Post # 1
As in most relationships, the biggest issue in mine is communication. I really struggle with anxiety (in therapy) and my family is just sort of naturally high strung. My mom tends to over react to everything and then simmer down, I’ve noticed myself doing this as well. This makes simple disagreements into something bigger and more dramatic. I don’t do it as bad as my mom does, but it’s still really frustrating. I also have a pretty bad “frustrated” tone during arguments that makes me seem a lot more upset than I really am and just fuels the fire.
Here’s a litttle example. My SO’s dad is coming into town traveling from Wisconsin to Washington) for a week in mid-May, we haven’t seen him in almost two years so it’s pretty big. He hasn’t met my family yet and I thought it’d be nice to have a get together so I told my mom and she said she’d plan something with my grandparents. I mention it to my SO and he says “of course it’d be awesome to get together, but I’m not 100% sure what my dad will want to do while he’s here so let’s wait until a little closer to commit.” I was kind of frustrated and annoyed because it’s only two weeks away and I’m a big planner, plus I didn’t understand why one of the days he’s here couldn’t be taken up by a commitment. That was a few days ago and I forgot to tell my mom that we weren’t committed to something, so she texts me saying “just talked to papa and we’re all set for the 19th!” For some reason instead of just texting her back explaining the situation I tell my SO and he’s like “wait what I thought we were on the same page?” I got super defensive and was like “fine I’ll let her know we can’t come” and he said “that’s not what I’m saying I just don’t know yet” and of course I got more and more fired up saying “why can’t you just talk to your dad and simply ask him if he wants to meet my family?!” And yada yada yada. He points out that the week isn’t all about what I want to do, and really he only has 4 days with his dad (flight times suck and SO works a 24 hour shift during that time) so he wants to make sure they’re able to do everything his dad wants to do because his dad wants to visit the coast where he went to school which may take up a couple days. I then say that he thinks I’m self-centered and that he’s attacking me *eye roll* I know he wasn’t actually saying that but I was in defense mode. We end up apologizing to each other but again, during the argument I can feel myself getting really loud and sounding so mean (I don’t cuss or insult him) and I really don’t know what to do about it. I know I need to be more aware of my tone and reactions because I know how crappy it is to have my mom blow up about things and make them bigger than they are.
Now I’m not taking full responsibility for this, or any, argument as I know it takes two, but are there any other bees who struggle with this? How did you improve? I know being more self-aware would help but when I’m in the moment it’s like blinders come up.
Post # 2
You improve by checking yourself “in the moment” bee. When you get riled up and you want to say something you know you shouldn’t you should stop yourself and have that conversation in your head like “do you really want to say that when you know it’ll escalate into a fight?” or “Breathe Amilly….what’s he really saying?” If you keep doing it enough it gets easier and you’ll find yourself fighting less.
I tell you this from experience as a bee marrying a “high strung, very sensitive person”. You need to not only be aware of your tone but actively CHOOSE not to use it….”in the moment”. This is all about choices.
Hard to do at first but it does get easier with practice. Good luck bee.
Post # 3
Changing your communication styles is hard but doable. It’s good that you recognize the problems you have, now it’s time to start finding strategies to address them.
One great tactic is that when you feel yourself getting heated, just say you need to take a minute to calm down. Walk to another room and let yourself calm down before coming back to the disagreement.
Remember that disagreements shouldn’t be about who is right and who is wrong or winning the argument. Don’t put words into your partner’s mouth. And focus on listening.
Change won’t happen overnight, it’s a slow progress.
Oh and maybe this is just me, but I always find that I’m less likely to get heated if I’m sitting comfortably (usually on the couch). It’s just makes it a more relaxing vibe I guess?
Post # 4
I posted something similar recently about communication with my fiancé. He is an extrovert and he is someone who wants to talk about things right away. I am an introvert and I need time to process information by taking a step back and being on my own for a minute. I find that sometimes when I am unable to effectively communicate my feelings because I can’t take time to process the information iv’e been given, I get extra sensitive and angry. I find myself getting really angry too. An example of that would be when my fiancé and I were at the gym together the other night. We wanted to lift together and he wanted to know what kind of workout we were doing. I told him we were training legs and that I was going to go warm up. During my warm up he came up and with an annoyed tone of voice asked “so what are we doing?!” I replied with “what is your attitude about? I told you what we were doing!” And it just escalated from there. He is a planner and I’m more of a go with the flow type of person so him not knowing what exactly we were doing was driving him crazy. I found that out later when we talked it over after we cooled down. Could I have just answered him calmly? Yes. I didn’t though. Which is something I need to work on. There were a few times where I just walked away and told him ” I need time to think. I don’t want to talk to you right now” it helps me and him cool down faster. I’m not sure if this helped but I just want you to know you’re not alone!
Post # 5
For your sample argument, it seems the cause was that you thought your SO’s dad would like to meet your family, and you texted your mom before checking with your SO. So that would be a communication thing. You just assumed your SO’s dad would want to meet your family, as well as have time to do that in the short amount of time he has while being in town for the first time in 2 years.
But then you escalated an argument that happened later. I agree with PPs that the first step in working on this is acknowledging what you’re doing, which is a huge step that you’ve already taken. So kudos on that.
I’m also the type that has a hard time controlling what I say in the moment if I’m emotional/angry/frustrated. It’s better for me to sit and think about things, rather than saying exactly what I’m feeling in the moment. Like another PP on here, I’m an introvert who needs time to reflect and evaluate what I’m feeling before I talk about it and make decisions. However, my husband is a fixer and wants to talk about things right then. We’ve adjusted and he allows me more time, and I try to corral my thoughts/emotions/words if we need to have a discussion right then due to time constraints.
Post # 6
sablescorpion22 : hikingbride :
thank you both! I’m really going to try and make an effort to take a moment for myself instead of blowing up. I think I get caught up in trying to be right instead of just figuring out what’s actually going on between us. I really want to work in this because I know disagreements are always going to happen but they have to stay healthy and productive.
YES! I’m definitely an introvert, I also get irritated and sensitive when I haven’t processed my thoughts. I tend to get “stuck” and it’s really hard to express how I’m actually feeling without getting frustrated. That interaction totally sounds like something that would happen with my SO and I. Good to know it’s not just me who struggles!
Post # 7
that’s exactly what happened and I feel bad for making all those assumptions. I sort of just took control of it instead of respecting what he needed– especially since it’s HIS dad! Ugh. I feel terrible but it’s another learning experience. I’m an introvert too so I’ll really work on taking that extra time I need. Thank you!
Post # 8
Like PP said, you’ve just got to be super aware of it. You may find it helps to speak to your SO when you aren’t in the midst of an argument and explain what you said above, and ask him if he would help you. I’m not sure how well I’d take a ‘honey, are you as upset about this as you sound?’ comment in the middle of a fight though. Perhaps have a ‘safe word’ but for arguments where it might be enough to make you pause and think for a moment.
Do be careful not to go too far the other way though – I often won’t say what’s on my mind in a moment because I’m worried about it being snappy, then end up stewing on it until I feel calm enough to say something. I think there’s a happy middle ground, and it’s not always the easiest place to find.