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Handling Disagreements


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Handling Disagreements

  1. 1. Handling DifferencesAvoiding Poison Patterns Adapted from Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, Susan L. Blumberg, Fighting for Your Marriage, Revised (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000).
  2. 2. Our Mate Has an Emotional“Bank Account”1. Affection and care 2. Tensions and hurts act as deposits act as withdrawals• Regular deposits • 1 negative interaction keep the marriage makes a withdrawal strong and resilient worth 5-10 deposits
  3. 3. All Couples Have About theSame Degree of Conflict Key difference among couples is how conflict is managed •About 80% of differences cannot be resolved •Happy couples don’t let disagreements poison their friendship; distressed couples do
  4. 4. What Is Your Parents’ Conflict Style?1. Volatile • Each style has• You value frankness and strengths and passionately fight and make up weaknesses2. Validating • Key is for you both• You value closeness and to find a shared seek to understand each other style3. Avoidant• You tolerate differences and don’t argue much
  5. 5. 5 Poison Patterns to Avoid IThese habits quickly drain warmth and safety1. Criticism: Blame Game2. Escalation: Ugly Out-doing
  6. 6. 5 Poison Patterns to Avoid IIThese habits quickly drain warmth and safety1. Criticism: Blame Game2. Escalation: Ugly Out-doing3. Contempt: Painful Put-downs
  7. 7. 5 Poison Patterns to Avoid IIIThese habits quickly drain warmth and safety1. Criticism: Blame Game2. Escalation: Ugly Out-doing3. Contempt: Painful Put-downs4. Negative Interpretation: Looking for Dirt5. Withdrawal: Hide & Seek
  8. 8. Tool: Time Out1. Discuss examples of “Time Out” or “Pause” words or gestures you have seen in other couples2. Discuss what word or gesture your couple might use• Use before a conflict gets destructive• Break for 20 minutes or postpone discussion to a later agreed-upon time
  9. 9. What Issues Cause Conflict for Couples?
  10. 10. Issues that Cause Conflict• Money • Communication• Children • Careers• Sex • Housework• In-laws • Recreation• Independence • Religion• Substance abuse
  11. 11. Issues Alone Don’t Usually CauseFightsMost issues come out during stressful incidents• Often the only times couples discuss issues• We often avoid talking about emotionally loaded topics
  12. 12. Issues Come Out During Incidents Incidents IssuesUnresolved issues build up Need to gainpressure control over•Erupt when triggered by incidents issues or they•Worst times to deal with issues will control you
  13. 13. Agree to Discuss IssuesApart from Incidents1. During a triggering incident, Protects friendship agree to talk at a later time time• Create the time and safety to •Dispels fear of understand each other explosive incidents• Meet later •Calms concerns• Go for a walk about never• Write each other first talking about issues2. Hold regular Couple Meetings• Save discussion of issues until then
  14. 14. Couples Can Learn toHandle Conflict Well• Reverse these poison patterns and repair their damage• Make their relationship safe and protect their friendship• Use disagreements to build closeness
  15. 15. Tool: Discussion Strategies1. Think about what might be the best way you could communicate with your partner about an issue that bothers you.• Consider good examples you have seen2. Share this with each other.3. Look for a strategy you could agree on.