Sunday, July 27, 2008


I am not altogether comfortable with arguments but have got to a healthy place with conflict (most days anyway).

When I was growing up my folks never fought - they just didn't speak to each other for days. I remember my absolute shock when I physically yelled at John for the first time and the world didn't end. Yes he yelled back and shortly afterwards the situation was resolved. But anger was ok, and even felt healthy.

As time passed we developed some "Rules for Fighting" (not that they were ever 'fights', just periodic disagreements, or things that needed to be said that might not make the other person happy - you know what I mean). They worked really well until he began to lose his memory lol.

  1. Know exactly what you’re upset about - "you are a bastard" is not a starting point
  2. Stick to the current subject only
  3. Say how you feel, say what you need and if you have something to say, then say it but use respect
  4. Take responsibility - not everything is his/her fault
  5. Own your own feelings - this means starting sentences with ‘I feel’, not ‘you make me feel’
  6. Don’t talk each other down
  7. Don’t bring up past fights - it is low and a waste of time
  8. Have a time out to think if you want (or need to)
  9. Listen to what the other person is saying
  10. Know that this is not the end of the world
It was a really healthy thing for us to do, and worked really well. And I realize that most people I know kinda stick to something like this list.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that a friend doesn't play these rules - not that we ever discussed them, I just took it for granted being that most everyone else plays by them. Old stuff was brought up, there were lots of 'you' statements, talking down seems to be the norm. I realize how ridiculous it is trying to have a conversation to resolve things - ears are shut, defence mechanisms are waaay up, and yes, everything is my fault.

Funny thing is that I was suggesting we spend less time together - and this is a very easy way to make sure it happens lol.


Alison said...

ROFL @ number 1!!!!!
Seriously though, these are excellent points and I would have thought they were fairly well known and respected, too.
I guess we can only be responsible for ourselves and our own actions, like numbers 4 and 5.
Still - it always shocks me when people don't behave the way I want them to. lol

kyles said...

i love your rules, but i don't think i'd be rational enough in the middle of an arguement to actually use them...smiles...i hope they work for you though and everything works out ok xo

Mountaingirl said...

It is pretty easy Kyles - work out exactly what you are upset about, stick to that and treat each other with respect - the rest all come into that somewhere. And if you are having trouble sticking to that, take a time out, have a think, calm down and take it from there.

And yes everything will work out - and in the meantime the world is still turning; I am not upset, offended or angry; and some time apart was obviously necessary, and will therefore be useful.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm Bells father and I were both in welfare our arguements were ..."When you... I feel' oh yeah ..Well when you...I feel' we never got past that point...

Josef and I have passionate arguements, preceeded by 24hrs of silence and door banging, then we explode, with lots of Italian hand gestures and F*ck you! Then I usually burst into tears, and he says, Oh Jesus mum (with sigh)...and lots of cuddles. Not for the timid! Probably not your text book way of doing things, but it works for us. Poor Victoria, shes so quiet and Bear and I can be so electric but I work on 'if your angry then vent and Josef knows he can with no harm...Id rather that than my child be emotionally repressed.

I say chuck the rule book out since he hasnt read it and get down and fight dirty... Slam him with some home truths, you statements whatever. At the very least you will have vented and due to your passion it may click that you indeed feel strongly about what is going down.

You are a bastard, while I agree not a good starting point can be a damn fine ending one...

Mountaingirl said...

I could do Abz, or I could just get on with my day. I have blogging to do, paintings to plan, dancing (always dancing), sleep to have ... well the list just goes on really :-)

And besides, I think it would be like hitting a brick wall with my head at the moment anyway - not worth the effort however you look at it lol

Tinoneetiger said...

I think arguing with friends the hardest as you do love them and want the best. Im awful at it, I will run a million miles to avoid loud words. Friends should also respect you and not harm you but I agree if your the only one using fair play its pointless

Indigo-Daisy said...

Love your rules, but I would never remember them in the middle of an argument. In the beginning of our relationship we had a lot of arguments, I would say the culture difference played a big part. Now we have one once in a while, but I don't waste a lot of energy on it, just let him blow steam and say "you need to go for awhile, I don't have the energy for this".