Arguments happen, even in a couple who are doing well. But a particular attitude, sometimes unconscious, could add fuel to the fire and increase their frequency. What is it and how to get rid of it? A psychologist answers us.
Arguing with your partner is something that happens, and which is sometimes necessary to assert your independence, make an idea heard and move forward as a couple. Unless the argument is sterile and only serves to get angry, without listening to the other. However, in this game, a behavior that we sometimes adopt would only increase the tension within the couple.
A defensive attitude that doesn’t help
This guilty attitude is the fact of automatically becoming defensive as soon as a conflict arises between you. Worse, this defensive behavior could well be “at the origin” of the argument, if the slightest remark from your partner is taken as a personal attack. Dialogue then becomes impossible. A manifestation that marriage therapist Sarah Regan explains well in an article in the American media MindBodyGreen:
“Every time you feel attacked, your body is flooded with warning chemicals that trigger a fight-or-flight response. Once these chemicals are present, you can only understand a tiny part of what is happening, your ability to see the whole picture diminishes, and your confidence that you are right expands.”
How to exchange without being defensive
Do you recognize yourself in this knee-jerk reaction? Yes, but how can we react differently and consider a “constructive” argument? For our clinical psychologist Johanna Rozenblum, the first step would come from our ability to self-evaluate.
“Defense is not a natural behavior in itself. It is rather something that comes to us from the past, from childhood or from a previous relationship, if we had the feeling of not being taken into account, not listened to enough, and which means that from now on in the event of conflict , we withdraw into ourselves, we avoid, or we react by attacking, rather than by listening.
The first thing to do would therefore be to recognize that this reaction comes from ourselves and not from the other, who is not aggressive. “It’s about understanding what situations put us in this defensive state and why? What triggers this feeling of having to defend yourself in order to work on it.”
Once identified, this reaction can be “bypassed” by calming down in some way, until you can sit down and listen to your partner without taking it as an attack.. To this end, it is possible to take 5 minutes to calm down, practice slow breathing, or try to isolate the negative ideas that come to you and replace them with more realistic thoughts. So that the dialogue resumes without animosity.