Article Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Relationship Fights

Mar. 23, 2013 Huffington Post

You’re mulling the night’s TV options when your significant other grabs the remote and starts clicking away like a sugar-fueled 5-year-old. When you mention this, he asks how your OCD is going. You counterstrike that his mother raised her sons to be boorish louts — eliciting his usual rant about your mom still serving him meatloaf when he’s been a vegetarian for years.

It’s the same fight you had last week. And the 962 weeks previous. It would almost be funny if the whole routine weren’t so hurtful, unproductive, and bafflingly inescapable. But here’s the aha: While repetitive arguments stem from misunderstandings and emotional wounds, they also owe a lot to simple pattern formation. As my karate teacher used to say, practice doesn’t make perfect — it makes permanent. What we’ve done before, we tend to do again.

Which means we can disrupt our patterns with a brilliant trick that marriage therapist Bill O’Hanlon calls the do-one-thing-different approach. For instance, you can criticize each other’s TV habits, but only if you’re wearing oven mitts. You can insult relatives as long as you’re lying on the floor. You can question each other’s sanity, but only in whispers.

The effect can be extraordinary. Your brain, startled by new associations, loses the familiar flow as you see the useless toxicity of whatever you’re about to say. You may even end up laughing. At the least, you’ll find you have the power to change fights you “can’t help” having, by starting small and being creative. And that’s a pattern you want to repeat.

Read More on Huffington Post

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

Apply Today

All Resources

Tell Me More

Study links sleep breathing disorders to severe COVID-19 outcomes

If you have a sleep disorder, you may want to be extra careful this winter.

Read More

2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Find the right gift from one of several curated lists.

Read More

Happy Thanksgiving

Remember to let your family and friends know how much they mean.

Read More

Families Are Reuniting for Their First Post-Vax Thanksgiving.

Here is some good advice.

Read More

The Power of a "We"

Choosing the right pronoun can be the ultimate power move.

Read More

The Guilt of Living with Chronic Pain

Questioning the legitimacy of a person’s pain induces guilt and worsens pain.

Read More

Are Debt Collectors Allowed to Text Me?

There are new rules for debt collectors as of November 30th.

Read More

Ways to Manage Your Everyday Stress

Watch what you eat, how often you move and how you're incorporating mindfulness.

Read More