One of the things most couples struggle with is how to argue well. In fact, I think it’s the leading cause of relationships failing.
Think about it… how many times have you come through an argument – dealing with the discomfort of being vulnerable and honest, speaking (or even crying or screaming!) your truth… and create greater love and understanding between the two of you?
Instead, most arguments end up with a winner or loser (temporarily), passive aggressive behavior (like retreating in shame), a non-apology (“e.g. I’m sorry that you got mad for something so small – I won’t do it again”), or a gradual loss in trust and understanding.
In such a state, we feel like we can’t be our full selves with our partner – that they don’t understand us, and we don’t feel safe bringing up things that bother us. We feel unsafe in the relationship. This is the same case with men. Think about it. How many women (or men) do you know who argue well? What about your parents? Or how you argued, in past relationships?
And this creates loss in emotional connection and repressed emotions… which may to infidelity, depression or anxiety.
As a Love Goddess, it is your prerogative and birthright to learn how to argue well – at home or at work.
In fact, the best time to learn these skills, is when you’re single! In a relationship, it gets really tough to face our deepest fear of being rejected by the masculine by speaking our truth – and we swing between being a Doormat or Bitch.
Healthy communication skills is the #1 factor for happiness and fulfillment in a relationship.
But first, let me dispel some myths about arguing:
1. To argue is to be violent or cruel: Not true. If you argue from a place of compassion and self-awareness, then an argument can be a healthy way to create discussion around things you deeply care about.
2. Women who argue are drama queens, scary or are not worthy of being in a healthy relationship: Not true. Unfortunately, we have been living in a patriarchal system in which women are domesticated to be compliant or considered dangerous for being self expressed or emotional. In fact, arguing in a healthy way is a strength that women can bring – opening our men’s hearts and minds – and consciously creating a better way of living and being together.
Here’s the interesting thing: women who are fully-expressed, fiercely loving and passionate are a turn-on for the Strong, Sacred men. A real man will want to be a woman who is considered a ‘rabble rouser’ because he knows she is fighting for creating True Love and Understanding.
The truth is, subconsciously, men are deeply afraid of being rejected by the feminine and struggle with shame, and are always shielding and protecting themselves from being hurt – which is why we have created a system to control women’s self-expression.
As Love Goddesses, we need to transform our relationship with men – helping men feel trusted, safe and respected, especially when we argue.
So how do we begin the process of learning to argue well? Is it an art, or a science, or both? Is it something that we were born with or learned?
The reality is, Communication Skills is a relatively new art, and one that isn’t taught in schools or our homes. Most of us have grown up in homes where our parents’ either had bad arguments or avoided it altogether.
Keys to arguing well:
1. Learn how to hold space for your own emotions in a conscious way: If you don’t know healthy ways of of dealing with your emotions, then you will be leaning on your relationship to create that container – which is unfair (and even hurtful) to your partner. You must first develop Emotional Mastery in order to create the foundation for healthy communication.
2. Speak about your own feelings and needs, and make a request: Most of us have learned how to intellectualize or rationalize while arguing. In fact, being logical is what makes us argue from our minds, rather than our hearts – and is rarely transformational or healing. Or we make the other person feel ‘wrong’.
“I feel you never call me – and I’m always the one checking up on you. Promise me that you’ll call when you say you will!”
…could be turned into:
“When you didn’t call me today, I felt hurt and disconnected, and even angry. I really value connection and partnership. Would it be possible for you to call me at least once a day? I would love to hear from you – you matter to me.”
The first statement makes a sweeping generalization about the others’ behavior and makes them feel like they’re always wrong. It can push the other person away.
In the second statement, you own your own emotions and needs and don’t blame the other person. You make a request from a place of vulnerability – they could say no to you – and that’s ok. You help them feel like they are safe and belong, even if you felt hurt by their behavior.
Again – the foundation for making requests, and holding space for another person’s experience and emotional needs, is a skill – and the basis is Self Empathy – which I teach in my Be a Love Magnet program.
3. Practice mindfulness and meditation: A lot of us argue when we’re triggered and our triggers come from accumulated, unconscious wounds. As Eckhart Tolle says – it’s our Painbody that’s reacting. When we argue from this place, we only create more pain and suffering in our relationships.
It’s important for you to begin to create a space between your stimulus and response – so that you come from a place of greater wisdom and compassion when you’re arguing. You’re not just reacting to the situation, and you’re choosing more skillful means of expressing yourself. I find that Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to calm our Painbody and reptilian brain and make us less reactive and unnecessarily hurtful when we argue.
Also, if you struggle with panic or anxiety, meditation and mindfulness is vital to calm your mind (and parasympathetic nerves), so that you can function with greater presence in your relationships, even if you’re triggered.
4. Release your emotional and spiritual blocks: When we harbor subconscious fears and unhealthy beliefs in our body, we are likely to attract and create painful patterns. For instance, before I began my healing journey, I used to attract men (at work and in dating) who would repress my emotions, call me crazy, sexually harass me, or threaten me. Yes – this happened! As it turns out, I had blocks and beliefs around my self worth, my femininity and a subconscious lack of trust in men amongst many others – which triggered unhealthy patterns.
Truth be told, I used to cause pain to the women and men in my life – by saying mean things, controlling people and engaging in passive aggressive behaviors – because of these blocks.
5. Learn communication skills: In my mind, this is a prerequisite for anyone looking to enter a relationship. Enough said.
Books/resources that can help:
- Nonviolent Communication A Language of Life (the book) and The Center for Nonviolent Communication: The founder and author, Marshall Rosenberg, has created a revolution in how we communicate in a healthy way. My clients have loved learning about these techniques, both through my coaching and following through with their programs – and have found it transformational for their dating and budding relationships.
- The Art of Communicating and True Love By Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen monk who teaches us how to bring mindfulness and communication skills into our relationships
- Landmark Education: This transformational program, offered worldwide, will change how you think of your pain and the relationships you create. You will walk out of it with a whole new set of possibilities and an open heart!
6. Work 1-1 with a love/life/relationship coach.
If you have experienced painful relationship patterns such as dating a narcissist or emotionally unavailable man, or have experienced continued heartbreak – then seeking 1-1 support with a Relationship Coach or a therapist is the most effective option.
Rewiring for healthy love, and learning relationship and communication skills – based on what YOU need – is a vulnerable and deeply sacred journey.
Dating and relationships can be filled with anxiety and miscommunication, and without the right support, you can become disheartened, hurt or even depressed.
A coach believes in your greatest potential, and won’t let your negative thoughts get in the way. He/she will help you face your inner demons and keep you on the path to success through skills and mentoring.
Here’s to creating healthy, fulfilling relationships in your life.