June 01, 2010

Fighting Fair

Posted by Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird at 10:15 PM

I will admit this. I am not a nice fighter. I'm not sure WHY. But I have a bad temper and when it's set off I EXPLODE. We're talking screaming, saying nasty things, being an all out bitch. It's not a pretty sight and I am the first to admit that it's probably not all that healthy either.

Any guy I've ever been with has probably had a good taste of my temper but my husband probably has had it the worst because he's been with me nearly 5 years (and counting). We have had some BAD fights. When my temper goes off I bring out the worst in Dustin. And so things just go from bad to worse.

One of my 101 in 1001 is to start fighting fair. The thing is, I have no idea how to do this! I always start off wanting to be calm and collected, to lay my cards on the table, do this "I feel ______ when you do/say _____." However, the minute my emotions get heightened I find myself losing all control! And before I know it I'm locked in the bedroom sobbing hysterically and probably making my neighbors wish they had a shotgun to put me (and them) out of my misery.

So my questions to those of you that DO fight fair is this:

  • How do you do it?
  • How do you keep your temper under control and have a fair, clean fight?
  • What can I do to keep myself from screaming, stomping my feet and throwing a temper tantrum?

Because seriously, I need a new "plan of attack."


Smart Ass Sara on June 2, 2010 at 4:43 AM said...

Um..you can't?? :) LOL! Matt and I have had a TON of nasty fights all because of him and his fucked up mental health issues. Which sounds worse because I do know that it's a mental health issue but I'm so logical I seriously think he should be able to control it. Which he can't. Which pisses me off. AND we're opposite fighters. He turns into a mute while I rage and scream. Which pisses me off even more because it's like he doesn't even get it. Annoying.

What I've had to do is basically tell him why I'm mad, why it's a big deal, and walk away. Then it's up to him to approach me and I turn into the mute. So far, so good.

I mean...he's still alive. I think that says something. ;)

The Non-Student on June 2, 2010 at 6:29 AM said...

Sometimes screaming is worth it and necessary if it's something major. But in the little day-to-day, not necessarily daily spats it's important that I remember that I'm not the only one with an opinion that matters. I definitely say what I think, but then I try my damnedest to listen to what my partner has to say to and really, really hear him out. Usually I see that he has a valid point, and though I may not adopt it, it helps deescalate the intensity of it a bit. It also helps me see what the underlying issue is--usually not the immediate thing in front of me.

Faiza on June 2, 2010 at 7:03 AM said...

i'm fiery like you. for me, timing is everything.

as soon as you feel the heat, walk away, cool ALL THE WAY down. breathe deep and gather your thoughts. otherwise all he hears is the fire and not your words.

he married you. he loves you. he wants to hear the words and your words are important. :)

Cara Smith on June 2, 2010 at 7:32 AM said...

Two of the biggest factors in a fair fight is no name calling and no bringing up old crap.

Those two things don't solve anything and can only make a fight worse.

Jess on June 2, 2010 at 10:16 AM said...

First off. We all have things we aren't proud of but you're husband knew this about you before he married you right (?) so I'm assuming he loves you just as much after. And he should appreciate that you are genuinely trying to make an effort to better this about yourself, because at the end of the day, yes. It is very important to fight fair.

My advice based on personal and a little bit of educational background (I minored in family & marriage relations :) not just blowing smoke up your behind) is to realize your needs in a fight.
Obviously, you have to take yourself out of the situation if you feel you're going to blow. 1) Go for a walk. Don't stay in the house to cool off. Knowing he's in the other room is too much temptation but you do need to let off steam somewhere.
2) Try really really hard not to use names, or bring things up from the past. That is a big big no no. Also, avoid things like "you always do this...or you never do that.." --> bad. Stay away from those.
3) Try hard to stay focused on the actual issue. Maybe on your walk or "cool down" look at it from all angles. Then go back and 4) give each other a turn to explain their own side without any interruptions (!!!) and then take a step back and together look for a way to resolve it for the better.

