|How to Differ
With Your Partner
Without Hurting Your Partner
by Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
feelings, differences in viewpoints, unresolved issues, and out-and-conflict can be
easily dealt with in your relationships. You need only master some basic techniques to
assist you in smoothing over the inevitable rough edges of your relationships.
Believe me, I know of what I speak. Ive written a book (Making Molehills Out of
Mountains) that teaches people how to safely and effectively resolve conflict.
Ive taught thousands of people just like you how to replace hurt feelings and
resentments with understanding and compassion.
The first step is the most important
step. Without its completion, you wont be able to get anywhere with the people
in your life. You and the person you are in conflict must be of a similar mindset when it
comes to the resolution of your disagreementsyou both must agree that you want to
address the issues that exist between the two of you rather than burying your head in the
youll find this trite but nonetheless truecommunication is the key to
facilitating understanding and healing where only hurt feelings and wounded pride exists.
Theres one important key to good communication that I want you to focus onunderstanding
what your partner is attempting to tell you and communicating that understanding to your
partner. Common senseright? But the problem is when youre in the midst of
a heated discussion, when someone is coming at you fast and furious, when youre more
focused on dodging the emotional daggers that are being flung at you than listening
empathically to your partner, its likely that youll be flooded more with
anger, hurt, and resentment than love, compassion, and forgiveness. When this occurs,
its unlikely that youll be able to hear what your partner is saying to
youmuch less understand and sympathize with your partners plight.
So, when youre
on emotional overload and your mind shuts down and youre no longer able to focus on
what youre partner is saying to you, stop the discussion. When youre no
longer able to listen to what is being said to you, take some time out until youre
able to listen to your partner.
suggestion that I have for you is to be mindful of how hurtful your remarks can be.
Dont say things that youll regret later. Words cut sharply. Dont let
your discussion be reduced to name-calling, labeling, and judgmental taunts. Its
okay to feel angry but it isnt okay to act your anger out all over your partner.
When you have gone too far in what youve said to your partner, acknowledge
the inappropriateness of your remarks as well as the hurt that youve caused your
partner. A simple apology can be an amazing antidote for insensitive remarks that
may leave permanent scars.
Most people prefer to
let sleeping dogs lie. You know that old saying about discretion being the
better part of valor. But with the right attitude, the right approach, and the
mindfulness that you dont have to cut and maim your partner in order to work through
the issues that exist between you and your partner, you can more effectively talk about
your differences with your partner rather than punish your partner for creating those
Let me offer you the following suggestions to help you make it safer for you and your
partner to fight. Just remember, although expressing your anger is never easy it can be
easier for you if you follow some simple dos and donts.
Bridge Builders Checklist
1.) Commit to having clearly defined limits that distinguish the expression of
anger from the acting out of rage and violence.
2.) Commit to honoring your partners dignity.
3.) Commit to focusing on how you were affected by the event or circumstance that
precipitated your anger.
4.) Commit to focusing on behavior rather personality.
5.) Commit to expressing yourself in I statements rather than You
6.) Commit to not blame your partner.
7.) Commit to not attacking your partner.
8.) Commit to not belittling your partner.
9.) Commit to not throwing old history at your partner.
10.) Commit to not editorializing about the quality of your partners character.
11.) Commit to not interpreting your partners motivation.
12.) Commit to not analyzing your partners character.
13.) Commit to not using the words of your partner against them.
14.) Commit to not issuing ultimatums.
For more information
about how to resolve conflict in your relationships read my free online books, Building
Better Bridges: Creating Great Relationships With the People Who Matter Most and Making
Molehills Out of Mountains.