Episode #12: Fighting Fair Techniques for Better Relationships

Greetings, and thank you for being here. As always, today, we are going to talk about fighting fair. Now, if you’re one of those people who gets into the fights and wants to call names or hit below the belt, or just really focus on whoever you’re talking to all their shortcomings and weaknesses. This conversation is for you. Okay, so let’s get right to it. The first thing I want to suggest is that you don’t fear conflict.

Now, why is this important? After all, of course, conflict is generally uncomfortable, either you’re going to be upset or uncomfortable, or the person that you’re talking to is going to be upset or uncomfortable. Why is it important not to fear conflict? Well, because it’s the fear that keeps us stuck in having unhealthy conflict styles. And when we have unhealthy conflict styles, it makes the discomfort even more uncomfortable. The reality of it is, is if you’re upset with someone or someone is upset with you, neither one of you is going to be very comfortable anyway. So fearing it is only going to add to the discomfort and make any type of confrontation, or any type of effort to resolve the conflict that much more challenging.

So please, by all means, whatever you do, don’t fear the conflict, because that’s going to only make it worse. Remember to attack the issue at hand, not the other person. It’s easy to think that because a person might not do what you want them to do, that they are the ones who are at fault. Sometimes you’re at fault. Let’s take into consideration. Maybe your expectations are unreasonable. You know, maybe you’re expecting something that just really isn’t appropriate. And the other person is responding to that or isn’t responding to that. And that’s frustrating you that’s going to make communication with that person. So much more difficult.

And it’s going to make resolving conflict with that person so much more challenging. I have a specific example that’s coming to mind. And this is about a relationship that I have with a friend but it very well could be someone in my family or someone you know, a significant other situation. But this is really is a conflict that I’ve had with a friend who basically was experiencing, I guess, a financial crisis at the time in question. And as I was starting my business that Fred had an expectation of me that I would I guess I really don’t know what the expectation was because I think she feared the conflict and therefore wasn’t comfortable telling me about it. But in a nutshell, she because she was facing financial difficulties, she wanted me to help her out. I personally did not think that that was appropriate and did not want to do that and did not do that. And as a result, our relationship has been strained. So this is my personal opinion. And you know, I can’t obviously can’t speak for her because she’s not really interested in talking to me anymore as a result of this, but I felt that the issue at hand was that I was being attacked as opposed to my decision to want to go into business for myself and be responsible For my own financial welfare and the impact that had on my family and not someone else’s.

So this is just an example of how if you attack the person, and not really the issue and another thing is, if you don’t have reasonable expectations, I personally didn’t think it was reasonable for her to expect me to want to go into business with her and even start, you know, financially investing in her very early on in my business, I didn’t think it was reasonable. And therefore, that’s another way that we kind of caused problems or there was a problem. Okay. So please remember as much as possible, that the person is not, who we’re going after, it should be more or less, whatever the issue is, and make sure the issues that we have are reasonable, and that the other person knows what they are and can accommodate them. All right.

Don’t confuse the topics with the issue. Gosh, what does that look like? So let’s say for instance, okay, since money is was, well, last example, a lot of times you fight over the same things, okay, over and over and over again. And we think that there’s really about different topics. But really, it’s like the same issue. So I’m working with a couple right now. And one of the issues that they have is that the woman is often feeling unheard or not listened to by her significant other now, so the different topics are, she feels like he’s not listening to her needs for sex, she feels like he’s not listening to her needs for helping to take care of the children. She feels like he’s not listening to her need for explaining information about like, where the money goes, and how the money is spent, etc. But really, the issue is the real issues doesn’t matter, the specific topics that are at hand, the real issue is that she feels like her significant other is not listening to her in general. And that is causing her some problems, or that’s causing the relationship, some problems.

So please make sure that you are not confusing the different topics that you’re having within your relationships with the specific issues that you’re having. Okay. Next, we don’t want to downplay the issues, okay. It only takes one person to be offended, or the offense to matter. I see this a lot when people want to discuss something that’s going on with them. And they feel like their significant other, it’s either not listening, or the significant other will say, Oh, well, that’s not a big deal. Maybe they’re being too sensitive, maybe they are being too, taking things too, personally, etc. But that’s just really downplaying what a person is going through. And if you haven’t heard my feedback on gaslighting, I encourage you to look into that, because that’s exactly what this is. I’ve done both a podcast and a YouTube video on that.

So let’s go out and find that if you can, and make sure that you get familiar with different ways that you gaslight or undermine another person’s expectations or another person’s experience, because that’s something that’s done very often. And it causes a lot of stress on relationships. So please, whatever you do, don’t make sure that you are not downplaying the issues that other people are bringing to your attention. don’t withdraw from conflict also don’t chase conflict. You like we said earlier, you know, conflict is not something to be feared, I mean, if you are fearing the conflict, and that might be a good sign that the relationship itself is not in a good place. Or it could be a sign that you’re just working in a relationship with someone who has the same fears as you do. So you want to make sure that you are taking an opportunity to look out and see that the person that the relationship that you have meant you’re sharing with someone is healthy enough that you don’t have to fear the conflict. And if you don’t fear it, then you shouldn’t be trying to withdraw.

