In the following chapter of our new book, Snap Strategies for Couples: 40 Fast Fixes for Everyday Relationship Pitfalls, Dr. Pepper and I caution about letting yourself or your partner get caught up in a snowballing, out-of-control argument. Enjoy another free sample!
Don’t up the ante and increase the risk of damaging your relationship by escalating an argument to the point of causing pain. A conversation that starts off as mildly adversarial can fall quickly into a battle or full-blown war because one or both of you start building your case, using past misdeeds as ammunition. An accusation on one side leads to an accusation on the other, and pretty soon harsh, ugly words are flying back and forth. It can happen in heartbeat. The angrier you get, the more your entire hormonal system goes into gear and sends you into fight mode. At this point you are incapable of going back to square one, which was much less angry and far more rational.
It is inevitable that when one of you ups the ante with furious words or threats, the charged atmosphere will trigger your partner’s emotions. This is the mirror image of triggering your partner’s response in a positive way by your smile, support, or physical closeness. At times, aggression happens suddenly; a partner is silently stewing about something and suddenly explodes. You will feel like you stepped on a land mine without warning when your partner goes off at you. The “natural response” is to reciprocate: anger met with anger, hurt met with hurt, fear met by fear. We suggest you use the thinking part of your brain instead to take you in a better direction.
Again, for the other pages of the chapter and the rest of the book, order here!