Can’t Stop Fighting with My Husband
I posted something on Facebook and a close friend of mine grabbed my attention because her response was hilarious but very telling of what she was going through. Gifs are powerful, especially ones with a little duck being dragged around by a merry-go-round and his feathers being disbursed throughout the scene. I texted her and was on a call with her an hour later.
Me: I saw your comment — what’s happening?
Friend: Same old, same old.
Me: What does that mean?
Friend: Fighting with my husband. And I don’t see the point in addressing it with him because it’s never going to change.
Me: Of course it’s never going to change — you two are two different living, breathing human beings evolving daily and there will always be disagreements. And that’s a good thing. What made you think your marriage would be the only marriage in existence that wouldn’t have arguments? Now, something unique about your marriage could be the way you look at the argument — that’s something not every marriage has.
Counselors, coaches, and topic experts will tell you to use phrases like, “When you say X, I feel Y.” And if that works for you — awesome. That doesn’t work for my marriage because it doesn’t get to the root of the behavior or the back part of the “thought process” of why you are saying X and the “behind the scenes in me” of why that triggers something that makes me angry. Just like in a movie, what you see and hear in an argument is only a product of the “behind the scenes.” An argument is a beautifully orchestrated dance of what really happened and the meaning you added to it. You made it mean something.
Two people go to the same movie and discuss afterwards. As they share, they find out each one came out with a different viewpoint–so much so that you’d think they saw two totally different movies.
Two siblings grow up together in the same household but years later when one is in therapy and the other one isn’t — mom asks why? Because they experienced things through their own lens. Same Easter, different experience. Same relatives, totally different relationships with them.
Three employees walk out of a meeting with their boss. One feels angry, the other motivated, and the 3rd one is confused at just what happened and thinks they’re getting fired.
How is this possible that things occur to each of us differently when in the same situation? It’s because of the meaning we attach to the experience. We are “meaning-making machines.” Because we filter all experiences through our lens –made up of our past experiences and our beliefs–things can occur different to everyone.
Some of you are reading this through your filter right now and are nodding, shaking your heads thinking, “OMG, I do this!” This is me, no wonder when I talk to people, I feel like no one is on my side!” And others are thinking, “I already knew this, tell me something I don’t know!” Your filter, your life’s journey, is what’s giving you your response to what you’re reading!
The Fix to Every Argument
I wish it were that simple and I could give it to you but there is no quick fix, but there is an awareness that’s required of you to see that it’s not them, it’s you. And it’s not even you, it’s the meaning you’ve given interactions, phrases, words, body language, whispers, laughing, etc. Why is it that one person gets fired and their world comes crashing down and falls apart while another person getting fired just took a bog sigh of relief and is now on their way to celebrate? meaning they gave the situation.
Take something you are struggling with right now and detach the meaning you gave it. Look at the situation again. (Nope, you’re still holding on to the meaning and it doesn’t require a meaning) Now, if you can see that the “thing” that upset you or disappointed you is just THAT THING and you no longer add meaning to it (whatever you made it mean — he doesn’t love me, she doesn’t respect my ideas, my mom thinks she’s always right and I’m a complete F*ck up, my boss hates me, my friend is obviously mad at me) then you can see how these made up stories and meanings you attached to a situation aren’t real. You made something up and then live life as if it were real! STOP DOING THAT!
You’re husband doesn’t hate you because he didn’t do the laundry — he just didn’t do the laundry. That’s it.
You’re sister isn’t disrespecting you and your dog because she doesn’t want it in her house the next time you come visit, she’s trying to avoid getting new carpet like they last time you came to visit when your precious Peaches pooped and tinkled all over the house and your kids poured bleach all over each spot to “clean it up.”
Your boss isn’t conspiring against you when you find out he’s asking other colleagues about your work — he’s actually gathering info to justify the raise he’s about to give you!
The neighbor who stops you and talks your ear off every morning does it because she’s lonely and has no real friends and she sees you as someone special and someone they can open up to.
Thought of the Day
We are meaning-making machines. We will never stop making things mean something but when you become aware that it’s the meaning you’ve attach to something (then live life like it’s real) that’s the real problem — you will be able to look an argument in the eye and say, “Wait, what is really happening here?” And although you may never stop arguing with people: your husband, your siblings, your colleagues, you now have a new weapon in your life’s tools box to help you out and avoid your feathers being ruffled as much or at least be wise enough to let go of the merry-go-round.
If you’re looking for coaching in your relationship or aren’t having any luck in your dating life — I currently have time for 3 additional clients. Contact me and let’s discuss the possibility of working together. Schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation today!