Tag Archive | Anger

The Five Secrets to Fair Fighting and Getting What You Want

The Five Secrets to Fair Fighting and Getting What You WantIn any relationship worth having conflicts and fights are bound to arise.  The true test of the relationship is whether or not you feel that it is worthwhile to resolve these conflicts and if you are able to do so in a fair and objective way.

The five secrets to fighting fairly include sticking to the issue at hand, being open to listening to the other person, not involving others in the fight, not bringing up old issues and finally being willing to accept responsibility for your part in the issue and being able to let it go when the fight is over even if no resolution has been immediately found.

It’s important to know what you are fighting over and to stick to that issue in the argument.  If you allow things to build up over time and then explode neither you nor your partner will have a clear understanding of what the issue is or why you are fighting.

If there are many issues it is important to address each of them separately as they arise to alleviate resentment and fighting that does not have a clear focus.

Sometimes all you need to do is just listen

Listening is also a very important component of fighting fairly.  It is imperative to allow your partner to offer his side of the argument.  Fighting without listening will not be effective because it does not allow you to be open to the other person’s opinions and beliefs.

Your partner may have a very valid reason for their actions, thoughts and feelings but if you are only interested in what you have to say and are unwilling to listen you will not understand their point of view.

Another aspect of listening is to really try to understand what the other person is saying.  It’s very easy to not hear the intent of a person’s message.  In a fight you want to actively clarify your partner’s statements and give them the opportunity to affirm or deny your interpretation of their argument.

Bringing others into a fight, other than your counsellor, is also not a fair way to fight.  It is important that the fight take place between those directly involved and that neither party elicits the help of friends or family members to validate their position.

It doesn’t matter how many other people agree with you, that does not necessarily make you right, so don’t involve others in your fight.  This is not only unfair to your partner but it is also unfair to those who are dragged into the argument.

In a fair fight it is also important to not bring up old issues.  A fair fight will remain focused only on the issue at hand and bringing up the past will only distract and send the message that the past has not been forgotten.  If your partner feels that you are bringing up old issues, he may feel as if the current fight is not worth fighting because it will not be forgotten.

And if you convey the message that you are not willing to forgive and forget there is also the possibility that your partner will withdraw with a belief that there is no point in resolving this issue anyway.  Also, bringing up old issues is simply not relevant to the current fight.  A fair fight must simply be focused on a current conflict only.

Another secret for fighting fairly is to be willing to accept responsibility for your own actions and be willing to reach a resolution so you can both move on from the argument.  Those who fight fairly are prepared to concede the fact that they may even lose the argument.  Losing the argument means either that you admit that you were to blame for a situation or that you have come to understand and accept the others perspective.

Leave the fight in the past

What is most important in a fair fight is not who is right or who is wrong but that you are able to reach an amicable agreement and that you are both able to progress and leave the fight in the past.

Fighting fairly is crucial in a healthy relationship.  Disagreements are natural and resolving them in a fair way is imperative to a thriving relationship.  Not fighting fairly is indicative of a relationship that is not healthy.  A fair fight incorporates the key elements of focus, listening and resolution without involving third parties in the fight.  A fair fight is also left in the past after resolution.  Fair fighting leads to some kind of resolution even if that means you may have to agree to disagree.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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How to Decide Whether Or Not to End a Relationship

How to Decide Whether Or Not to End a Relationship


So often I meet with couples who are on the brink of separation. It seems that even while there might still be a skerrick of hope they don’t know what to do about it and decide to separate because they simply can’t see any other way out.

Here is one question that came to me recently that follows this line.

“I have been married for ten years. In the tenth anniversary month, we are in the process of splitsville. One thing we both agree with is that the challenges “do not appear insurmountable”. But guess what, we just have not been able to crack. … No outings, limited intimacy living like roommates. At the moment we are getting ready for court, we are on the brink, what do we do, given that there is a sliver of hope?”

Deciding whether or not to end a relationship is just as hard as being left. Although you may be very dissatisfied or wonder if you have any love left, you may be reluctant to really make a break.

Tormenting yourself over whether or not to continue the relationship may interfere with looking at the changes you need to make in yourself. Don’t count on a new partner to take away any underlying insecurity you might have.

