by Robert Allen
Sometimes arguments just happen. And in those moments, anger can flare.
Voices are raised. Postures are struck. Positions are held.
Of course this never solves anything.
Men have a tendency to strike threatening postures and assume hostile stances when sparked to anger. It’s fight or flight in it’s most aggressive form, projected outward, to the one you love.
And this lacks respect.
Or, men close down, finding anger and the accompanying emotions too overwhelming.
And sometimes, men just want to be right, at any cost.
To avoid falling into argument, the answer is clear communication and assertiveness. Psychologists Harry Mills and Mark Dombeck say that to be assertive is to communicate respect for yourself and for whom you are communicating with at the same time.
You’ll become more honest in your interactions by using assertiveness skills (as opposed to aggression). It takes practice, but in time healthy assertion can become your natural response.
When your temper flairs during an argument, here’s a list of a few do’s and don’t's to get you through disagreements with your mate:
DO Breathe Deeply
It’s the old standard, breathe in and out slowly with full breaths until your mind calms. In moments of high emotion, oxygen to the brain is your friend. If you don’t believe it, try it.
DO Think Clearly
Now that you’ve calmed yourself, stop and use your head: Why am I angry? Why do I feel out of control? Do I really want to hurt my mate or dismiss her feelings? What’s my part in this disagreement?
Stay relaxed and allow clarity.
DO Act Appropriately
Now it’s time to problem solve, regroup, reframe, allay the anger, and work toward agreement. Let the outcome be positive understanding, not resentment.
DON’T Close Down
Don’t do that guy thing and get cold, walk away, or otherwise end the argument passively. Stay engaged, and be part of the problem solving.
DON’T Act Aggressively
Aggressive posturing and raising your voice is threatening and disrespectful. All you’ll earn is distrust, not agreement. Don’t do it.
Don’t name call, don’t blame, don’t insult. Use sentences that begin with “I”, not “you.” Gain clarity before negative emotions make you say things you’ll regret.
Using the skills above, arguments can be cooled. And possibly avoided.
And that’s good for you both.
About the Author:
Robert Allen is a writer, daddy to two amazing girls, and husband to his devoted wife, Lasára.