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 mom and dad created an environment for me that was safe, respectful and peaceful – the best gifts parents can give to a child. They were not perfect by any means but the “No fighting” expectation was enforced. My Dad never raised his voice and whenever my mom and I disagreed, we would walk away 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 when upset. People have a need to yell, be right, justify and judge in a loud, argumentative way in order 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. 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 with a hand in the air shouting “Eff off!” In turn these fight or flight people 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 on you. This kind of person will quickly rally a “my side” troop of people to agree and justify their behavior so they don’t look crazy and so they feel better about themselves. If you have done this before, possibly numerous times, then you need to 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 your character, not common for you. If you have calm in your life and rarely argue then KUDOS to you.
Now for all my fighters out there; all of you who argue for the sake of arguing, intentionally draw attention in a disrespectful manner, or seek that need inside to be right – “Stop it!” If you are often in defense mode, I ask, “Are you truly happy?” Probably not. Get over yourself! Nobody wants to hear it so stop the aggression. Make a goal today to quit being ridiculous while wasting your precious moments constantly trying to prove your point. No need to take out your unhappiness on others.
I often hear women discussing how they got in another fight with their man. Do you ever find yourself fighting over the same topic again and again? Ladies, either you stand firm on an issue and expect a change or you surrender the need to argue about it and simply accept him for who he is. For example, do you get mad every day because each night after dinner he “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! You either need to, (A) embrace the fact that your man is careless and make a change that effects him in the hopes that he will change, or (B), if you are always sacrificing for him, then take one or two things away that you know he loves. Say for example that he loves your cooking. Tell him, “I have decided I will only cook dinner on the days you take out the trash. I’m feeling resentful about your lack of participation and this will make me feel better about doing things for you.” 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 thing 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 with his no favorite foods punishment, then know it will never change so stop arguing about it. Everything is always a give and take. You can’t expect him to change but you can change and set the expectation.
There is also plenty of fighting between friends and family. Most people have high expectations from friends and family that they are unaware of. 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. The biggest lesson 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 and accept them. A good friend will stick with you regardless of your disagreements. A fake friend will not. A true friend will be honest about how they are feeling. A disconnected friend will walk away from you and never look back. As for family, just because you are related does not mean you will get along. You must talk things out and have a large window of forgiveness and understanding. 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 of your need to disconnect yourself from them. It’s hard for a non-fighter to get along with a fighter. Some people feel more alive picking fights and creating drama, which is great for them. 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 fight less. When you do fight, journal it. Anytime you catch yourself getting annoyed and engaging in a discussion that is not addressing or solving an issue you must be in the moment and have full mental awareness. 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 regret?
8) Is this the first time I am mad about this topic or one of the 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?
14) On a level of 1-10 (1 = no biggie, 10 = divorce) how bad was this fight?
15) Was I responsible with 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 the relationship?
These are questions you can answer and log in a journal so you can become more aware of your fighting behavior. For some of you, this topic may not be an issue. But for many, fighting is a way of life. The only way to change this is to make the change within yourself. Take ownership for your part in fights. Become aware and establish peace, quality and love in all your relationships.