Before making the final decision to stay or leave, consider the following:

Do not expect yourself to feel love for your partner when you are feeling resentful. These two emotions are virtually incompatible. If you are feeling resentful at all you deal with that first. If you can’t talk to your partner about this just yet, speak to a professional Counsellor first to defuse it before it becomes too big to manage and it overwhelms you.

Imagine yourself living with your partner on even days and living apart on odd days. Contemplate what it feels like in each of these scenarios to test whether it feels more right to be together or to be separate.

Do not let anyone pressure you into a decision. Only you can make the correct choice for you. If you are not ready to make it just yet then it’s best to pause making any decision until you are ready. It might mean that your partner will make their own decision to separate in the meanwhile and if this happens you will have to accept the consequences.

I teach my clients a strategy which I call “Traffic Light”. Red stands for ‘stop’. So when you need to make a decision, or you are being asked to do something which you are not sure about, stop whatever you are doing and take some time to think about what is happening. This is represented by the yellow light; slow down and be prepared to take careful and well thought through action. Green stands for ‘go’. Take the action that has been well thought through and is the best action to take for the situation you are in.

Discover how you allow yourself to be a victim by talking to friends or a Counsellor. You will not stop feeling resentful until you stop giving up your power. You can control your life and what you think, do and say and know that if you take the time to consider your situation carefully you will make the right decision.

Identify one change you are going to make in yourself to develop your decision-making skill. Make this change consistently until you sense that you are no longer acting like a victim.

Make a final decision only after making these necessary changes in yourself. This will give you a much better sense of what you need to do next.

Often people, by their inaction, stay in relationships far too long often until they have no love left. If this sounds a bit like you take action now. Don’t let the situation go until you get to that point of resentment. And if there is any hope at all make a commitment right now to do whatever you need to do to really give this relationship the best chance you can give it.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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When Partners Are Constantly Yelling At Each Other

When Partners Are Constantly Yelling At Each Other

So often I hear from couples that they get to a place in their relationship where they are just constantly yelling at each other. And not only do they complain of having constant yelling matches but also that the arguments are as often as not about nothing so that afterwards they are left wondering what was the point of it all anyway.

It may surprise you to know that there is actually a point and if you think that that is actually nothing to do with the topic of the argument you would be right.

The point is this. As you come through the honeymoon phase of your relationship there is a need to re-establish your own identity separate from each other. All this time you have been entangled with each other in a dance only for two. You now need to pull away from each other again in order to get on with your own lives.

This is totally normal and as it should be. You need to re-immerse yourself in your work, in your friendships and in your own interests to ensure that you continue your personal journey as you carry on with your couple’s journey.

To allow this you subconsciously start to find the flaws in each other. This includes the discovery that each of you are human after all with all of the faults and failings that comes with being human.

For so long you have simply only seen each other through rose-coloured glasses. This is now the time to take off the glasses and notice that your partner is not all you’ve attempted to convince yourself they are.

You struggle with this idea. Your prince or princess is really human after all just like you.

The only way you can humanly separate from another person is to create conflict. Just like an adolescent separating from his or her parents has to create conflict so too you do. Otherwise why would you move away from each other at all?

The tricky bit in all of this is firstly to recognise that the fights are for a good reason even if there seems to be no reason at all. Then, and maybe even more importantly, it is going to be critical for each of you to embrace the opportunity that you are providing each other here for growth ensuring in the meanwhile you don’t lose sight of your relationship in the process,

Something to note here is that there are people who are addicted to love. These people are likely to use these fights as a way of leaving the relationship and to seek another to replace it. Some people go their whole lives flitting from one relationship to another. They may even believe that the relationship is over so can’t even contemplate that maybe it’s just a phase.

Then there are others who just believe that they will never actually find love at all and give up even trying to find the way out of the current dilemma.

So if you find yourself yelling and arguing with your partner, pause a moment before making a decision about whether to quit or not. If the arguments really don’t have much substance, other than it being a tug of war to prove that you are right, maybe there is something else going on here.

If this happens take the time to really look deeply within yourself to check whether this is really just a phase and it’s worth the effort to work through or is this truly a sign that you are simply not compatible and maybe should separate from each other before too much damage is done.

If you can’t see the difference clearly seek some professional help before making a decision you may come to regret.

