Meditation For Freedom From Toxic, Negative, Dysfunctional Relationships; Become Your Higher Self
How to Eliminate Toxic Arguments from Your Relationship
All couples have arguments. However, there is a huge difference between sitting down and working through a problem as a team versus shouting, name-calling, and slamming doors. Aggressive arguments, however, aren’t the rule—other couples engage in silent treatments as a form of passive arguing. If you and your partner have toxic arguments, it could be tearing you apart. Eliminate these arguments by identifying and reducing toxic patterns, implementing healthy conflict resolution techniques, and strengthening your connection with one another.
Identifying and Reducing Toxic Patterns
Get comfortable with conflict.Contrary to what many couples believe, disagreements aren’t the devil. However, when you avoid conflict at all costs, you allow resentments to grow. Also, when you sweep problems under the rug, you never strengthen your conflict resolution skills.
- Learn to embrace conflict. See it as an opportunity to hash out your differences in order to grow closer and better meet one another’s needs.
Leave past issues in the past.Another toxic pattern in many relationships is the tendency to stockpile issues. Stockpiling involves bringing up old issues during current arguments. This habit prevents anything from ever being resolved.
- For example, your partner may accuse you of lying and then you say, "Well, you lied to me last week!"
- When you notice yourself bringing up an old issue, pause and ask if it’s really going to help you resolve the problem at hand or if you’re just bringing it up to build a case.
- Deal with the current issue first. Then, if the old issue still needs resolving, talk about it at a later time.
Drop the silent treatment.Taking a break from an argument to get some perspective can be healthy, but silence shouldn’t be used as a weapon to manipulate or control your partner. Agree on a span of time to collect yourselves and then resume the discussion.
- For example, you said something to your partner and they never respond or say anything to you. If this lasts for an extended period of hours or days, it's probably the silent treatment.
- If your partner tends to use the silent treatment against you, call them out. Saying something like “Ignoring me isn’t going to resolve the issue” may get them to snap out of it.
Don’t engage in emotional blackmail.Yet another toxic arguing habit occurs when one partner threatens to end the relationship during a fight. This is frequently used as a control tactic to get one partner to do what the other wants.
- An example of emotional blackmail may involve you bringing up a problem and your partner immediately saying, "You can never be happy. I don't know why I thought this relationship would work."
- Emotional blackmail can work against you. Threatening your partner with a breakup or divorce may actually prompt them to leave you. Plus, it creates an insecure relationship that jeopardizes trust.
- Ban relationship threats from your arguments. Commit to discussing the issue at hand without bringing the livelihood of the relationship into question.
Implement a “no name-calling rule.” If you and your partner want to effectively resolve your problems, you’ll have to remove name-calling and unnecessary criticisms from the equation. It’s impossible to fight fair when one or both parties starts shouting insults.
- For instance, you nor your partner should be calling each other names like "loser" or "idiot."
- Agree that name-calling is no longer welcome in your arguments. If it happens, stop the discussion completely until the other person apologizes for the insult.
Dealing with Anger
Identify the source of the anger.Are you the type of person that gets angry really quickly? Do you feel your anger build like a slow burn? Keep tabs on what frustrates you or creates that angry spark. Once you have this emotional awareness, you can start working on counteracting it.
- Try keeping a journal of the things that make you feel angry. Be as detailed as possible, so you can make connections between details and explain it to your partner later.
Put your anger into words.Name your anger with phrases, words, and even metaphors that help you express how you’re feeling. These expressions may create a feeling of resolution and ease the tension you’re feeling, which will also make it easier to have a civil conversation and move past the anger, down the road.
Assess your current expression of anger.Do you feel like your anger has no place to go when you get mad? Do you find yourself shouting, slamming doors, or throwing things, just to get some of your anger out? These actions, though they might feel necessary in the heat of the moment, only heighten the tension and prevent productive problem-solving.
De-escalate your anger.Find ways to break up your anger so you can think clearly and communicate effectively. Identify a few strategies you can use when you are upset. Suggestions might include techniques like deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or taking a walk in nature. Take breaks during your fights or practice something soothing together.
Avoid stonewalling.Stonewalling is one of the two participants in a conversation shut off and withdraw from the interaction. This can happen because one person does not want to acknowledge the issues. Avoid stonewalling by listening to your partner, even if it feels difficult to do in the moment.
