How To Overcome Arguments And Power Struggles In Relationships – Part 2

A young couple arguing at the breakfast table

In the last post, I explained that when you’re in the middle of an argument or power struggle, conflict resolution is often counterintuitive – what you should do is often the exact opposite of what you feel the most compelled to do in the moment.
In this post I want to reveal two more Conscious Communication Skills that will help you end recurring conflict and overcome power struggles in relationships.
These Conscious Communication Skills work in ALL of your relationships in your life, not just in romantic relationships.

Own vs. Divert

When we’re feeling defensive, we tend to want to divert blame away from ourselves, and often onto our partner. Even if we’re in the wrong, we can still do this because our brains are hardwired to want to be “right.”

When we’re diverting the blame, we often use sentences starting with “you.” This is the verbal equivalent of pointing the blame directly at the other person.

Statements such as, “You drive me crazy” or “You’re pissing me off” or “You make me so angry when you do that” will cause your partner to immediately go on the defensive.

The way to stop diverting is to start connecting with and OWNING your experience. Instead of saying, “You make me so angry when you do that” – try simply saying, “I feel angry right now.”

When you take responsibility for what you’re experiencing in the moment, you can get the same message across without making your partner responsible for your feelings.

It may sound simple, but this is one of the most challenging communication skills for people to learn – it’s counterintuitive to the way that our brains are wired.

When you take the time to get in touch with what you’re feeling and share your experience in the moment, your partner can actually HEAR you and will be much less likely to get defensive. This is essential to opening the lines of communication.

And Vs. But

“But” is a powerful word. When you say the word “but” – you basically negate everything you said right before it.

For example, when you say things like, “I love you but I need some time to myself right now” what your partner actually hears is, “I don’t really love you.”

“I love you AND I need some time to myself right now” is much softer, and it doesn’t negate the fact that you love them.

These Conscious Communication Skills are counterintuitive – so if don’t practice and implement them, they won’t help you.

You can’t fix a relationship that’s in trouble by learning skills and not implementing them – you need to use them, and you can’t use them in the middle of an argument when you’re feeling triggered.

No problems get solved when you’re triggered – you need to take care of your emotions first, then come back to the conversation. This will prevent you from saying things that can cause a lot of damage in the relationship.

These skills take some practice, and they can really change your relationship and your life when you learn how to use them correctly!

6 thoughts on “How To Overcome Arguments And Power Struggles In Relationships – Part 2”

  1. Excellent posts, Helena! It’s so easy to be triggered by someone (and equally easy to misinterpret what they are saying)…. Using communication strategies like these surely helps!

  2. Hi Helena
    I loved what you said about practicing the tools outside the sitiuation and training the muscle, because I personally believe these things must be done spontaneousely and in order to d this, they must become part of our lives (in other words our habbits), because habbits are easy and easy is beautiful.
    Thank you Helena for the nice posts. I appreciate the efforts you are puting to make the posts so simple, yet informative and clear. this creates the path of your words to be transmitted to our minds and then our lives easily.

    1. Hi Reem,
      Thank you!! Absolutely, practicing these tools will help you to “build those muscles” in all areas. I love what you said about building new habits, that’s so important. I’m glad this was helpful for you!
      Love, Helena

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