Why Argue?

Angelism: Tighten your tongue or you will pay the price.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where verbal and physical fighting was non-existent. My parents created an environment for me that was safe, respectful, and peaceful. They were not perfect by any means but the “No fighting” expectation was enforced. My Dad rarely raised his voice and whenever my mom and I disagreed, we would walk away and wait until dad came home to play the mediator. I’m grateful for this sense of calm and structure in my life. I rarely meet people who know how to communicate productively when upset.

People yearn to yell, be right, justify, and judge in a loud, argumentative way to feel better about themselves. Arguing leads to nothing but hurt and pain for both sides. Show me someone who likes to fight and I will show you an unhappy person. People who argue often have huge egos they can’t manage, or are damaged in some way and the fighting is their protective wall to prevent further hurt. Someone who likes to fight will hang up on you, yell and scream at you regardless of who’s around, and walk away from you while screaming, “Eff off!” These fight or flight types blame you for the disagreement, immediately send you nasty emails and texts to continue the argument, and display a variety of emotions when verbally vomiting all over you. They quickly rally a “my side” troop of people to agree and justify their behavior so they don’t look bad or have to feel poorly about themselves.

If you are guilty of the above behavior then you should analyze why you behave so inappropriately in an argument. If you have friends or a mate like this, I wish you luck! There are times where people get heated and passionate about something and there is no other way to express their point of view than to get loud. When you believe strongly on an issue and go the extra mile to stick up for it, then that’s respectable and appropriate. These disagreements are acceptable, however, they should be few and far between. These fights should be shocking and outside of your character norm, not something people come to expect of you. If you have calm in your life and rarely argue then kudos to you.  

With the recent pandemic, 2020 has brought out the ugly in many people. As a country, we are united yet divided. We have job loss, racial injustice, media-madness, homeschooling, and work-from-home. We are being pulled in many directions all while having our normal life limited with constant changes to travel and social restrictions. The frustration within our homes is warranted and is much more difficult to manage at this time. Never forget though that taking your anger out on your loved ones can cause long-term damage. Divorce is on the rise, abuse and suicide are too; we must collect ourselves before engaging in hurtful argumentative interactions especially when those arguments happen around others. Children are genuinely confused about the changes in life, COVID-19 is hard to explain, constantly fighting on top of all this other confusion in life will likely increase their fear and worry.

For all my fighters out there, who argue for the sake of arguing, intentionally disrespectfully drawing attention, or seeking an opportunity to step in and be right so someone else can be wrong, please stop! If you are always in defense mode, I ask, “Are you happy?” Probably not. Get over yourself! Nobody wants to hear your ego’s aggression. Make a goal today to quit being ridiculous. Stop wasting your precious moments constantly trying to prove your point and get digs in on others.

In intimate relationships, do you ever find yourself fighting over the same topic again and again?

For example, do you get mad every day because each night after dinner your husband “forgets” to take out the trash? When he does this, do you go full speed yelling at him about how you do everything and he can’t even take out the trash? What a loser! This is not a good response at all. What you should do is either: (A) embrace the fact that your man is careless, or (B) Make a change that affects him; Say for example that he loves your cooking, tell him, “I have decided I will only cook dinner on the days following your trash run.” If he gets mad, keep your cool, state your point one last time and move on. Your job is to stick to your statement. If he doesn’t take out the trash then you eat your delicious dinner and he can eat his homemade PB&J’s and Top Ramen for as long as he chooses to be unhelpful. Eventually, he will miss you doing things for him. If it seems like he couldn’t care less about taking out the trash, even if it means no home-cooked foods, then know it will never change so stop arguing about it. Everything is give and take. You can’t expect him to change but you can change and set the expectation.  

Most people have high expectations of friends and family and the other person is totally unaware of it. When your emotions and feelings about situations and issues get heated all you should do is express it. Don’t fight. Express your thoughts in a loving, non-confrontational way. It is of no benefit to you, or the other person, to start a screaming match. So much more can be accomplished through calm communication.

Angelism: The best action is to AGREE TO DISAGREE. If we were all alike, our relationships would be boring. The best way to learn, grow, and change, is to recognize your differences, accept them, and move along.

Relationships are successful when you embrace and nurture them instead of slamming the door and running away. The lesson all people should learn from this topic of fighting is: If you are surrounded by people that make you angry, disappoint you, don’t show up for you, or have negative opinions about you, then maybe the arguing is a sign that you need to disconnect. It’s hard for a non-fighter to get along with a fighter. Some people feel more alive picking fights and creating drama. If that’s not you, then a friendship or relationship with that kind of person will not last. Let fighters hang with fighters so they can act ridiculous together. If you have a higher expectation for yourself, then make a goal today to walk away and not engage in arguing.

When and if you do fight, journal it. Anytime you catch yourself getting annoyed and engaging in a discussion that is not addressing or solving an issue ask yourself the following questions:  

1) Why am I mad?

2) Why am I having the thoughts I am having?

3) When did my anger start?

4) Who started the fight?

5) Why could I not stay calm and walk away?

6) What did the other person do to get me to this point? How did I feel?

7) What did I say that I now regret?

8) Is this the first time I am mad about this topic or one of many times?

9) What are my thoughts now that I am calm about the situation?

10) Should I apologize?

11) Can I accept their apology?

12) How can I prevent this kind of fight from happening again?

13) Have things changed that caused this fight?

14) On a level of 1-10 (1: no biggie – 10: you’re dead to me), how bad was this fight?

15) Was I responsible for this fight or did I gossip with others making this person look bad?

16) Can I make a change that will make this situation better for this relationship?  

If fighting is your way of life, the only way to change it is to start within. Take ownership for your part in all arguments. Become aware and work towards creating peace, quality, respect, and love in all your relationships. Life will feel so much sweeter when you surrender the fight!

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