One strategy to really test this out is to commit to going all out for at least thirty days giving 100% of your effort to this relationship without question or regret. Love your partner unreservedly with all the love you have. This might even mean stepping back to allow that person some space to grow in as you take space for your own growth.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Forgiving and Forgetting – How to Truly Forgive and Then Truly Forget

Forgiving and Forgetting – How to Truly Forgive and Then Truly Forget

It constantly amazes me how some people can remember the smallest details of everything that happened around a particular event while others don’t remember clearly what happened yesterday let alone last week, last month or last year.

Actually these attributes clearly describe the difference between my life partner and me. My partner can recall events from his past as clearly as if they were happening right this minute while for me it’s more like out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

There is an upside and a downside though for each of these positions. For my partner the upside is his brilliant recall allows him to remember the wonderful people we’ve met and the places we’ve been to on our many journeys around the world. The downside for him is that he finds it hard to let go of past hurts often holding grudges which should have been let go of long ago as they prevent him from fully enjoying the company of friends and acquaintances.

For me though, as I forget about old wrongdoings so easily I sometimes also forget the lessons I should have learned and have to learn them again. On the good side I don’t tend to hold grudges as I move on quickly putting old hurts behind me. The appearance to others of me is that I harbor no bad thoughts of people and I truly can forgive and forget.

So all of this got me thinking about “forgiving and forgetting” and the benefits and disadvantages of doing this when someone has crossed you.

Forgiveness is the act of excusing someone for a wrongdoing but unless you are also willing to forget their transgression you aren’t truly forgiving them. I qualify this by adding that ‘forgetting the transgression’ is really quite different from forgetting that it ever happened. It’s about not harboring the bad feelings associated with an event but instead becoming neutral to it.

You may have been wronged in a situation and your feelings of anger may be completely justified but it’s important to truly understand your feelings in order to forgive and forget.

It is imperative that you realize that the actions of the other person may have hurt you or made you angry but that reacting in a hostile manner as a result of these feelings is not beneficial to your relationship.

While your feelings of hurt of anger may be justified, taking the time to work through these emotions before offering forgiveness may help you to forget your partner’s words or actions. If you rush to offer forgiveness before you have had the opportunity to vent your own frustrations it will be difficult for you to forget your partner’s wrongdoing.

You also need to understand the feelings of the person who offended you. It is also important to speak to your partner about why they committed the offense against you. It is not fair to them to make assumptions about why they acted the way they did.

Giving them the chance to express their side of the situation will give you a better understanding of why they acted the way they did. You may learn that everything was a misunderstanding or that you were not hurt intentionally. Allowing the other person a chance to offer their take on the situation will enable you to see their motives.

Understanding your own emotions as well as your partner’s will help you to really forgive and forget.

This kind of forgiveness can only be achieved by understanding your own feelings as well as those of the person who wronged you. It requires you to express your feelings in a rational way, realizing that your relationship is more important than being right. It might also include accepting the other’s apology whether this is your partner’s, your friend’s or a collective of people.

Give yourself a little time to manage your own feelings and collect your thoughts so that when you approach your partner you are able to speak about your feelings in a rational manner. It’s best to wait until both you and your partner are ready to speak about the conflict in a calm and rational manner than to rush in and come to regret something said or done.

A crucial aspect of forgiving and forgetting is valuing your relationship more than you value being right in a disagreement. While you may be completely right in a situation, being right is not worth destroying the relationship over.

If you are able to put your love for your partner ahead of the need for being right you will be more willing to forgive and forget. Also, forgiving and forgetting will allow your relationship to continue to flourish simply because working through conflicts makes a relationship stronger.

Finally you can never really forgive and forget unless you are truly willing to accept your partner’s apology. Harboring feelings that the apology isn’t genuine will damage the relationship because you will never forget their offending action.

Listen sincerely to your partner’s apology and have faith in them that their apology is heartfelt and genuine. Then let them know that you accept their apology and are willing to not let this situation interfere with your future interactions.

True forgiveness involves not only excusing the transgression but also effectively forgetting it as well. You cannot truly forgive someone if you don’t also agree to forget the offence. Refusing to forget indicates a lack of trust in your partner to not repeat the offence.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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When the Fighting Becomes Too Much

When the Fighting Becomes Too Much


I received this very sad letter not so long ago so am making it the focus of this blog article.

“Why is it that I and my girlfriend quarrel/argue every week for she says she doesn’t trust me and tells me every time that she doesn’t want to marry me?

