Engagement Coach: How to stop the fighting - KMSP-TV

Engagement Coach: How to stop the fighting

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Why is it SO hard to stop a fight with your partner once it starts?! Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Engagement Coach, shares tips for stopping a fight in its tracks, before it gets carried away!

Go to bed angry. Forget about the old adage "never go to bed angry". Sometimes, a resolution isn't possible when you're angry and it's bedtime. Often, going to bed upset is the best choice, as it gives each partner a chance to clear their thoughts, get some sleep, and decide in the morning if the fight is worth resuming.

Take a break. In most relationships, there is one partner who needs a "time-out". Taking a break, preferably BEFORE the argument escalates, can help alleviate unnecessary hurt and anger. The important part of taking a break is to set a time to reconnect and discuss the issue at hand reasonably.

Take accountability for your part of the fight. Admitting what you did wrong is really important. Nothing feels worse than invalidation when you're truly upset about something, so saying "I'm sorry" and expressing empathy for your partner's feelings can go a long way.

Find the humor. Humor is a great de-escalation technique, but only works if both partners are committed to not wanting to fight. Otherwise known as "repair attempts", interjecting humor into your conflict {respectfully, of course} can really put things into perspective.

Change your "But" to "And". You can't expect your partner to feel validated if there's a "but" after everything you say. Try switching your "but" to an "and". . . it evokes more of a "I get your perspective AND I have feelings too". Rather than "I sort of get your perspective, BUT let me tell you why it's not right".

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