MrsCaptKerk on June 2, 2010 at 10:22 AM said...

I don't know if you would consider this "fair fighting" but I'm notorious for the silent treatment. I have the same problem as you, I will just say whatever verbal diarrhea comes out of my mouth. However, I have learned if I just zip it up and walk away, I keep myself from saying those things.

I feel bad because my husband (at the time boyfriend) didn't get it. He thought it was immature. However, he has seen me get mad and now he understands my "zip it up and shut up" ways.

After a little while, I calm down and tell him what I think.

Meghan on June 2, 2010 at 10:37 AM said...

When confrontation arises, I always get super emotional - maybe not angry, per se, but definitely emotional. It's hard to think rationally when tempers flare. That being said, what has worked for me is simply walking away and cooling my head for 10 minutes or so. This is hard for me because I am the type who always needs a resolution, right here/right now. But it seems to have helped in the past:)

Namine on June 2, 2010 at 1:32 PM said...

I use to fight crazy all the time. But I found that if I just took a break or wrote out my feelings instead of talking it helped keep me cool.

ModernMom on June 2, 2010 at 8:24 PM said...

I'm a hot tempered Sassy mama, but think I do fight fair.
We have rules.
No name calling.
Limit the swearing. lol
and corny but, never go to bed mad. It has made for some pretty late nights....but we have been married for 13 years so far, so something is working.

my name is lauren. on June 2, 2010 at 10:52 PM said...

fighting fair is really difficult.

craig and i do many of the things that the other wives are saying:

*never use "never" or "always" statements
*use "i feel" statements
*no cussing. we can cuss when we're playing around, but when it's a fight it really upsets me.

often though, i get super emotional like meghan. i go to my room and lay on the bed and have a good cry. then usually craig comes in and apologizes for being a douche and then i apologize for whatever it was that i did wrong. usually though we just fight really quickly. "quick and dirty" ha! and if all else fails, we just sleep on it. i always thought the "never go to bed angry rule" was a good one. but then one night i was way too tired tokeep re-hashing the situation so we just went to sleep and in the morning we both felt infinitely better - don't know if that's healthy, but it works for us.

Aubrey S. on June 3, 2010 at 8:53 AM said...

My mister and I both have hot tempers as well. When we were going through pre-marital counselling, our pastor suggested that we come up with a code word, something silly, that meant we had to take a break. I'm not saying it works for us all the time, but it helps let the other person know when we're about to cross that line.

Also, we don't call names. I grew up with that and know how hurtful it is. I just don't want those kinds of words lingering for years, and they will. So no matter how mad I am, I just won't let myself do that.

Connie on June 3, 2010 at 12:28 PM said...

My hubby taught me to fight fair... or well not really, but when my temper gets the best of me, he just says "I don't want to talk to you when you're like this" and he leaves. At first this really pisses me off, but he knows me well enough that after an hour or two I have calmed down and can talk to him in a nicer tone.
But fighting fair is not my speciality either, because if some things bother me at work I take it our on my husband... to which he just say "I'm not the one to blame here" and I know that, but sometimes it's just easier to blame him...

Life of a Doctor's Wife on June 3, 2010 at 1:48 PM said...

You sound a lot like me! I am such an exploder.

I work all the time at fighting fair - and that definitely means keeping my temper under control. (Which is a work in progress.) But I think more important than that is that some things are just off limits - no matter how made we get. No one is allowed to say the "d" word. No one is allowed to say "I hate you." And we are not allowed to bring up old issues - we just need to focus on the existing thing. (That last one is the toughest. We both sometimes drag up old issues.)

We also give each other time to cool off. Well, my husband gives me time to cool off. :-) That often involves me lying on my bed sobbing, getting madder and self-pitying about the fact that he hasn't chased after me. (He will never chase after me.) But eventually we both cool down and kiss and make up.

samnhal on June 3, 2010 at 2:05 PM said...