I love her so much and want her be my wife. I have thought of things that she thinks that creates the argument, but when i start to work on those things it works a little while but fails and never lasts.

I am standing on two conflicting ideas. Marry her or start over another relationship.

What she says when she gets angry out of nothing gets me crazy. Even now, we are not giving phone calls to each other.

What should I do to keep and maintain happy and healthy relationship with her? I want to give love to her and expect the same response from her. How can I make that happen? When I stop things over, she starts and when I come to understating she pushes me away.

It has been like this for more than two years since I met her. One week it’s okay and another week hell.

Please help me save my relationship.”

Let me start to answer this multifaceted question by firstly saying that all relationships will have times of conflict especially as part of negotiating a long-term relationship. This is part of helping you figure out the ‘rules’ that are going to define how your relationship is to be managed. This involves who will make the decisions and who will be responsible for what aspect of your relationship.

This is a normal part of the transition into the next stage of relationship development as you move away from the symbiosis, the honeymoon stage that defines the first part of all relationships.

So the way through this is firstly to learn some communication skills so that you can each hear clearly what the other is saying before responding. Sometimes it is necessary to bring a professional counsellor/coach into the picture who can teach you how to do this and help you manage the process when things become especially difficult.

The next part of the process is to define what it means to be in relationship and what that relationship should look like to support both of your values of what a loving relationship actually is. Then take the time to ask each other lots of questions to assess whether these values are shared making you compatible as this value compatibility is what will determine whether your relationship has what it needs to make it long-term.

Just as importantly, for relationships to succeed it requires a selflessness that has at its core a willingness to do for another without any thought of what’s in it for me. If we only do for another for what we can get back then we’re not in it for love. And of course if you are both acting from that place then you’ll get what you want anyway but now for the right reasons.

For more information on the stages of relationship go and have a look at my product shop. There you will find several books including one titled “Relationships – A Couples Journey” that addresses the stages relationships go through as part of their natural development. Another book that maybe is helpful is titled “The Games Couples Play” which takes a look at conflict in relationships and how to manage it. You’ll find the bookshop at my website at www.acouplesjourney.com.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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How to Forgive the Unforgivable

Forgive the Unforgivable

Has your partner made an error that has hurt you? Have you made errors that have hurt your partner?

The closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to ‘step on their toes’. And being in a relationship with someone certainly puts you where this is fairly likely to happen. Relationships are a bit like ballroom dancing really! The chances are even pretty high that you and your partner could have pretty sore toes.

The point here is that it’s normal for you and your partner to make mistakes and to inadvertently step on each others toes. And as long as this is not intentional it is repairable. Like ballroom dancing, once you get the steps right the dance will flow naturally all by itself.

And, except in the case of physical abuse, (I addressed that in my blog of a couple of weeks ago) you can move on from anything. In fact, your marriage can end up even better!

I know…you’re probably thinking, ‘Better? How could it be better than before we messed it up?’

It can be better, but you have to do one thing first. You have to forgive.

What does it really mean to forgive?

Many people say, ‘I forgive you’, but continue to hold anger and resentment in their hearts. Some people even say the words, but their actions show that nothing’s changed for them at all.

Other people will say ‘I forgive you’ but what they really mean is, ‘I can’t deal with it. I don’t want to talk about it any more.’ And so the 3 magic words come out and form a wall that shuts out their partner. True, they may not be angry any more, but that’s because they’ve shut down all emotion and refuse to reconnect.

Saying ‘I forgive you!’ is an entirely different ball game from truly forgiving.

Let’s take a closer look at the word and where it comes from. The root of the word ‘forgive’ is the Latin word ‘perdonare’ meaning: ‘to give completely without reservation’. This is also the source of our English ‘pardon’.

When the Latin ‘perdonare’ was adopted into the Germanic ancestor of English, it was translated piece-by-piece: ‘Per’ was replaced by ‘for’, a prefix that in this case means ‘thoroughly’ and ‘donare’ with ‘giefan’ (to give). The result, ‘forgiefan’, appeared in Old English meaning ‘to give up’ or ‘allow’ as well as ‘to give in marriage’.

In modern English, ‘forgive’ has also taken on the meanings of ‘to pardon for an offence’, ‘renounce anger at’ (I truly forgive you for stepping on my toes) and ‘to abandon a claim on’ (as in ‘forgive a debt’).

