There isn’t one couple in the world that doesn’t have arguments, and there is no person out there who doesn’t hate them. Truth be told, we’d rather they didn’t exist in the first place, but we are also rather unwilling to always give into our partner’s whims by constantly apologizing. So, how do you defuse an argument without apologizing? It only takes one word. Anastasia Date explains.
Anastasia Date: This One Word Can Help Defuse Arguments
As Hal Runkel, a marriage and family therapist and the author of many books on parenting and relationships (including his most recent “Choose Your Own Adulthood“) puts it: “No one can touch you like the one you expose yourself most to, but no one can hurt you like the one you expose yourself the most to.” Which is why we often lose control when we argue with our significant other, saying the exact things we know will cause them hurt out of spite for being hurt ourselves. And once a word has left our mouth, there is no going back.
In an interview hosted by Business Insider, Runkel shared his wisdom with readers, saying that one small word can make things a whole lot better during an argument. This word is “Ouch”.
How And When To Say It
Runkel says we hardly ever use this word. Instead, according to the expert: “When [you’re] in conflict, inevitably [you] will say something that hurts the other person using the ‘inside information’ that you have on them or that they have on you.”
So, when you know your partner has issues with her family, for instance, you might use this info next time you have an argument, saying something like: “Even your sister thinks you’re a selfish person, you’ve been like this all your life”, just to make your argument stronger and hurt her with this convenient truth.
It is exactly in situations like this that Runkel suggests we use the word “Ouch”. What he proposes we say is something like “Ouch. That one hurt. I don’t know if you were meaning to hurt me; I don’t know if that’s what you were going for – but that’s what you did”, thus letting our significant other know exactly how their behavior has made us feel.
The Response We Should Expect
Your partner will most probably go on the defensive and say, “But you’ve said some pretty hurtful things to me too!”
To which you should reply: “You’re right. I have, and I hate that I have.”
According to Runkel, “That conversation —which was a very familiar path, that fight — is now a totally different path because one of you chose to actually get vulnerable. It wasn’t a step of pushing [your partner] away. It was a step of inviting [your partner] in by saying: You know what? I am open enough to you that you can actually hurt me. So now how about we talk to each other as if we actually love each other?”
By showing your partner that you are vulnerable and fallible too you are opening up a whole new kind of conversation, one that can be carried on a different, more sensitive and sensible level.
And Another Thing
Another important thing Runkel added is that your partner’s next sentence when you say how much you’ve been hurt could reveal a lot about your relationship and your partner. If they are unwilling to negotiate and carry on discussing things calmly, it is definitely bad news as it could be a sign of lack of sensitivity (and perhaps even love).
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