I don't think that you can always fight fare, but it really is about learning to keep your temper in check. It's recognizing when you're beginning to get heated, and not let yourself get to that point. What works for me is when I realize I get heated I take a deep breath, apologize for getting heated, and then proceed to talk in a more calm voice. It really helps the other one from getting heated too. Also, the speaker listener technique can help a lot. It's where one person talks, says it all, and then the other person has to repeat back to them what they said, so instead of thinking of their comeback they are thinking of what you're saying. And then it switches positions and they talk and you listen and repeat what you think they said. Then you can correct them if they aren't understanding it. Hope that helps!

Dr. Heckle on June 4, 2010 at 4:24 PM said...

I commented on the wrong post, cuz I'm a tard like that.

Anyways, I think you should wrestle it out in an inflatable pool of KY.

Outside of that, I got nothin'. I don't know how to fight fair myself...

Mama Hen on June 5, 2010 at 8:56 PM said...

I think we have all had our moments! What a picture! There is always the point of perspective when it comes to having an argument. Thank you for your really kind comment on Mama's Little Chick. You will see me around. Hope to see you back at the Hen House!

Mama Hen

T&T on June 8, 2010 at 12:41 PM said...

This was a major issue for hubby and I when we first got married. With a little counseling and alot of growing up we have learned to manage it.
We simply do not discuss it until we are calmed down. And honestly for the most part... we never talk about it because it wasn't a big enough issue to bring up later. We both figure out what we did wrong on our own and try to resolve it.
Its hilarious because days later I will think, "hey I was mad at you".
I hate fighting with hubby so this has been great for us.

carma on June 8, 2010 at 3:11 PM said...

I have the opposite problem - I'm generally calm which causes people to walk all over me. I've only totally freaked out once or twice -- at which time I was slinging vacuum parts around the living room :D That was not a good day.

Jessica O'Brien on June 9, 2010 at 8:06 PM said...

i fight fair only because it's the only way my husband will allow. whether on purpose or just because he has no clue what else to do, when i go into fight mode, he shuts down. blank stare. no words. he won't engage me and i calm down.

i've come to realize sometimes i need to "freak out" and yell and scream and cry. and that's ok. i just need to do it alone and not directed at my husband. then, when i'm calm - it's time to talk.

i say - write a letter or list and come prepared with a discussion in mind. also, ask your partner to support your efforts by shutting you down if you start up. have him help you stop and pause, instead of engaging you.

Fashion, Art and other fancies on June 11, 2010 at 7:43 AM said...

I don't fight. When I feel one is approaching - I go for a walk in the woods - upon return my head is clear and thoughts brighter. Anger is a sign of fear - so one has to tackle one and then the other. Anger is ugly - it destroys beauty.

Alli on June 11, 2010 at 3:51 PM said...

The only way I can is when my guy backs down. It's awful but he'll apologize straight away before anything escalates and I feel so bad for getting mad that I always just apologize right away! He doesn't rise to any bait and in turn it cools me down immediately. I wish I was as good and self controlled as he is.

Chelsy on June 17, 2010 at 10:12 AM said...

recently learned a lew little technique that I think is pretty cool called the listener/speaker technique. what you do is purposefully repeat back to the person the message that you think they are saying which stops miscommunication. conversation goes something like this:

Wife: When you don't clean up after yourself, it makes me feel like all my work around here is for nothing.

Husband: So you're saying that when I leave a mess, it make you feel unappreciated?

Wife: exactly, I feel like you are take my work for granted.

the reverse:

Husband: when you yell about cleaning up, it makes me feel like a child.

wife: so you're saying when I yell about it, you feel belittled.

see? it doesn't have to be that specific or cheesy, but the general idea works so well because the other person feels heard. it helps you get to the core of the issue and can put a cork in unnecessary word/emotion vomit.
this website goes through some of the key principals of the technique like speaking in small chunks, etc. check it out!

