How do you stop arguing when it seems like the argument will never be resolved? When we keep replaying the same argument over and over again we feel frustrated, angry, annoyed, sad and sometimes helpless and hopeless. Just because we can’t stop arguing doesn’t mean there isn’t a resolution. It means we haven’t found a way to avoid the triggers that continue the negative cycling.
We learn how to argue and deal with conflict mostly from our parents who learned it from their parents, and so on. Sometimes we deliberately go another way, hoping that way will work better. But true conflict resolution is not taught in the schools, especially when it comes to romantic relationships, the most vulnerable type of communication. Here’s What to Do:
Most of the frustration comes from not feeling heard and understood. This is the key to stop arguing. Truly hearing someone does not in any way mean they win the argument! It means that each partner wants resolution. If even one person feels they are not being heard, the argument takes a negative turn, or completely halts, unresolved.
- What is your partner trying to say? What do they want you to understand?
- Stay focused on trying to understand them, and not make it about you. You will have your turn to be heard and the other person needs to fully hear you as well.
2. Stay Away From Judgment
- Judging is a sure-fire way of shutting down the conversation or causing the other person to either attack you or defend themselves. Both stop healthy communication in its tracks.
- When we do either of the above behaviors we stop listening as the speaker or receiver.
- Judging can sound like “you never listen to me”, or “it’s always about you!”
3. Avoid Being Defensive
- Instead, really try to hear what the person wants you to know and understand.
- When we defend ourselves we are not listening in that moment.
4. Stay Away From Absolutes
- Absolutes: Right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse
- Any of the above shuts down the listening and either becomes a battle for the top position in the argument, or stops the conversation all together. Stop arguing about who’s on top.
- With absolutes, someone has to end up on the losing side. THIS DOESN’T WORK! Stop arguing about right and wrong and start understanding the other person’s point of view.
5. Talk About How You Feel
- How we feel is how we feel. It is very difficult to argue with how someone feels. Understanding their feelings makes it easier to hear them.
6. “Keep The Garage Door Open”
- Most importantly, when a person feels heard and understood, they are more OPEN to hearing and understanding the other person.
- Make “I” statements. This helps the other person to not feel blamed. It also allows the speaker to take responsibility for how they feel.
- The other person will feel less defensive. Which means they can hear you more easily.
- If our partner tries to tell us they feel hurt about something we may do, we need to listen and not judge – just like we would want from them.
- Repeat back what you hear the person saying and ask them if you heard them accurately. If not, then the speaker needs to re-explain what they are saying, but without judgement.
- Ask each other what will make it better for each one, but do it with NO JUDGMENT.
- Admit when you are wrong. Remember, the other person is not to be judgmental.
- Do something that reconnects you both, ie: holding each other, or telling them you don’t want them to feel hurt and will work on whatever is the point of what is not being effective.
How To Stop Arguing – Summary:
It hurts when we have an argument with our partner. We feel apart from them. Disconnected and alone. Stop arguing from a position of right or wrong and judgment. This never works. Be kind to one another. Treat them as you would like them to treat you. Try to understand what they are trying to communicate and why they might be feeling hurt. Remember, in a healthy relationship both partners want to be together and strongly dislike when there is a disconnection between them. It is not about who is right. It is about both partners feeling heard and understood.
- Can you identify with any of the situations?
- Do you know what gets in the way of you both working an issue out?
- Try these techniques out. But first let your partner know what you want to do and ask them to read this article first. Let them know you are asking because you care about them and want to be close. And that you don’t like it when you have a disconnection from them.