In relationships I think we are always looking for ways that we can communicate more effectively, in good times but especially in hard times. Unfortunately, conflict is something that many of us struggle with which can cause us to react in ways that either add fuel to the fire or cause a relationship standoff. Many of us get caught up in 1 of these two things:
Deflecting: When someone changes a topic to get away from the conversation that is happening.
Rationalizing: When someone makes excuses for/justifies their behavior in a seemingly rational way as a way of avoiding the true reason.
When we do these two things we engage our partner’s defense system right away which makes the battle go on for longer than necessary. If our partner comes to us with a complaint the very first thing you need to do is breathe. Breathing helps calm our anxiety system which permits us to ground ourselves in what is going and what is really being said. You then want to acknowledge and stay focused on what your partner is saying and what you both need to do to resolve it. There may be things bothering you as well and these are just as important but your complaints don’t override your partner’s. Both are important and if you both focus on making the solution the priority and not on winning the argument, each of you will come out on top.
So start noticing both when you deflect and rationalize as well as when your partner does. Share this blog and talk to your partner about the importance of communicating about actual issues.