Stop Fighting in 30 days

Week 2: Eliminate Secret Warfare

You and your hubby are embroiled in a box-spring battle. He is a hard-core cover hog and you are sick of waking up with a frozen fanny. Your sister, a take-no- prisoners type of gal, suggests that you dump a bucket of ice on his head while he's sound asleep. You have more subtle torture in mind...

Last week, I explained that millions of couples are clueless about how to transform angry feelings into constructive communication that, in turn, leads to conflict resolution. Some couples engage in Open Warfare tactics (faulty fighting behavior I call "Fight Traps"), which we discussed last week. Others engage in Secret Warfare, which commonly occurs when one or both partners choose to be silent when a conflict arises. This means that the issue gets swept under the rug instead of being resolved. The resulting feelings of resentment are eventually communicated indirectly or covertly through various Secret Warfare tactics.

People who engage in faulty fighting tactics unknowingly make their marital conflict worse.

People who engage in Secret Warfare think that they are releasing their anger, and they may, in fact, experience a temporary sense of relief. But Secret Warfarers unknowingly make their marital conflict worse, because the partner who is the target of Secret Warfare feels furious and strives to get even. In turn, the Secret Warfarer becomes angrier and delivers even more Secret Warfare paybacks, and soon the couple becomes locked in a downward spiral of conflict that has divorce written all over it.

The only way out of this vicious cycle is to replace Secret Warfare with healthy conflict resolution skills. Identifying your Secret Warfare Fight Traps is the first step to eliminating them. The following test highlights some of the many Secret Warfare Fight Traps. You will find a complete list in my book, Til Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First).

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