Why do some arguments never end? Why do you need to win? Why do you just have to get the other person to see it your way? These are the very things that keep many couples caught in endless, and senseless battles. It eventually makes us associate our loved one with conflict and negativity as it slowly erodes the love we have for one another – but why do we keep on fighting?
When an argument won’t stop it is due to our enmeshment with the other person. We need the other person to see things our way or to think or feel a certain way about us. Without their agreement, we feel unsettled, uncomfortable, and on edge. We try to relieve our discomfort by approaching with different arguments. We try our cases in our heads, in the car, in the shower, over text, through our friends and family. We keep introducing more and more evidence and arguments trying to win our case until we are exhausted! All in an effort to get the other person to see it our way.
Here are 2 areas to explore when the argument to keeps going . . .
#1: What feelings are you trying to avoid? Why do you need the other person to agree with you so badly? Ask your self the question, “What will I feel if I just let them have their perspective?” Then take it a step further. Let’s say, “They will think I am wrong.” Alright, but what then? Well, “Then they will feel superior over me.” Ouch. But then what? “They will think I’m less of a person.” Yuck. But what then? “Well, they won’t like me.” Hmmm. What’s next? “Well, they won’t love me and they will leave me, which means I will be alone.” Uh-oh.
#2: What outcome are you trying to control? If you let the other person have their belief, opinion, or viewpoint what does that mean for your life? If the argument is over a fundamental issue in the relationship, like your partner doing something that is unacceptable to you or you not feeling loved enough, what are you afraid is going to happen? Most of us are afraid that if we let the other person have their perspective, then we will either have to A) accept unacceptable things in the relationship, or B) get out of the relationship. But what if I don’t want to end the relationship? Then my only other choice is to fight to get my partner to see things my way because both options are unacceptable to me!
Although most of us are not in touch with it, these deeper fears are what we are really fighting about! We are trying to control both how the other person feels about us and get the outcome that we want in the relationship. But since we are unaware of what is under the surface, both our self-esteem and our primary source for human connection are at stake whenever we have argument!
When you feel the angst of needing to get your partner to see things your way, I encourage you to stop and look a little deeper. When you find out what is really going on underneath and address it directly, you might start making some headway and in the process realize the only person you were fighting with was yourself!