And you shouldn’t be trying to run away from any of the challenges because again, nothing’s going to get resolved. If you respond in that way. Be open about what you need, and recognize that nobody can read your mind. As I gave her an example earlier, you know, even if your expectations are reasonable, make sure that you’re open and honest about what each other needs. Like in the scenario that I gave you with my friend, I had no idea that she was really expecting money. I knew she was facing a financial crisis, but I didn’t know that she was expecting me to come up with the financial means to support her. So just make sure that you are making those things clear. And you know, that requires some self work because a lot of times you we we don’t even know what we want ourselves and we know but we know that the other person is not fulfilling that one and or that need that we might think that we have and that causes conflict. If so please make sure that you open about what you need and make sure that you are being transparent, okay, to the people you’re communicating.

A lot of times we are experiencing anger when we’re having these unhealthy conflicts or these difficult conversations. So let’s get in tune with the anger. Really, in unbeknownst to a lot of people, anger is actually a secondary emotion, it is not a primary emotion. Therefore, it’s important to kind of figure out really what’s going on before or as a predecessor of the anger that you’re feeling. Um, a lot of times those experiences can be sadness, hurt, insecurity, jealousy or frustration. Those are more primary feelings. So like, if you’re jealous, for instance, of maybe someone who is getting a financial break, and you don’t have the finances that you’d like yourself, maybe that’s more of the issue, as opposed to, you know, just the fact that you’re angry with them or, or maybe you’re insecure.

Maybe you feel like, you know, it’s not going to happen to you, or it’s not going to happen for you. So that’s important to take into consideration. Stay away from statements like you always or you never, that’s very important, because anytime we globalize something, and we’ll talk about that a little bit more, we go until cognitive distortions. But every time we globalize what’s going on, we are taking away from the reality of what is really going on, and focusing on. Basically, the thing that comes to mind when I when I think about this is making a mountain out of a molehill. So sometimes things are relatively small, but you make them out to be bigger than they always are by saying things like you always, or you never, and this really gets you trapped and keeps you caught in unable to move forward in a healthy way.

So you want to make sure that you’re not doing that, because you’re only thinking about when you say things like you always or you never what you really do is force that experience to be no longer about what the specific issue is, and instead about something a lot bigger and a lot larger, and it just really takes away. And it really makes it hard to work through any of it. So for instance, for the concept, you always come home late, well, what about the times where your partner doesn’t come home late, and it’s going to be very hard for you to, to develop a strong case for that, because you’ve already started with you always, as opposed to, you know, today you’re late. And I don’t like that. It puts the other person on the defense, it makes them not want to say anything that makes them not want to try to challenge you or, or even challenge you appropriately, or even resolve the issue because you began the statement within an attack.

Also, please accept that nobody is perfect, including yourself. That’s very important. Because a lot of times we can see the error in other people, there’s a say, and it says you can see a log and someone else’s eyes, but you can’t see a splinter in your own. Please be mindful of that. Look into that. Think about that, and how, what that must look like in your relationships. Because if you’re constantly expecting other people to be perfect, but incapable of looking at your own imperfections, you know, you’re gonna have some problems, then I see it more often than not. The next thing I want to bring your attention to is if you’re wrong, apologize. I know most of us were the gauge our own eyes out of the eyeball socket since admit when we’re wrong. But that is a great way to teach people first of all, that you are human, that you are capable of making mistakes, but it also lays the foundation for how you want to be treated if you want people to apologize to you when you’re wrong. Or if you want people to acknowledge your pain, or your frustration, you got to be willing to do it too.

And I know that’s hard to do. But if you want to have better relationships with people, and if you want people to give you what you need, you’re gonna have to give other people what they need. And the reality of it is I don’t know why people make apologising out to be like, it’s just this really big thing. At the end of the day, everybody’s wrong at something. And if you can’t own that, and if you can’t take responsibility for that, I really think it says more about you than it does the other person. So that’s just something you want to keep in mind. Next, I would encourage you to find common ground. So even in the most angry situations or in the most uncomfortable situations, there’s something that you can find about them that you like that you appreciate and that you value. Pay attention to that focus on that you’re in tune with that and use that as as a way to connect with with the person that you’re working with. Because if you The only thing you can think about is what you don’t like about them, or what you’re frustrated about that with them, that you’re not going to see the value in them. And again, that’s going to make it hard for them to also see the value in you.

Finally, I want to encourage you just to find something to compromise on, even if it’s nothing but the saying, We must agree to disagree. But at the end of the day, it’s very hard to resolve things with people if you don’t know how to find something that you agree with, or something that you like about them and something that you can connect with them on. So this is my recommendation for you in terms of just really making sure that you are finding things that you can agree on things that you do have in common. Some of the suggestions that come to my mind are maybe watching a Netflix show, maybe reading a book together, we talked about that on a previous podcast, a previous recording, I don’t even know if he’s going to be out by the time this recording gets released. But in general, the things that brought you all together are the things that you want to focus on when you’re having difficult time. Okay, so whether it’s going out to fancy dinners, you know, really whatever it is that’s in your love language or connects you to this person. These are the things you want to find ways to compromise on when you’re having a difficult time and need to have tough conversations. Okay.

So I hope these tips help, relationships are not perfect, and by any stretch of the imagination, but guess what, neither are we. And if you are willing to invest in your relationships and make them stronger, then you will have better relationships. And if you’re not willing to put the time in to make them stronger, then you won’t have the best relationships. And you know, the quality of a person’s life is largely affected by how well they get along with others. So these are a few tips that should be helpful when you do come in time when you have a conflict with someone that you care about. And I hope you find them useful. All right, thank you so much for your time today. I really enjoy working with you Peace and blessings. Dr. O.

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