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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can my partner and I stop fighting so much?

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  • 1

    Thanks

    Carolien Koreneff

    Counsellor, Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Psychotherapist, Registered Nurse

    Carolien Koreneff is a Somatic (body-oriented) psychotherapist, Health Coach, Counsellor as well as a Credentialed Diabetes Educator with over 20 years experience. She currently sees … View Profile

    When 2 people are in conflict this is usually because there is a gap between what is currently happening and what both parties would like to have happen.  The first step in resolving conflict is to take ownership of the part that you are playing. Next it is advisable to take the time to listen, to really listen to what the other is trying to tell you. These things are hard to do, even though it seems so simple, simply because we feel that the other should listen to us first and should know how we feel.  It is only after one has been heard that the space to listen is created. So I guess someone has to start making a change and so it might as well be you. It appears you like something to change, as otherwise you would not have asked the question, and so I recommend to talk to your partner, open up a space to discuss what is happening open anhonestly. One word of caution though; it is important to create a safe space. It may be useful to get some help with this, there are plenty of couples Counsellors available, I am just one of them, who can help you work through some of the issues that are creating a wedge in your relationship. Good luck!

  • Family Therapy is my passion, I worked at Redbank House for 10 years, working intensely with families, primarily with children with behaviour difficulties. Then and … View Profile

    The above answer is very appropriate, adding to that, many of the clients I see don't realise they don;t have to agree on most things, the biggest fight I had with my husbank was about where to hang a pot plant!!  Obvously there are a few things you do have to agree on, schools etc etc,
    Most couples when asked what they fight about, it is often trivial things.
    The other comment I would like to make is many of the couples I see have fallen into the trap of assuming the worst of each other, taking offence when none is intended, there are easy stratagies around these difficulties.
    Good luck

    Mary Jane

  • 1

    Agree

    I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    There is so much I could say here and so much that you can do. Conflict in intimate relationships is to a certain extent just normal. It is not the presence of conflict but how we handle it that is the cause of concern. There are so many skills that you can learn in order to cease fighting with your partner. So, although I don't know anything about your relationship dynamic i recommend that you and your partner get some assistance from a skilled couple's therapist in order to learn new strategies for dealing with your conflict. It is helpful to learn what triggers each of you and what you each do in the face of conflict. I teach “rules of fair fighting” amongst many other things that help partners develop understanding and empathy for each other's position. It is important also to look below the fighting to see what the fights represent; such as life dreams that are not being taken seriously of one or both partner. Please know that all of the research suggests that it is not the conflict that is the issue which causes relationship breakdown but the failure to understand what it represents to each other (failing to really try and see each others' perspective, walk in each other's shoes) and failure to repair after a conflict. If you didn't care greatly about each other you couldn't be bothered with the fighting. So, that's a good sign. Get some help t manage your conflict and you may find that it will be a source of growth for you both in the relationship. Good luck!

  • 1

    Thanks

    Pamela Hoy

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    Offering both Hypnotherapy and Counselling for my clients is a double opportunity to change unwanted feelings, thoughts, behaviours and reactions. Accessing both the conscious and … View Profile

    As you have not disclosed any details regarding you and your partners arguments, I`m wondering if you fight over the same issue time and time again, or many different issues?  Couples can fall into the habit of quarrelling through frustration with one another, rather than the actual issue/s.   Couples counselling may be of great benefit for you both.  Trained counsellors remain non-judgemental and guide clients to understand their responsibility in the friction.  How to consider the other persons point of view, and at the same time develop skills so each partner is comfortable asking for what they consider important.  Being prepared to make changes in how both parties communicate is a great start, communication is not only speaking but also genuinely listening without a pre-conceived concept that one knows what the other is thinking and feeling.  Counsellors have many techniques to assist couples and tailor the sessions to help the individual couple. If you are ready to ask for professional help and your partner is not, it would still be helpful for you to go and discuss your concerns. I would suggest you look for a registered counsellor in your area and make an appointment.  All the best,  Pam

  • 1

    Thanks

    Tracey Frazer

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Tracey is a Clinical Psychology with over 20 years of clinical experience and her own practice in Hurstville, Sydney. She has a passion for working … View Profile

    The most important thing that you need to do is to try to identify the emotional pattern that you enter into when the conflict happens. Most couples tend to enter into a blame game as conflict escalates and it is challenging for most of us in the heat of the arguement to see our partner's emotional perspective in that moment. If you can try to de escalate this cycle and both take responsibility for the part you play in it, then it is possible to rebuild things.

    Emotion Focussed Therapy for Couples is a good approach to look at. There is a book called ‘Hold Me Tight’ by Susan Johnson that would be a good starting point but I would recommend you find a suitable couple therapist that can help you both to explore the dynamic between you. At the beginning it is difficult to de-escalate things yourselves due to heightened emotion. It is useful to have a skilled couple therapist to guide you through the process.

  • 1

    Thanks

    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    Many excellent suggestions made by others here. I would like to add that if violence is a feature of the fighting (this is any behaviour by one person that the other finds frightening or intimidating - it may be by hurting the other physically, mentally or psychologically) then it is important this is not dealt with as a relationship issue - in that case it is the responsibility of the person who is using violence to seek help and make changes. The person who is the victim of violence is NOT responsible for preventing the violence from happening. If you suspect this may be the case for you (whether you are the one using violence, or the one being affected ty someone else's violent behaviour), check out http://mrs.org.au/information-for-men/about-violence-and-control/ for more information and where to get help.

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