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How do you stop arguments from becoming destructive?

AifeAife LondonPosts: 2,318 Community Manager
september-12-2012-by-the-next-family-leave-a-comment-7danUF-clipart.jpg

Hey everyone,

Arguments in relationships are normal, but how do you stop arguments with your partner from boiling over and becoming destructive?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

- Aife
Maybe somethings don't get better, but we do. We get stronger. We learn to live with our situations as messy and ugly as they are. We fix what we can and we adapt to what we can't. Maybe some of us will never fully be okay, but at least we're here. We're still trying. We're doing the best we can. That's worth celebrating too ❤

Comments

  • PositiveAuraPositiveAura Posts: 150 Settling in
    Hi Aife!

    ​I personally like to look at 'arguments' as more of 'discussions' :)

    ​Arguments immediately make me feel defensive and anxious! So if I think I'm having an argument, it sets me in the completely wrong mind-set straight away.
    Then they can get heated and can turn into a one-way conversation where no one is listening to each other, but just trying to voice their own thoughts and feelings by shouting.

    ​But thinking of it like a discussion, it implies more of a sit-down talk where you lay out any issues and work through it together. Even if this is just in my mind, I personally become more calmer and less worried about the outcome. So then the talk is actually constructive and less destructive.

    ​The most important thing is to listen to each other and to do this, honestly you have to talk separately and take it in turns. You can't listen to someone else if you are talking too. This is hard when they may be saying something that you don't want to hear, but knowing that you have time to speak your thoughts after can help. For example, even having a 'talk' pillow. This may sound tedious but it does work, and eventually you learn to talk through things so much better. You get time to say how you are feeling, whilst also listening to your partner and you're more likely to both open up if you feel like you're being listened to and valued.

    ​Laying out what you both want to happen next is important too. You have to make sure that you both want to work through whatever the issue is and still stay together at the end. If you aren't both on the same page, then this can become destructive, you can go round in circles, find it pointless and not get anywhere. Then you get frustrated and it gets heated all over again because you don't know what the other wants. You have to be honest and say what the problem is and what might need to change else you won't get anywhere.

    ​I've been with my partner almost 5 years now and I know that both of us have the other's feelings in mind whenever we have a ...'discussion'... so it tends not to boil over. We don't want to hurt the other person, we just want to voice our feelings. Bearing this in mind can help stop things from getting loud and hurtful! You want to make things better, not worse.

    So I'd say, think of it as a discussion or talk rather than a big argument, listen, be honest, and try to think of the other person's feelings.

    But what does everyone else think?:chin:

    -PositiveAura:rainbow2:

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  • AzzimanAzziman The Mix convert Posts: 1,092 Wise Owl
    Hi Aife!

    One of the main reasons an argument becomes destructive is when participants stray away from the topic of discussion. In the moment, people feel angry or frustrated, and may use other frustrations as emotional firepower. It's important to notice when someone is straying away from the topic - they may bring up past issues, start criticising other family members, or launch personal attacks. When this happens, it's important to stop the argument because nothing good comes through this kind of hate-fuelled verbal attack.

    Other things I'd say have been covered nicely by @PositiveAura[/USER] and [USER="79705"]Meggles, so no need to repeat!

    Much love <3
  • RayofhopeRayofhope Posts: 152 Helping Hand
    Hi,

    So I think that for you to be able to stop an argument from becoming destructive I think you have to realise that the argument might be falling down a path which is destructive. Once you have realised that it might be destructive it would be worth sitting down with your partner and talk through what has caused the argument and see if you are able to work it out.

    As well as everything else which has been discussed.

    Rayofhope
    Life doesn’t require we be the best, only that we try our best
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  • tashtastictashtastic Posts: 30 Boards Initiate
    I think arguments can be okay on a small scale, often they can stop bad feelings and speculation building up and becoming destructive. I think the problems start when things start becoming personal, it's no longer about what actually happened, it's just about all things you don't like about them for example. Like the others have said, when you realise things are becoming harmful, just taking a step back, a bit of time away from each other can help you clear your head and see the bigger picture.

    I think the other thing is you actually have to talk face to face, so often 'text arguments' are so emotionless and unreal and you both know you wouldn't have the balls to say the things you were saying the other person in real life. Sometimes the real issue is never really resolved when it plays out like this - everything is ok when you see each other for a date, but all the bad stuff comes out over text.

    I definitely agree with what the others have said as well :)

    Tash
  • FranFran Posts: 118 Boards Initiate
    Hey everyone!!

    I believe that sometimes taking a step backward could be a solution to avoid an escalation while having a conflict. In fact, it is really common to experience some overwhelming emotions that make us express roughly, say exaggerated things or talking and quarreling about old topics that are not related to the argument. So, I think that it would be good to take a moment to think about the reasons we are quarreling and to think whether it is worthy to go on fighting, or it is better to take a deep breath and start talking more calmly. This could help us not be overwhelmed by those terrible emotions that come together with quarrels-

    Fran
  • FeatheredDreamsFeatheredDreams Miniposter Posts: 91 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
    When an arguement becomes destructive, i think it comes from -a lack of ability to compromise -a lack of understanding -this human pettiness we all have to some extent where we devolve into insults when we're losing to take the conversation away from the "losing" side.

    So, i would say:
    -Think of how you (and your partner) can give some leeway, can compromise for each other, though i understand some situations just cannot have any compromise in them, in which case you should discuss ways to mitigate the drawbacks of something instead.

    -A lack of understanding can be fixed if you take a moment just to rephrase what you're saying. Sometimes an arguement doesn't exist, just the language used makes it seem like it, sometimes someones arguing with you about something that is a completely different thing to what you're thinking about and you don't know you're talking about different things...conveying what you mean can be difficult, and if you can't do it then take a break, allow time to relax and recollect your thoughts so you can convey your point clearly.

    -I think it's pretty good life advice in general to watch the way you speak to people. I've met no one who doesn't regret all the petty arguements they've had where they were cornered and resulted to insults. When i disagree with someone, I like to think about why their viewpoint is different from mine- whats different in their life that leads them to propose that solution, or maybe their hands are tied in some situations etc - having some empathy for them goes a long way to being calm and as nice as possible about an arguement (cus I wouldnt wanna be insulted), and then I can way more easily move onto solutions to the problem at hand.

    At worst, a short period of seperation can allow people to cool off, but i think that's really situational myself...it took me months to get over my emotions in dealing with some issues raised in arguements, i think there are also some people who just don't cool down given time - they just give out a more passive aggressive anger than an explosive, loud kind after being asked to seperate. Really, it all comes down to our own ability to look at ourselves when someone says "okay this is getting too angry for me" and then to try and adjust that, instead of refusing to accept you could be wrong about something.

    (My experience in arguements, is that seperation and taking a step back has never helped me - only lead to it getting worse, from avoidance, from just not getting anywhere in repeated thoughts, from escalating how awful the other people are being now that i have a moment to think about it.
    What has helped me though is to think about the other side, and look at myself and why that arguement made me angry when I shouldn't have been. And then I apologise, acknowledge their feelings, acknowledge why i was angry at them & what i will try to do to not repeat it...and then its usually much better and calmer when we approach the issue again.)
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    In this context, the question remains: How do I stop my wrath from boiling over when Jules my partner went back on her word and today left me again for the rest of the week? She's gone on music business to Majorca and I'm left at home trying to cope. :confused:
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
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