Building Better Conflict Resolution
Agree on a system to voice grievances.Healthy relationships fight fair, which means one partner isn’t allowed to run the show and dictate the rules. When you’re both calm, sit down and work out a framework to use for your arguments. You might even post this framework somewhere in your home as a reminder.
- For example, you might each have five minutes to voice your grievances. Then, to prevent tension from building, take a short 10 to 20 minute break. Afterwards, you might reconvene to discuss possible solutions (without bringing up grievances again).
Use “I” statements.Defensiveness is a major roadblock in conflict resolution. Each partner can help to limit the other’s defensiveness by vocalizing their frustrations appropriately. When you think about it, both partners only want to be heard and understood, so learn to do that without making the situation worse.
Practice active listening.Effective problem-solving demands turn-taking and actual communication, which means both partners can’t be talking over one another or constantly interrupting. Demonstrate active listening skills by waiting for your partner to finish before responding.
- In fact, to prevent misunderstanding, clarify your partner’s message by asking questions or restating it before saying your part.
Ask open-ended questions.Avoid attacking your partner by saying “Why did you say that?” or “What were you thinking when you did that?” Instead, ask open-ended questions, which help promote dialogue and can lead to a deeper understanding of each other.Some open ended questions you can ask include:
- “So, what’s going on?”
- “What do you think about…?”
- “Could you help me understand…?”
- “What do you think we should do next?”
Keep your voices level.Shouting is the antithesis of healthy communication, so tone it down a notch. If one of both of you can’t control your voice level, take a break and try to resume the conversation at a later time. Return to the discussion with calmer, softer tones.
Be solution-focused.The bulk of an argument should be spent in the resolution phase. When couples spend too much time talking about who did what and why it was wrong, it adds to the tension and resentments. Rather than dwelling for too long on what happened, commit to focusing on solutions.
- For example, if your partner dwells on how you behaved at a dinner party, you might ask, “What would you have liked me to do instead, sweetheart?” Aim to be action-oriented.
Improving Your Connection
Accept one another’s differences.Differences should complement your bond, not threaten it. Instead of viewing your partner’s differences as a problem, learn to acknowledge and accept them. The trick to this is to devise ways your differences add interest and value to the relationship.
- For example, if you have different religious beliefs, this may allow both of you to expand your cultural and religious awareness.
Increase your ratio of positive interactions.Healthy relationships have more positive interactions than negative ones (about five to one). If you and your partner are hoping to eliminate toxic arguments, you should add more good experiences.
Make intimacy a priority.Intimacy characterizes the closeness and familiarity of two people. Intimate partners are vulnerable, honest, and open with one another. Increasing the level of intimacy you have with your partner can naturally improve communication and conflict resolution.
- Increase intimacy by trying new things together, having deeper conversations, and switching up your typical routine.
- Intimacy is more than sex, although physical intimacy is a part of it. However, boosting emotional and spiritual intimacy may also improve your sex life.
Go to couples counseling.Overcoming toxic patterns of arguing is challenging. If you and your partner need help, turn to an experienced couples counselor. A professional can help you address common relationship concerns, learn skills for managing conflict, and improve your connection with one another.
Recognize that conflict isn’t inherently negative.Healthy conflict can, in fact, be beneficial for your relationship, as it gives you a chance to grow and learn about each other. Be patient, and focus on taking positive experiences from your conflict.
- Conflict can be a way to care for an empathize with your partner once you understand where the other person is coming from.
- You might realize you need to spend more time together, or need to anticipate conflict before it starts so you can better deal with it.
- Listen, understand, and validate each other to get the best experience from your argument.
Reward yourselves when you manage conflict well.If you have an argument that you’re able to end in a positive manner, reward yourselves with a special date, dinner, or other special occasion. It might take some time and effort to get to the point where you feel like your conflict is healthy, but being able to bring an angry argument to a constructive end is something to be proud of.
QuestionWhat if the issue is with my adult son, and stonewalling seems the only way to stop the attack?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you find that that's the only way to prevent such negative interactions, then you should try it. Be sure to stay strong and remind yourself that you're doing this for the right reasons.Thanks!
QuestionMy boyfriend and I don't get to see each due to busy schedules. On days I can see him, I feel like I have to compete for his time and attention with friends. It's wrong to make him choose. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTalk to him about your concerns. Communication is vital to maintaining a healthy relationship. If you do talk to him and he doesn't listen or change anything, then it could be a sign that maybe your relationship isn't meant to be.Thanks!
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