A Modern Perspective on Mental Health
By Peggy Defazio LPC
Coastal Counseling & Consulting
Fighting Fair – Part 1
It seems as though none of our important relationships are free from conflict. Even when we are full of love and respect for the other person, we will clash at times. Conflicts are a normal part of intimate relationships and should not be alarming.
Conflicts usually arise when we disagree. We can disagree about our perceptions, ideas, expectations, or desires. A perfect, and well-known, example of this type of disagreement is when one person expects to have a tidy house where each person picks up after themselves and his partner has consistent “challenges” in putting things away.
We also get into conflict when we have a strong desire to control our world. In addition, we fight when we have deep fears that are triggered by our partner’s behaviors. For example, if we fear being rejected and we feel our partner is not paying enough attention to us, we may blame our partner for our feeling scared and lash out at them.
Please understand that not every disagreement is important enough to fight about – as my grandma used to say “pick your battles.” Not all of our disagreements need to develop into a full-fledged fight. So, if the topic is important enough to fight about, we have to learn how to fight in a manner that works towards resolving the issue without damaging the relationship.
In my opinion, the most important thing you can do to encourage fighting fairly is to stay on topic. Let’s say, you and your partner are fighting about money, you cannot start going on about dirty socks all over the house – you have to stay focused. If you don’t stay on topic, the chances that you’ll reach a resolution are slim to none. Remember, if we don’t resolve a conflict, we will continue fighting about it until we do find a resolution – even if it takes years to find that resolution.
More tips on fair fighting next time.