Donna Barnes, Life and Relationship Coach, Heartbreak Coach, and Founder of Donna Barnes Dating, offers ways to make your relationships healthier and, more importantly, how to tell when things have gone bad. She is a regular guest on Good Morning America, and Nightline, she was an expert for three season's on ABC's What Would You Do? series, and numerous other television programs. Donna is the author of Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships, the first book in the Relationship Recipes series.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
How to Fight Fair
Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? Ask yourself that the next time you find yourself digging in your heels in an argument. What are you really trying to get? Too many of us get caught up in the fight of needing to win, which translates into not wanting to be wrong. But at what cost?
Rules for a Healthy Food Fight
1) When you feel enraged, don’t say anything! Take a few deep breaths and slowly count to five. It will give the more reasoning part of your brain time to kick in. Listen to it! If you can’t control your temper, then tell your partner you need to take a break so you can calm down. Take a walk around the block or postpone the conversation until another day when you can respond rationally.
2) Never say mean and hurtful things in a moment of anger. You can say a thousand nice things, but a single insult will be remembered forever. Once it’s said, you can never take it back. True love means never wanting to hurt your partner!
3) Never use sensitive and personal information as ammunition. It’s a violation of emotional intimacy. Thingsthat your partner shared with you in a loving, tender moment have no place in a fight. That’s hitting below the belt and a sure way to lose your partner’s trust—perhaps even turn him or her against you.
4) Don’t bring up any past issues. The past is in the past; learn from it and move on. If you can’t agree on or make a compromise over a specific issue that isn’t a relationship deal-breaker, then you need to agree to disagree. That means you respect each other’s position (and boundaries) and accept what it is. Then put it to rest. Do not bring it up again unless it’s to tell your partner you’ve changed your mind and you now agree. Relationships have to advance; otherwise, they die. Keep your relationship in the present and growing forward.
5) Fight for happiness, not to be right. The only winner of a fight should be your relationship. It’s much easier to say “I’m sorry” than it is to defend yourself. It’s also more endearing. You’re much more lovable when you accept responsibility for your actions and be humble. Your goal is not just to make yourself happy, but to also make your partner happy. It will make your relationship better.
6) You never get nagging rights. You have to forgive or get out. If he did something (or won’t do something) that you can’t get past, then you have to leave the relationship. You cannot beat him up about it if you choose to stay. You have to forgive and move forward or successfully agree to disagree.
7) Don’t suppress your anger. Depression is anger turned inward. You have to express your anger to relieve it and feel better. If you hold everything inside, you become a potential pressure cooker. The anger will build until you ultimately explode on your unsuspecting partner. Or you’ll make yourself sick. You’ll become passive-aggressive (meaning that though your words seem friendly, your actions are not). Use your communication tools to let your partner know what’s making you angry. She can’t help you if she doesn’t know what it is.