When you are arguing with your spouse, chances are, you are really trying to get a need met. Maybe it's that you want to feel heard, and you want your spouse to understand your perspective. However, the way you've been going about it might be sabotaging your relationship, perhaps your spouse gets defensive, and the two of you end up going around in circles. The reality is -- your deep down ultimate goal is not to actually win the argument, but to feel heard and understood.
Below are 5 ways that you could be sabotaging your relationship. Couples often get caught up in in these losing strategies when trying to get their point across... Or rather, get a need met.
The 5 Losing Strategies That Could Be Sabotaging Your Relationship
1. The need to be “right”
- Objective reality has no place in close personal relationships. “Who’s right and who’s wrong is who cares?!” You have a bottom line choice: “You can be right, or you can be married”
- Being right often turns into “righteous indignation”, which is toxic in relationships. If you’re mad say “I’m mad” not “you’re bad”
- Being right is not the goal. Finding a solution is, and when you are stuck on being right you are not seeking a solution
2. Controlling your partner
- Attempts can be direct or indirect (manipulation). "If only you would do [fill in the blank], we'd be fine", "You know, if you really loved me you would [fill in the blank]", "Honey, what you need to do is [fill in the blank]", etc.
- People don’t like being controlled. Payback is inevitable
3. Unbridled self-expression
- Having no filter. “I have the right and the need to share my feelings with you ‘spontaneously’”.
- The idea that all sharing is authentic and will increase closeness. You can vent, or you can move toward a solution.
- This rarely engenders generosity in others
- Trying to “make you feel what I feel”.
- Can also be direct or indirect. Passive aggression
- Direct: you say or do something nasty
- Indirect: you don’t say or do something you should (withholding)
- The underlying dynamic of retaliation is “offending from the victim position” (i.e. you hit me, so I get to hit you back harder and stronger)
- Almost all perpetrators see themselves as victims
- Withdrawal from either the whole relationship, or specific aspectsWithdrawal causes one or more of the 5 areas of intimacy to dry up: intellectual, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual
- Withdrawal is different than responsible distance taking
Have you been caught up in a losing strategy? Or, not sure what your dominant losing strategy is?
Here is an exercise to find out what your losing strategy profile looks like:
Journal about a recent fight, detailing, as much as possible, the escalation, and notice which of the losing strategies do you notice.
......check out the 5 winning strategies and what you do want to say in order to get your needs met.
*This information was taken from one of my most favorite books: "The New Rules of Marriage" by, Terrence Real.