Part III: Relationship Conflict, Fighting, Arguing

It seems like lots of these excerpts from dialogues and constructed meanings are needed to give you a more detailed picture about me. Here’s a quick one on relationship conflict, fighting and arguing.

Relationship ConflictRelationship ConflictRelationship Arguing

Relationship Conflict

So a client says that arguing/fighting with their partner(s) is one of their main complaints, as something about their life that they hate and fear. Despite their practicing the painful, threatening experience many times, they are not getting better at it. The conflict experience does not resolve things much – though it must if they are to push forward. Worse, people like this stop wanting each other – it’s too cold, too often. Trouble.

I might say that there is an:

Agreement To Fight (a combative alliance)

It’s one way to say that there is a very big agreement in place, when people are thinking that there are few to none. And the parties are doing a good job with it, keeping the same dynamics going as if they had agreed to them, which they have. Which dynamics? That’s where the work begins.

Shift Out Of Fighting Mode

Not reduction of conflict, per se. But a definite reduction of emotionally striking out in frustration. Understanding deeply that emotional harm will delay things further. Getting into agreement mode.

Not Making The Other ‘Wrong’

A big deal in personal development – the creation of a safe enough ‘relationship morality’ solely defined & carried out by the partners, and not subject to anyone else’s approval or veto. Non-moralizing in the traditional sense. Non-competitive. More truly relational.

“What You Did To Me –> What This Says About Us”

This is another big shift. From mano a mano to hand-in-hand, knowing ‘this is so true about us’. This is aided by the ‘relationship morality’ element, and is a general exercise in  relational skills. This can be what Schnarch called “trading pain for growth.”

“Competing To Be The Most Injured Party”

This is akin to the downward spiral of conflict model. But it’s rooted in a competitive level of relationship conflict development. It’s a mutual protest of vulnerability (with no increase in emotional safety). It’s also rooted in parent-child models of blaming & shaming. It has to be worked through – these are developmental steps about overall maturity.

Is There Even 5% Of What Your Partner Said That You Can Agree With?

A widely used therapy tool.

Brief Discussion & Explanation

What I blog about might be those constructs that reliably seem to help people at certain points in their development and therapy. These excerpts sometimes come up during therapy appointments, though condensed for blogging purposes. They aren’t points of view that anyone has to endorse or subscribe to.

They flow from my work, the range of human interaction and mind-mapping. They might be ‘news of a difference’, existing so that another view, another choice or option can be created by my client. Seen in the perspective of their own personal development.

Many come to life representing the exact opposite of what the client truly believes. But to hear that, I must ask you to accept my assumption as part of the picture: that the opposite of anything is ‘equally true’. That little nugget will probably need further unpacking in this blog.


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