We all know that moment when a relationship fight pushes us over the edge. It's when we wonder how this very same issue that upsets me so much can pop up again.

Dishes left piling up in the sink. Too much time scrolling through social media when we desire quality time. The tone of voice that makes us feel stupid. The personal jabs that leave us feeling raw.

Matthew I. (@matthewyi) - Profile Photo

@matthewyi

Love & Family

Identifying the hidden dimension under the relationship fight can affect how we fight and how we move forward.

  • Power and control fights: "You undermine me with the kids."/ "Because I make less money, I feel like I have to check with you before I buy anything."
  • Care and closeness fights: "Why am I always the one to text or call you? "Why can't you support me when I'm anxious?"
  • Respect and recognition fights: "You never acknowledge my accomplishments."/"I don't think you realize how much I do."

The deeper issues that drive escalation is seldom about the content of the fight. The real issue is about the needs, vulnerabilities, and biases that get triggered again and again, creating a lens through which we view every interaction.

For example, if our partner makes time to play tennis with a friend but doesn't show interest in a date night, we may think they don't want to be with us. We may then interpret everything else from the angle that they don't want to be with us.

Someone is usually extremely angry or deeply upset because they care. But that care can be better used. It requires developing the skills and language to identify the underlying dynamics which is behind our fights.

When we together understand how these patterns came to be, we can help each other through it and create new patterns.

  • "I feel something, but that doesn't mean you're necessarily doing it. I need you to hear that,"
  • "Honey, I'm going to friends tonight, but was thinking we can do something special tomorrow - what do you think?"

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