do you argue with your partner, or do you keep it all in?
I can hold my breath
I can bite my tongue
I can stay awake for days if that’s what you want
Be your number one
I can fake a smile
I can force a laugh
I can dance and play a part
If that’s what you ask ...
Give you all I am
But I’m only human.
“Human” by Christina Perri.
Recently, police were called to the home of singer / songwriters Paul Simon and Edie Brickell for a domestic dispute. According to Simon, this argument was only the fourth in twenty-two years of marriage. If there is any validity to this statement it certainly explains their reported out of control argument.
It Is Natural To Argue
People disagree with each other and have conflicting feelings, perspectives, wants, and needs. If one expresses these at the time that they occur, a productive disagreement or argument is possible.
If, however, one bites their tongue, anger and resentment builds. Eventually, it will come out “sideways” and it will be out of proportion with what happened in the moment.
There are most likely unresolved issues that have never been worked through. Most likely this will lead to a destructive argument where harsh words are exchanged.
How To Identify Unresolved Issues
A good way of determining whether there are unresolved issues coming up is:
- The length of an argument.
- If a couple can work through a disagreement in twenty minutes or less than it is truly about what just occurred between them. If not, it is likely that there is unfinished business.
I have clients that tell me that their argument was two hours in duration and that they still did not resolve their problem. Another clue is the use of “always” and “never”; if you’re using those words, it’s probably not the argument you think it is!
Communicating Your Feelings, Wants, And Needs
Expressing what you feel, want and need in the moment - in an appropriate way - can make a huge difference in the interaction.
If one is feeling too angry do not address it with your partner from this place. First speak to an objective friend or utilize some emotional release techniques to reduce some of the anger.
Sometimes it is vital to take time and space before addressing the other person so that the discussion can truly have meaning.
My hope for you is that you honor yourself and your partner by talking things out as opposed to shouting them out. You and your relationship deserve this!
Kathleen Dwyer-Blair, LCSW, BCD, Director.
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