Slyde on June 18, 2010 at 2:55 PM said...

holy cow is that picture priceless!

i love it!

SogniSorrisi on June 21, 2010 at 11:00 PM said...

I'm not sure how I do it, I'm just one of those people who can keep my head in intense situations and it drives my husband BANANAS. He is much more liable to say something he doesn't mean, which is why he usually clams up when we're fighting, which actually serves to make me more mad than anything else. I need to see things to the end.

That said, I don't know who invented that "don't go to bed angry..." thing. BS if you ask me. If you're someone who gets worked up in the heat of the moment the best thing you can do is take a break, even sleep on it.

Jade "Purple" Brown on June 25, 2010 at 5:19 PM said...

that perfect is crazy!

Le Chateau des fleurs on June 27, 2010 at 3:57 PM said...

Well...From my experience...If you get too stressed with a fight, someday you will get panic attacks...Your body will do weird things, hyperventilate etc.... I stay away from fights with anyone. I have notice that after i had kids. My hormones and body doesn't react the same. So we talk and i stay away from too much drama. I don't let the small things bug me anymore also. I don't nag.

Have you heard about "stress killing you".
You don't see it when you are young but in your 40...people feel it.

I Had to learn how to communicate with hubby and get along. If there is things that end up in fights. I avoid talking about differences.

Marriage is very hard.
Too many divorces out there. Getting along is needed in this world.
I am not the best at it. But i try.

Elle Sees on June 29, 2010 at 2:46 PM said...

I leave the room and cool down. But I never say things that I know I will regret later.

Molotov on June 30, 2010 at 10:39 AM said...

OK, so this appears to be the only comment from a man...which I seem to be encountering more and more as I enter the blogging world. I remember hearing a story somewhere about a man who lived well into his old age. When asked about it, he credited it to he and his wife of 50 years never fighting. He said when they got mad, he left and went for a walk until he calmed down. He said the daily fresh air really helped his health...:)

In reality, it takes mental toughness to fight fair. Once it becomes about anything other than what you can control (your feelings) it is time to take a walk. Easier said than done.

Jennifer on July 6, 2010 at 10:32 AM said...

I concur with leaving. Completely. You must remove yourself and get your emotions under control. Once, I had to leave about 6 times during the same "conversation". :)

Indie.Tea on July 8, 2010 at 4:45 PM said...

Fighting itself is a bit "unfair" - it implies a loss of control - letting one's emotions overcome logic and reason. So I don't think fighting is ever really "fair", and no one can possibly be a "nice" fighter. The main thing is to try and think logically, at least thats what I think.

Jen on July 14, 2010 at 10:20 AM said...

This is seriously the cutest blog! I love that all you have gotten together and created this adorable blog and I am certainly following to see what other things I might take away from this.

As far as fighting with my husband we've been married three years and we don't really have them. They are more of tiffs, small arguements, but my husband is so kind and level headed that he seems to bring out the best in me. I do find when frustrated we talk about it before it escalates. I've never been a fighter, nor has my husband, we both immediately look for the solution and so far it's worked!

Julesagain on July 18, 2010 at 1:29 PM said...

I'm brand new to your blog, so please forgive me for diving right in on such a big topic, but I feel qualified to speak on it because I used to indulge my terrible temper on a regular basis.

I was married for 29 years, and then we had something that was just too big and too horrific to overcome. But we did have a lot of good years before that. And I learned to fight fair, mostly because I learned to control my temper. I did not use the word "indulge" lightly. I think there are several things at play for someone with a bad temper and the unpleasant proclivity to use it.

1. If you've never had a good role model for fighting fair and resolving issues, it becomes about the fighting itself - winning points instead of solving problems. If you have no role model, then often the only arguing you've seen is what I call "Jerry Springer/soap opera arguing" - Make a big, sweeping, brilliant point and sweep out of the room for maximum drama. LOTS of drama win points, zero problem resolution points.

