I don't really believe that anyone likes confrontation, but we've all gotten into one at some point or another. Whether your employer blamed you for a shortcoming or a client accused you of poor customer service, we have to admit–it can be an ugly experience. When any two people from different walks of life come together, there is bound to be some friction at some point in time but conflict and confrontation aren't necessarily synonymous. In fact, they can be the very thing that strengthens a relationship if both parties are able to come to an understanding of the matter at hand.
A perfect example of this would be, you thinking the sky is navy and sis saying it's indigo. Your individual perspectives aren't as important as your abilities to see things from another angle and consider that perhaps neither opinion is wrong. You both gain a deeper understanding of one another thus improving your communication and the disagreement. You chose to fight, the right way, instead of taking flight. You're in fact stronger because of it. When we act out of character and act on our impulses, that's when things can go awry. Now you're yelling over each other, speaking out the side of your neck with your claws in each other's faces and no one feels heard, understood or respected.
Let's try a more intimate relationship like a lover. How does it feel going toe to toe with your life partner? You know we can be a bit vile when our feelings are hurt, ladies. If we're completely honest, we can resort to throwing verbal blows by way of roast wars that attack everything from his pockets to his self-esteem. I'm talking about the man whom you vowed to protect from the evil perils of the world and vice versa.
What good comes from going off script and spewing hateful nothings to a friend that you once split your last $10 with as teenagers? The one you called that time those girls were picking on you and she rolled up in 5-4-3! These are completely rhetorical questions because if you've lived a little, you know that nothing is to be gained from getting the last word. When you go home and replay the arguments as an evolved adult, you probably cringe at how low you allowed yourself to go. You may wish that the words hadn't come out that way or that you had more tact in your delivery. I've been there and, like most things in life, there's always room for improvement. What didn't kill you will make you stronger. I had to say it.
I'm kinda, sorta obsessed with Black Love, the doc. It's one of the few shows that feed my dreams of one day finding my equally yoked, let's fight right, we don't go to bed mad, etc. etc. But when I first got into the show, I was quickly made aware that I didn't know how to fight like these married folk did. I belittled both friends and emasculated lovers when pushed to the edge or disrespected. I would make painful jabs at their weak points. As an avid reader and eloquent writer, my words have always been my weapon of choice.
Overall, I was a mild-mannered young lady but when I let things bottle up (mistake #1), I would snap without warning. Because I felt my pain was valid, that to me meant that the anger was also valid and that whoever was on the receiving end deserved however I decided to lash out (mistake #2).
I'd like to say that the last screaming match I got into was a few years ago. It was a heated argument after a funeral and the last time that I allowed that part of myself, the part that I've been actively healing, to relapse. If what you've been doing thus far has been working for you––the paragraph texts, subliminal memes, and silent treatments––stop here. The rest won't serve you any good.
If you're ready to take accountability and check yoself' at the same time, let's talk about 3 principles of fighting right.
Think Before You Speak
Somewhere in between high school and adulting, we forgot this fundamental unwritten rule. That moment, where you pause to assess the matter, is where you insert the woosah. The moment of stillness where you figure out why you feel the way you do. This is where you find clarity. Clarity on how you choose to react to a situation and to plot your course of action. Did it upset you when your girlfriend did that stupid voice she does when there are guys around and aired out your personal business? Of course. But calling her out in front of everyone might have added fuel to the fire.
Deciding to take some time to call her and talk about it the next day might be a better choice. Especially since she would loan you the shirt off your back before you even had to ask. Sometimes good people do silly things.
I don't remember where I first discovered this concept but I immediately knew that whatever tact was, it sounded good and I could use a few servings. Tact is to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. It's not as bad as it sounds. Let me give you a scenario: You just found out that your husband lost his job. Only thing is he was laid off two weeks ago and has been leaving every morning and returning at the usual time every night. Which course of action do you think will encourage your husband to be open and vulnerable with you?
"So, you know that it's Christmas in two months and you have the *insert expletives* nerve to be acting like you have a *insert expletives* job? I knew your trifling ass didn't have the balls to tell me!" or "Babe, can we talk for a minute? I just heard a voicemail from your boss. Why didn't you feel you could be honest with me? What happened?"
I'm giggling typing this out because old me? Let's just thank the big man upstairs for growth!
Remember That You're Fighting The Problem Itself, Not Each Other
In a relationship of any sort, you walk together. You're on the ship together. Therefore, when a problem arises, if your collective mindset is how are we going to cross this together, your entire approach to the problem shifts. You're now in a problem-solving mood. The focus shifts from telling each other about themselves, where to go and how to get there to how do we move forward together? Deciding to attack the giant together already dictates your speech and demeanor. Granted, there are and will be many times that the relationship won't be worth fighting for. Lines may have been crossed and the trust subsequently shattered. Nonetheless, I implore you to exercise rules 1 & 2. It's truly for your own peace of mind.
If I could go back and redo a few situations, I would. It's not that I hope for a different outcome. It's that I frown on my conduct or my inability to tuck my heart in and take it off my sleeve.
I'm a deep-feeling, overly-analytical empath and that combination didn't always help when it came to fighting right. As a victim of sex abuse at a young age, I put up a tough demeanor as a coping mechanism. It was my way of saying, "He might have won that fight, but none of y'all are going to eff with me again" but if you approach every situation like they're all out to get you, you'll convince yourself it's the truth.
Your mind, your experiences and your outlook can truly make a mountain out of a molehill. Change the narrative. Too often, we talk about wanting to be chosen by the people that matter in our lives. Yes, you're an obviously easy choice when things are going your way, but when the going gets tough and your character is put to the test...would you choose you? Move with integrity, act with intention and be mindful of the moments you feel tempted to choose aggression over peace.
For every action, there is an equal or greater reaction and that's law. Newton's law to be exact.
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