Rules of Fight Club
Having a fight is not the end of the world, we all want our expectations and needs met, often these expectations are different to our partners. Communicating these expectations in a calm manner and our partner understanding would be the best outcome. However this is not always the case, so we sometimes express our frustrations with anger. Just know that Anger is often a sign that something deeper is wrong, and not the seemingly trivial event in the moment. Use the rules below to ensure things don’t escalate, also to help you find the root cause of your frustrations. You would need a counsellor to help the both of you to develop communication skills, boundaries, trust and define your roles and expectations.
The sense of humour you both enjoy in normal life can be a safe place to diffuse a fight before it happens. Expressing your feelings and needs can still happen. Humour can initially break the tension so that both parties can calm down to a level that is better for communication.
Ask your self is what you are fighting for going to still matter to you in 5 days’ time. “Why 5 days’ time?” This is a stalling technique that can give you perspective on what you are really fighting about. Often most fights are just about a person or both persons need/s not fulfilled and lack of communication skills, boundaries and an understanding of expectations and roles. In a fully committed relationship, the relationship serves each individual, so breaking down your partner breaks you down in return, rather use affirming respectful language to express your needs.
Win-win is a great mindset to have in a fight. While its healthy to express your emotions appropriately and sometimes fights can get heated for there to be honesty between partners (This does not need to happen when you have communication skills). You want to work to towards a outcome where both parties feel they have expressed feelings and needs leading to a reasonable request. Often simply being heard is enough to feel like we have won.
“Always” and “You Never” are dirty words. They are untrue generalisations and are banned, be careful not to generalise as this can escalate the argument. “Never use always because it always never works”
Ask for what you want not what you don’t want. This takes a positive approach leading to a request rather than a negative demand. This technique supports that you have confidence in your partner’s ability to see to your needs. Classic communication theory suggests this structure for conflict resolution: When you…….I feel…….I would prefer it if you…….Structuring our words carefully is a huge step to finding helpful outcomes from a fight.
A moment of Silence. . . It is great method for collecting your thoughts, empathising with your own and your partners feelings which can lead to a request opposed to a demand. At least for that moment of silence you are not saying anything you will regret later!
Go Team. Most fights get dirty because we are thinking of ourselves. Try to empathise with your partner, there may be something below the surface that explains everything. Listen and it may become plain soon. Work towards developing trust, a counsellor could help you work on communication skills, expectations, roles and boundaries that would help with building trust in your partner.
No name calling. Labelling freezes our actions in time, making them a permanent expectation. A fight is an opportunity to seek out change and a label forces a person to take on an manner or role permanently. It most likely to put the recipient into defence mode. It is far better express our feelings and request a positive action based on our need. Swearing and name calling is also a severe form of emotional and psychological abuse. Many say that emotional abuse is harder to heal from than physical abuse.
Labradoodle. Some describe blind rage as seeing in tunnel vision, others like a meltdown where emotions from years before are all bubbling over in dangerous nuclear meltdown. Calling on a safe word is an amazing respite and sage place to hide. We discovered “Labradoodle on a holiday in New York where we melted down every day at 4pm from jet lag. Our brother had a labradoodle and the word just made us smile). Absolute silence for 10 to 20 minutes starts after Labradoodle is called.
No smacking, pushing, grabbing, scratching, grapple holds, head locks, punching….unless you’re having a friendly rough and tumble and that’s what you do for fun. A healthy response to the very first show of violence is to treat it very seriously and do your best to leave to ensure your safety, show the severity and unacceptability of the violence and to allow them to calm down. You may want to lay a charge of assault at your local authorities to ensure that you are safe. Even the first time state that their treatment is abusive and that them seeking counselling and anger management is the only way forward. Depending on the degree of the first violent act, you should perhaps leave your shared accommodation at least for a night or more to express how unacceptable it is. This applies to men and women, men also can be abused by women physically and emotionally. We advise in general to nip it in the bud from the start with zero tolerance for physical violence is our advice. A frog cooks slowly in water that heats up slowly just as a victim of abuse becomes robbed of his/her ability to leave and protect their own safety, this being said its never too late to reach out for help, there are experienced institutions that can support you every step of the way.
See the best in your partner. Striving to see the best in our partner can save a relationship again and again. Start with thinking what you saw in your partner in the beginning. We are still the person who chose our partner in the first place! Either we need to fully accept and own this choice or we can spend time coming to terms with the needs, wounds and expectations that encouraged us to choose our partner in the first place. While rebuilding trust is hard its possible get back to the strengths we saw in the beginning.
Forgiveness is THE most powerful part of relationship. While rebuilding trust is hard after a hurt or slip up, its possible for forgiveness to allow us to start with a clean page again. Forgiveness recognises that we are all flawed, made of shadow parts and light parts. Forgiveness is generally defined as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.
Note: We can forgive but we cannot condone abusive or illegal behaviour. Healthy boundaries encourage us to value ourselves and to demand that others do the same. We can also forgive in our hearts without full reconciliation or restart of the relationship. Working towards a new normal where both parties can express their wants and hopes, is best done with an experienced counsellor.