My ex said something very valuable to me once, and thankfully I heard it and took it to heart - "You make a big dramatic point and then flounce out or slam the door, and there's no more discussion. That isn't fair." He was right. Notice he didn't do it in the politically correct "when you do X it hurts me." Bah. Sometimes you have to call it like you see it. Just no cussing and no names, please.

2. I'm going to bring up indulgent again, because I truly believe it is self indulgent to let that temper fly free. It's wrong, it's unfair, it's occasionally scary for the spouse and/or kids to view someone allowing themselves to "lose" control. It also becomes easier and easier to "lose" control if you allow it and are allowed. It isn't a loss of control, its a throwing self-control to the wind for the temporary feeling of power and "I just wanna be MAD now, dammit" feeling. Not constructive. Not healthy. Not a good role model.

3. People who are verbally quick and talented REALLY have no excuse for being hurtful or destructive during an argument. I used to think, almost with pride, how quickly I could make a devastating point, but really I was just overly impressed with my own verbal agility. So, SO attractive. Now I'd rather appear wise and thoughtful for sticking to the issue, and choosing my words carefully. Because, as my ego tells me, I surely can pick out words. Whoop dee doo. Solve a tricky issue about money, or showing up on time, or drinking? Now THAT'S clever.

4. If you have a terrible temper, the "don't sleep 'til you solve it" is terrible advice. Defensive, hostile, angry, belittling words do NOT serve to come to a compromise OR further the growth in marriage, and if that's all you're capable of in your rage, try to stop talking. Just stop. And without cutting off the other person, say "I'm just repeating myself here, and getting madder and madder, and that's going to make this worse. Can we agree to think about it and try to work this out later, either talking or writing it?"

5. "Try not. Do." --Yoda

6. My mother had some good advice along these lines too - "Once you've said something, those words are out there and in someone's mind and heart forever. You can't take them back."


Sandra on July 27, 2010 at 12:59 AM said...

I fight fair because I can't stand it when the other person isn't fighting fair...so let's never fight, I'd lose, then I'd cry, and run out of the room swearing never to return!
This works on my husband. Is this fair?

jules on July 28, 2010 at 6:47 PM said...

Deep breaths. I try to make light of fights because I hate fighting. Sometimes, (and I know it sounds lame) I'll tell my fellow very calmly that I am VERY angry with him. Sometimes that allows us to have a proper convo.

Danica Keeley on August 3, 2010 at 4:00 PM said...

I am getting engaged soon and I happened to find your blog...it is so inspiring. You have wit and class I just adore it! Newest follower!

Shelley on August 4, 2010 at 1:33 PM said...

I kept seeing you on a bunch of blogs I read and I wish I had come to check you out sooner! Love your blog!

Kellie Collis on August 7, 2010 at 2:02 AM said...

Hmmmm perhaps that you have to always make an effort, happiness isnt just automatic! xxx

Ms. Chyme on August 7, 2010 at 7:30 AM said...

This is very education for me because i am still single hahhaha i have to learn more and be prepared. Nice post, tnx for sharing.

Megan (Best of Fates) on August 12, 2010 at 1:33 PM said...

I just made a scrapbook of marriage advice for my best friend's wedding present and now I wish I'd included that!

LambAround on August 14, 2010 at 11:46 AM said...

Oooooh, someone is almost at 200 followers. Very exciting :)

I was all set to comment on your above post, (to the tune of "tough lessons? I came *this close* to divorcing the poor guy!") but your photo here stole my attention away. There did you get it? Are those your pets?? They're crazier than mine!

Anonymous said...

as someone who just stumbled upon this site, I just wanted to offer a piece of advice that I read:

hold hands while you fight.

that probably sounds stupid, but it really does help keep things calm. hope that helps :)

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but I just found your blog (which I love).