What then is true forgiveness? It’s when you stand as close to your partner as you stood the day your feet got stepped on. It’s when you give of yourself like you did before you were hurt.

Forgiveness might also need to be of self as well as of the other. That might sound surprising but for your partner to have stepped on your toes your toes needed to have been there to be stepped on. As the old adage says: ‘It takes two to tango!’

And, by the way, forgiveness may not be easy to do. But it is possible. You can forgive each other and move on.

And once you forgive, you’ll see that your marriage can be better than it was before.
You could even be happy that the mistake was made (in a strange way) because it allows you to realize that you might never have achieved the love you finally have without that error as your catalyst.

Did you know that when a broken bone heals it’s stronger than it was before it was broken? You too can be stronger than before things broke down between you.

Did you ever make love after a big fight? Did you ever think after you made-up, ‘Hey, this is great? We should fight more often.’ Sometimes, while not an excuse to fight, the highest-highs can follow the lowest-lows. This is because in the forgiving you have come to an even more intimate place with each other.

If you are holding onto old hurts maybe it’s time for you to forgive. Give it a go it can be so liberating for you personally as well as for you as a couple.

And if you need help with this check out the ‘Quizzes and Questionnaires’ page at my site www.acouplesjourney.com. You will discover an exercise there to help you in finding forgiveness. Alternatively, if you need further assistance in this, please find a good Counselor. The effort will reap the reward.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Are You in a Domestic Violence Relationship and How to Change It?

Woman Breaking Free

It Is Never OK To Hurt another Human Being

I want to say right upfront that there is never an excuse for Domestic Violence or any shame in being in a relationship where you are a victim of Domestic Violence. You are not alone. The number of people exposed to Domestic Violence is as much as 30% worldwide and it needs to stop.

I’ll say more about that in a moment. Firstly I think it might be helpful to define what Domestic Violence is:

Domestic or Family Violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically harm the other partner.

It is important to note that violence happens in many different forms within relationships. It can be perpetrated by a male or female partner however the vast majority of domestic violence is reported to be committed by men against women. Abuse happens to people from every age group, income and educational level and religious and cultural background.

You do not have to be physically hurt to be abused, nor is it ever too late to seek assistance. This means that Domestic Violence can be categorized into several forms.

Here is a list of the different types of Domestic Violence:

  • Physical Abuse includes direct harm against a person, their child, pet or property and includes hitting, slapping, punching, choking, pushing, being thrown against a wall, being hit with objects or injured by weapons.
  • Sexual Abuse is any type of forced or unwanted sexual behaviour between adults.
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse is similar to verbal abuse. It can leave a person feeling that the relationship problems are their fault. Someone who leaves their partner alone at home or caring for children while the partner goes off to have an affair or live their lives separately could be a victim of this kind of abuse.
  • Verbal Abuse is the use of critical or insulting language or continual put-downs, threats or criticisms.
  • Financial Abuse involves the unequal control of money in a relationship, by making a person dependent upon the perpetrator for money, taking a person’s money or threatening a person for money.
  • Social Abuse is when the victim is denied contact with friends or family who may be able to offer support. Some victims are also made to account for everything they do and everywhere they go.

You Can Change the Situation If You Know Why Domestic Violence Occurs

Hurting someone usually results from being angry, but anger is a secondary emotion. This means that the anger is usually just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the real feelings are underneath the anger. Often people react angrily when they feel embarrassed, ashamed, frustrated, guilty, stupid, sad, fearful or incompetent. These feelings are primary emotions hidden under the surface which need to be identified if any change is going to happen.

Living in a domestically violent household is not easy. However for some leaving a domestically violent household can be even more difficult. So if you find yourself in such a situation go and seek help and if this cannot be with your partner at least take yourself. Sometimes you might be powerless to change your partner but you can change yourself.

And if you are the one who is responsible for Domestic Violence help is at hand. Take yourself to see a professional Counselor. They will not judge you. They really can help you.

Many people fear believing that they might be in a Domestic Violence relationship and some are not sure if what they are experiencing is in fact Domestic Violence. If this sounds like you and you would like to find out if your relationship is an abusive one go to my website at www.acouplesjourney.com and click on the ‘quiz’s and questionnaire’s’ link and complete the assessment titled “Domestic Violence Assessment”. If the assessment indicates that you are at risk please make sure you seek professional help before taking any action.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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