How you argue reveals so much. It reveals how stuck we can be in unhelpful ways of communicating.

Firstly – we have the same argument over and over again. We are in the habit of arguing. We will habitually notice certain things, habitually think certain things and habitually interpret what is going on a certain way.

When things are habitual they are automatic. So we don’t have to think too deeply about our arguments, we don’t try new things, we react automatically. We rehash the same unhelpful reactions. We need to work on consciously realising what we’re doing and what needs to change and to do things differently.

We also *look* for the hurts. We are ready, primed and waiting for the next let down or disappointment. That may be part of what’s happening but we focus on that as if it is the only thing. We miss what our partner might be doing – because if it’s not what we want, how we want, when we want, it’s as if it doesn’t exist.

We only see the upset – and have the whole reaction and script to go with it. This is not helpful. So much of couple’s therapy is about bringing balance to how we view what is happening in the relationship. We can look at the relationship as only negative. And we can make our partners the enemy.

“Couples jostle for the victim position,” says Terry Real. Everyone wants the other person to be the bad guy. Sometimes we can be emotionally invested in this, so we are the ‘hard done by’ one. We are on the defence and need to protect ourselves at all costs… and things can become very distorted.

Our hearts harden and the door is closed within us. We are withholding – we’re waiting for the other person to make it up/apologise/repent… lacking insight into what *we* are putting out into the relationship. Sometimes it's a message of “I kind of hate you”.

I want us to show up in our relationships with love in our hearts. To stay open. All too often our hearts close and we wall ourselves off.

The Mistakes We Make When We Argue

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