My husband and I have been married for 11 years this week. I had your temper as well. I was cured because my husband came close to having an affair. You want to know how to cure it and fight fair? Imagine your husband in the arms of another woman who doesn't belittle him or take him for granted. Now my husband did not go that far but it was still easy to imagine losing him.

A temper or spirited personality is a genetic trait...ask Peter. He was an all or nothing guy and Jesus used him to further the kingdom of God. Through maturity Peter became the Rock.

I still blow up every once in a while but not as much and not as bad. Some of that may come with age, some with circumstances. It is vital to the success of your marriage to learn to respect your husband, not allowing your tantrums to be a time to slash away at his soul. And that is what dirty fighting is. Your husband is 'stuck' with you, so it is easy to abuse him.

Another great imagery is, how would you feel to watch his boss treat him the way you do? Most of us spirited people would have our boxing gloves on so fast. "No one will treat my ___ like that." How do you think his mom would feel to watch you treat him that way? Scarier- how about Jesus? Can't you just see Him shaking His head, looking down and saying Peter, Peter, Peter. Lauren, Lauren, Lauren.

It is good that you apologize but someday he may get tired of the apologies but lack of actual change. Determine in your mind that he is a precious jewel given to you by God. Cut to perfection, sparkling jewel. If you chose to regularly loose your temper without restraint, you are taking a hammer and busting pieces off of your jewel. Before long it will loose it's luster and the cut will be gone and a ill-formed worthless stone will be sitting there.

Best of luck. I've been there and there is victory through God. Ask Him to help you see your husband for the jewel he is and to love him.

Anonymous said...

Oops. Sorry I though Lauren wrote this. Sorry Krysten!

Katelyn on September 1, 2010 at 8:17 PM said...

That is so sweet! From a (hopefully) future wife, I promise to take your wisdom to heart! :)

Sara on September 8, 2010 at 12:38 PM said...

thank you so much for this post and this honest discussion... it came just when I needed it. everyone has such great advice- no name calling and no past bringing up...I agree with #4 from Jules... sometimes, going to bed is just what I need. Keeping the "fight" going all night isn't a good plan for me. I need time away.. time to myself...time to calm down and look inward and say "that was the wrong way to behave."

(p.s I just found this blog and I am glad I did- I am following now & looking forward to reading more)

asj on September 28, 2010 at 3:21 PM said...

I wish I could give advice here but I have none... I do NOT fight fair... I too, am working on it..

Robin on November 24, 2010 at 12:52 PM said...

you do a good martha impression in that photo!

Anonymous said...

This is such wonderful information and SOOO important for people to realize!!

hope you had a great weekend girl!

Katie on April 25, 2013 at 3:28 PM said...

I'm not sure if you are the one who is in charge of the Midwest blogger blog but I thought I would email you personally and maybe you could put the word out!

There is a Midwest blogger meet up this summer (overnight in Chicago) on June 22nd 2013. Miranda at Aimless Translation is putting it together.


Could you possible post about this on the Minnesota blogger site?

Miranda also needs people to respond to her post from today so she can get a final headcount and book a hotel wing.

I am very good friends with Jen from Dexter Morgan's Mama and I know she is coming. I think Jess told me from Jess Is more that she is coming as well.

I thought that maybe if there were enough of you from MN you guys could car pool.

Otherwise I know I am driving down to Chicago and I told Jen I would be willing to car pool with you girls.

Let me know!


Kelly {Sparkles and Shoes} on July 10, 2013 at 9:57 PM said...

I agree, SO great!

Sparkles and Shoes

The Childlike Empress on November 14, 2013 at 2:51 PM said...

oh gosh, my husband is way tidier and cleaner than i am, so it was a big adjustment of him relaxing his standards and me upping mine!

i hate made beds and he likes them. we had to compromise that the bed can be made 50% of the time and unmade 50%, its all about the give and take!


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