I’ve never been very good at arguments.
My Aries heart flares passionately, my Virgo Moon screams “build up the walls”, and my Libra rising coaxes me into talking it out, attempting to find a solution. Warrior, armed guard, and diplomat rolled into one. I get pulled in a million different directions all at once, my words falter and nothing makes any sense. It’s usually a mess.
As a writer I’ve always been better at sitting down and sorting out my words on paper, carefully weighing each one for the meaning and feeling I wish them to convey. I can take the time to sort out emotions and make sense of things without being misconstrued. However, that’s not always the case when one is faced with an altercation with another. Most of the time we don’t have the luxury of sitting down and coming up with a well thought out speech.
Disagreements are never easy. So how can we learn to fight fair?
Get to the root
Sometimes we have no idea what we’re even arguing about. Take some time to get clear about what it is you’re upset about. We have a tendency to allow everything that is going on in our lives to seep into our conversation, via our feelings and emotions. At times we can also let the past and our expectations of the future creep in. As humans, we are the culmination of our experiences, and if we are dealing with a lot of stress or hardship, this can come into our interactions with others and taint what is authentically meant.
What are you trying to accomplish with the argument?
Are you wanting to be seen? Heard? Understood? Most of the time in disagreements we are wanting the other party to understand where we are coming from and acknowledge our feelings as valid. However, as it often goes in discussions of this nature, the other party may view the airing of these feelings as an attack or personal slight. Prior to engaging, distill down to the root what it is you are wanting to accomplish. Instead of launching a personal attack, be clear, calm and direct about what is bothering you.
Instead of “you never have time for me” or “you’re never here” dig deeper into why you feel the way you do. This can kick up trauma from the past and may need to be sorted out with the help of deep personal work or maybe with the aid a professional. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you need someone to help you sort through things. Our experiences can pile up on us and influence us more than we know and it can take some help to get through it.
Deal with your issues
We all have wounds and fears which influence us. This is NOTHING to be ashamed of, they are the lingering effects of the embodiment we have lived in this lifetime. They stem from our childhood, our connection with our parents, past relationships or even from current relationships. The important part is using these wounds as a magnifying glass into deeper healing and understanding.
Our relationships with others are a powerful mirror into understanding these wounds. When we interact with others, these wounds and fears rise. If we are present and dig into the deeper meaning behind them, we can understand them better.
For example, we might become very upset with another if they are frequently unavailable. They may not answer texts, they may leave without notice, or they may be gone for periods of time. When we sit with the truth of what this brings to the surface, this is an abandonment and worthiness issue. We may believe they are not coming back, they don’t want to spend time with us because we’re not good enough, or imagine scenarios why they aren’t around.
While this could all be a sign of someone who is emotionally unavailable, we need to primarily take responsibility for why we are feeling this way.
We can’t control others, and really we don’t want to. We want to be cherished, understood and loved openly. Take some time to calmly and truthfully explain what you are experiencing. Bringing your open heart to someone you care about and telling them “I feel vulnerable. I am dealing with some fears surrounding abandonment” is very powerful. When we take ownership of our feelings we become empowered. It takes some bravery but it can create a bridge to deeper understanding. This may need to be broached once the argument is over and everyone has cooled down. This can mean we have some exploration and healing to do surrounding this issue which has nothing to do with the other person.
If the behavior is however constant it may be a red flag and something that you can’t live with, it may be something you have to move on from.
Understand that not everyone is always going to understand you or your feelings
We’ve all experienced completely different things while on this planet. No two people perceive anything in the exact same way. This can make it extremely difficult for others to understand where we are coming from at times. This can prove to be an issue when there are disagreements with others and add extra stress to things as we try to explain our position.
Understand that your feelings are valid even if they are not understood. They offer insight into what is present for you, which can aid in healing and transformation. However this is an inside job and not something that can be done by another. We need to allow that we are the ones that have to decipher how we feel and what that means.
However, if you are expressing your truth and feeling to another and being shut down, this is a red flag. If this is something that is constantly occurring, this may not be someone that you can open up to. This may be because of their own wounding and experiences, which are theirs to deal with.
Avoid making others responsible for how you feel
We have to be responsible for how we are feeling. Period. Though the actions of others bring our feelings to the surface, we are the only ones who can ultimately shepherd them. By taking ownership of our feelings, we take back the reins and gain insight into our own embodiment on the planet.
Leave the names out of it
Name calling is not going to help anyone. This can be anything from derogatory insults to mean spirited names. Avoid using negative descriptive words as well. Things like “you’re dramatic” or “you’re crazy” may attempt to convey the frustration that one is feeling in the heat of the moment, but they carry weight as all words do. These add fuel to the fire in a bad way bringing another facet to defend for the named. It can also be a deflective attempt by the one throwing the words around to try to shift focus away from them or the argument itself by seeding doubt or blame. It may be unconscious, but it can be hard to deal with nonetheless.
If the person you are arguing with resorts to name calling, try not to engage with a rebuttal of a similar manner. This is just going to turn things into a mud slinging match which does nothing to solve the issues that are sparking the disagreement and it adds a whole lot more hurt on top of things which are taken to heart and linger long after the argument is over. Step away from the altercation and return to the conversation when things have cooled down.
Avoid immovable words
Words such as always, never, consistently indicate that it is something immovable and that it is literally the only way that things unfold. Unless this is actually the case, don’t bring them into the conversation as they indicate that there is a finite way things occur which can cause everyone to get their backs up against the wall.
It’s not always the right time to engage someone else in a deep dive into the heart of important matters. Sometimes because of what we are experiencing in our own lives, it can be difficult to have a meaningful discussion as to the issues that are rising. Explain that there are some things that you would like to discuss and you are open to selecting a time which works for the both of you to converse about these things. If they are not open to setting a time to talk, this is a red flag.
See the other side of the coin
Trying to see the other side of the argument can take some practice, but by opening and understanding a bridge can be built over the chasm of the disagreement creating some common ground. This does not however mean sacrificing your boundaries or being bullied into dropping something that is important to you.
Be aware of abuse
If you are being subjected to verbal or physical abuse, don’t stay in the conversation or situation. Get out. Things like gaslighting, manipulation or games are also forms of abuse. Put some distance in these scenario and reach out to the proper channels to get the help that is needed. No one deserves to be treated like that.
What if the other party will not be present?
If you bring how you feel to someone you care about and you are met with derision, ridicule, evasion or games instead of understanding, you need to ask yourself if this is something you want to continue. While it is not the responsibility of others to solve our issues, if you are bringing your feelings authentically to someone you care for and being denied a safe place of expression, it’s not a good thing. It closes doors, builds walls and causes rifts to form. If you cannot be open to another and be seen and heard, this is a problem. They likely have wounds and issues surrounding their own feelings, vulnerability and connection. Pay attention to the red flags. Again these issues are not ours to solve, but being aware of them can help our own healing.
Conflict can be a gateway to solution.
We’re not here to live a perfect existence where nothing ever goes wrong. Through our experiences and interactions we are offered the ability to expand and grow. How we confront disagreement dictates how these relationships evolve. We have a choice in the matter and decide how we move things forward; either in a healthy direction or in one that closes the doors of the heart.