Locked in the confined space of an apartment, partners face disagreements from which it is impossible to escape to work or friends. In a state of anxiety and tension, even small problems grow to the size of global and insoluble. And everyone tries to prove to the other that he is wrong, even if the subject of the dispute is to turn on the light in the kitchen or not, whether to put the cups in the dryer or next to the sink.
Therefore, everyone who is isolated and tries not to “kill” a partner should heed the conclusions of Tara Vrance, a psychologist and meditation instructor, who claims: attempts by all means to convince another that he is wrong only lead to that everyone feels even more lonely and isolated.
Psychotherapists who work with couples argue that sometimes, in sessions, spouses first try to shift the blame for problems onto each other. They claim that the husband or wife constantly criticizes them, does not thank them, does not pay attention. And this, in turn, allegedly forces them to defend themselves and prove that everything is just the opposite, relying on logic and facts. Then they detail how the partner can correct mistakes, what to say or do to resolve the conflict.
Unfortunately, such ways to prove to the other that he is wrong do not work, but, on the contrary, force the partner to defend himself and more actively to prove his position. Many couples find themselves in this situation. The problem is, it’s completely useless. In each of the partners, the inner lawyer raises his head and begins to select arguments, and in the end it seems as if both partners met in court.
What happens when couples argue meaninglessly? Everyone focuses on their own ego and gets stuck in a fight-or-flight state. As a result of this strategy, one is sure to win, the other loses. Instead of seeing each other as allies, realize that the goal of the dispute is common: to maintain the relationship – partners behave like opponents. And in the end, no one feels understood, but everyone feels isolated and resentful, which in an already limited space can destroy relationships.
Tara Vrance claims that it is impossible to prove your case by striving solely to win the dispute. She offers a different model of behavior based on compassion, the desire to understand and accept someone else’s way of thinking.
It is worth, first of all, to try to understand the feelings of the partner, to understand him, no matter how strange and unfair he may behave
The author in the book “Radical Compassion” writes: “It is necessary to consciously approach your feelings that overwhelm us at the time of the argument, accept them and pause before reacting.” Overly hasty and violent reactions reinforce and intensify the conflict.
To find the ability to compassion in yourself, you need to allow yourself to be disappointed, to feel what the other person can feel, giving free rein to their own emotions.
The only thing that helps couples to get through the pain of disagreement and quarreling is the desire to understand, not to label and discount. When everyone focuses too much on how right they are and how wrong the other is, no one wins. Because initially both tried to find something in common, to come to a compromise, to explain what worries them, to be understood.
So, in order for the relationship in a couple to become more harmonious and deep, it is worth first of all to try to understand the feelings of the partner, to understand him, no matter how strange and unfair he may behave. (Of course, this technique does not apply to domestic violence cases.)
You need to work with emotions together, support, show your partner that you understand him, help you feel heard. Keep this in mind when you are going to argue with your partner. And instead of screaming and proving, try the following tips from Tara Branch.
1. Use facial expressions and body language to help your partner relax and open up
Try to copy your partner’s facial expressions and body language during an argument. Studies have shown that such “mimicry” increases feelings of comfort, acceptance, sympathy. But this only works if the partner does not close at the very beginning of the conflict. If so, give him space and time and open yourself up to infect him with your sincerity.
2. Choose your words to come to an agreement
After you’ve helped him feel like you’re on the same side with your body language and facial expressions, it’s time to pay attention to words and tone. Talk to your partner warmly and sincerely. Show that you are trying to understand him better: “I thought you were upset because … Right?” Or – that they listened attentively and understood: “Now it is clear why you are upset.”
This form of conversation helps the other to explain their point of view and more likely to accept someone else’s. In addition, remind you that you have already been able to agree on some issues, which means that you will be able to do this on the rest. This will give an incentive to look for solutions that suit both.
3. Take the first step to find a solution
Look for a way out, reach a compromise, take steps forward, listen to arguments. Give your partner a chance to see why their habits annoy you and look at yours yourself. Show that you want to solve the problem constructively, do not strive to win by all means, do not want his or her defeat.
A conversation between the two is not a sporting event or a war between powers. Your goal is a solution, not a victory in itself. It should be general, suitable for both you and your partner. Therefore, there is no point in proving that you are right. Instead, try to understand, understand, hear. And then perhaps isolation will only bring your pair together.
About the author: Tara Vrance is a psychologist and meditation instructor.