Ten Rules For Fair Fighting

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Ten Rules For Fair Fighting
15
Sun, 04-27-2003 - 8:30pm
There have been a lot of postings about communicating in marriage lately, so I thought I'd take the liberty of sharing one of my favorites - "10 Rules for Fighting Fair." It's great if both partners will follow the rules, but these really help even if you're the only one following them. It's amazing how just one partner doing this can de-escalate things in a marriage.

(1) Discuss only one thing at a time. No dragging in other issues, events or people – that’s certain to escalate the discussion into an argument.

(2) No hitting below the belt. Declare certain topics, historical events or comments “off limits” because they’re sure to cause pain or start a fight. Then LEAVE THEM ALONE. Agree to discuss those issues, if necessary, only for a specific purpose and under safe conditions, such as in the presence of a third party.

(3) Only one person at a time gets to talk. The other gets to listen – not debate, defend their position, or counter-attack. Then take turns. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR PARTNER’S VIEWPOINT before you talk about your own.

(4) Take a time-out, with a guaranteed time-in. When you feel things escalating, take an immediate time-out and try again in a half hour. If you can’t do that, you must commit to talking about the issue later, at a specified time. The purpose of the time-out is to stop the escalation, not the discussion! If you call a time-out, you MUST call a time-in. If your partner calls a time-out, leave him/her alone – don’t follow your partner around trying to continue the discussion.

(5) No character assassination. Talk about specific behaviors, not your partner’s personality. “I’d like you to pick up your clothes” is appropriate; “You’re a slob” is character assassination.

(6) No “mind reading.” Don’t jump to conclusions about what you THINK is meant by what is being said or done. Stick to what is actually said or done. The responsibility for revealing meanings and motivations belongs only to the person who has them.

(7) Don’t try to re-create history. Too many people argue over historical details – exact words, who did what first, in what time frame, etc. – instead of identifying actual problems and solutions. Stick to real issues you can do something about NOW, and stop fighting about whose memory is more accurate.

(8) Take responsibility for your own feelings, desires, needs and behaviors. Use “I” statements, not “you” statements, as in “I want you to…” instead of “You should…” “I’m angry that you were late” is talking about your feelings; “You’re always late” is blaming.

(9) Look for resolution, not agreement. Partners don’t have to agree on things, arrive at the same conclusions, or see things the same way; this is not only impossible, it’s boring! Individuals are allowed to have their own opinions, interpretations, feelings and thoughts about things. Trying to win a “Tastes great! Less filling!” argument is fruitless and unfair.

(10) KEEP THE RULES EVEN IF YOUR PARTNER DOESN'T. Your partner fighting dirty doesn’t give you permission to do the same! Fighting dirty is a character issue – don’t compromise yours.








"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 11:36am
This is great...

Thank you so much!

Bianca

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 3:19pm
I guess I just broke them all the other day. No.10 was the worst. Read my first post please, SweetMulberry
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2003
Sat, 08-09-2003 - 11:13pm
Hi,

I read the ten rules and I agree whole heartedly! My husband, does ALL of those ten things, and thinks he is not. He hits hard below the belt. The last argument,yesterday, he told me that his ex wife was ten times better than me. Wow, did that hurt, and still does. He doesn't understand how much that hurt me. He can be a loving man when he wants too, but when he wants to be mean, he really can. I don't know how to get him to change his ways. He brings up things from the past constantly, always makes me feel horrible. We argue constantly, and he follows the ten rules to a "tee", without taking any notice that he has done so......he says he loves me to death, when everthing is "OK", but chews me up and spitts me out pretty good.

any ideas,anyone??? I can't take the arguing anymore, or the hurting...

Kim

Avatar for mommie_si
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-12-2003
Mon, 11-17-2003 - 1:59am
HONESTLY , NOW DOES THIS CRAP REALLY WORK, COME ON?????
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
Mon, 11-17-2003 - 7:39pm
Yes it works. Most counselors will tell you the same thing. It has to do with respecting who you are with and communicating in a way that conveys that feeling.


Carrie

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2003
Tue, 11-18-2003 - 10:53am
Kim - print them out, lamiate them, and make him read them. Every time he does one of them, calmly state the number. Just the number. That will make him go and have to read it again. :)

Plus, one thing that can work is when they say something so cruel and unfair, just look at them and calmly say, "Im sorry that you feel that way" and walk away. Dont talk anymore, *silent treatment* until the situation gets addressed. He will figure out sooner or later that his outburts will equal an abrupt end to a discussion and that he cant finish his venting.

Give it a try and I hope it works. Hugz

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-21-2003
Sat, 11-22-2003 - 2:06pm
Yes, it really does work -- IF YOU WANT RESOLUTION AND NOT JUST TO WIN, and it even helps if one person will do it even if the other will not or cannot.

Make your complaint (and just ONE at a time) as to how it affects you, not as an accusation. That only puts the other on the defensive.

Hitting below the belt will invariably create distrust so that the other person will not communicate what's important, what has hurt in the past, or anything besides the state of the weather. In regard to one person talking at a time -- this is really about LISTENING. When the other person is talking, just LISTEN. Ask questions if you don't understand or need clarification. "Until you know the other side of the story, you really do not know your own." A time-out is not the silent treatment. It's just a break to calm things down a little. Problems don't have to resolved in an instant, and they definitely won't be resolved if everything escalates into something ugly. You can always write down your thoughts during a time-out. Namecalling doesn't help anything, and you simply cannot read someone else's mind, no matter how well you know the person. Nitpicking about the "facts" just moves everything away from trying to arrive at a solution. There is no point in it. You have to take responsibility for your own stuff. Otherwise, how can you expect the other person to take responsibility for his? If you think you have to win, that means the other person has to lose. And if you want a loser for a partner, then you'd better think about why that is.

Learning to fight fair doesn't ensure that you can save a bad relationship, but if it doesn't, you can go on without regret, knowing that you truly did your best, and that the other person just isn't evolved enough to go on with you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 01-03-2004 - 3:05pm
Just a bump towards the top of the section!

cl-2nd_life








"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2003
Sun, 01-04-2004 - 12:10pm
Thank you!!! We have resorted to very nasty & immature arguing lately, way below the belt. Again, thank you for a reminder we both seriously needed.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 01-28-2004 - 12:21am
'nother bump!

cl-2nd_life








"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

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