Monday, July 2, 2007

Relationship Disputes

 I am so disappointed, sad, upset, or angry with you. This is usually the opening salvo of a fight at worse or at minimum of placing blame on you as the cause of a problem.

This common practice of placing the other person as the cause of the problem then gives us the superior position of being the person wronged. We then perceive that we have the power in the dispute; that is, we will determine the acceptability of their response. Only we can decide that it is finished when we are satisfied.

Now we have a power struggle where the other party has to defend themselves by possibly dragging up other issues that prove they were right in their actions. Now it is about who is right and no longer about the original issue.

Much like a war the ending may leave one of the parties feeling victimized and ready at a moments notice to resume the argument whenever they feel they have more ammunition. It festers and colors the whole relationship.

Is there a better way?

What if instead of placing blame we were to say that our relationship has a problem we jointly need to resolve. By making it our problem and our solution we take away blame and who is right from the equation. After all isn't it about solving the problem rather than starting a war.

Do you think this is possible? Your thoughts?

22 conversations:

Jennifer said...

I think this is true, but to a point. I have issues with my husband sometimes because he always comes to me and tells me all the crap he does wrong, so he can get the "awww, it's okay mess" before I launch him.

Brad K. said...

Talking about problems instead of the people with the problem? that would take practice.

A confrontation usually starts with the originator already holding an unstated ultimatum, that the opponent is expected to meet whether the ultimatum gets stated or not. That kind of unseen agenda would have to go.

By starting out in a position of power, the originator get to specify whether to accept the proposed solution, the originator determines who is right or wrong. If we start out together looking for an answer, we both have to be ready to accept something less than what we want in the solution. That can be rare, with more than one person involved.

How well did this work in your house?

Akelamalu said...

I popped over from Rising Blogger to say congratulations on your award and read your winning post - I'm glad I did!

I agree with you totally.

Peter Haslam said...

Well Jennifer it is better than war :)But I do understand your point

Peter Haslam said...

Brad I have to admit that I still have a problem with this. I have however found myself on several occassions stopping and reframing it by laughing about how seriously I was taking myself. Outside of home it is easier to do.

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you akelamalu for letting me know I will check it out.

Camille said...

Telling the other person how you feel is generally a good place to start, if both parties already have a good reputation for taking responsibility for their own feelings and not the other person's. But if there is going to be some confusion that might lead to the misunderstanding that the person stating their feelings, whether they be happy or unhappy, then a discussion about that might need to happen first. For example... a wife tells her husband "I feel lousy (unhappy, sad, etc) when you don't do the things you say you are going to do." or a man says to his girlfriend/wife "It makes me feel that you don't trust me (therefore sad, disappointed, unhappy) when you ask repeatedly for something I've already said I would do." Telling the other person how you feel instead of stating "you make me feel" opens the door to more discussion that is without blame and with many avenues for possible resolution.

:) My two cents

Camille

Jennifer said...

Hi Peter....

This is Jen from Goodness Graciousness! (smile)

All I can say is...

Would you please run for President?

LOL!

JJ

Peter Haslam said...

good point about feeling Camille

Peter Haslam said...

Jennifer i can't as i am Canadian :)

empress bee (of the high sea) said...

i guess it depends on how mad i am! ha ha

seriously we don't argue. life is too short. we used to though, boy-o!

smiles, bee

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh! and congratulations on your award! well deserved...

smiles, bee

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you Bee appreciated and I am not surprised that you and sarge have a solid relationship

Linda said...

Stopped by via The Rising Blogger to say congratulations on your award. This is an excellent post and should be on every married couple's refrigerator in plain view. Well, take out the "married" part and just put in every couple's refrigerator!

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you Linda for adding to the conversation. This is something I wish I had understood long ago

Comedy + said...

My honey and I rarely have words about anything negative. You are right though. I liked your angle here.

Peter Haslam said...

Good to hear and not surprising Sandee

erp said...

this topic probably hard to discuss and get the result.it depends at the attitude of someone for sure

garth anthony said...

Arguments can start over nothing,how many times have you had an argument and then afterwards think back and you are not sure what started it or why,it just escalates so quickly!

monterey foreclosures said...

Communication is the key to every relationship, without it they are doomed to fail. As for disputes, if you really care about that particular person you just have to adjust to them sometimes, the love that you have for the other person is more important than winning an argument.

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