How to Love when you Hate to Fight

Right. So yesterday’s post? Feel, Felt, Found? I’m sure you felt like I was just putting you off, dragging things out for the sake of a good story, but really I picked it for a reason. It shows, you see, how I handle conflict (calmly, quietly, slowly and yes, wrapped up in a pyschobabble bubble of corporate nonsense-speak and yoga-infused rhetoric because really, conflict terrifies me and I can’t deal with it any other way).


It also shows how the majority of the population deals with conflict, how stubborn, strong willed people like my mother deal with conflict.

And luckily this was pointed out to me before I made a big mistake.

(I will, once again, get to that later but suffice it to say, the past 24 hours have been rather dramatic; I almost snuffed out the story of the flowers before it began.)

So now I’m curious, and as I find myself navigating previously uncharted territories, I need help.

You have the people like me and my father, who keep our tempers in check for better or worse, and you have the people like my mother and my younger brother, who fly off the handle.

Which are you?  (If you had to say.)  And how (more importantly) do you bridge the gap between the two?

14 Responses to “How to Love when you Hate to Fight”

  1. landlord no longer

    I don’t think either way is good, and yes as we all know I’m a “fly off the handle” type and I hate it, as I’ve gotten older I’ve recognized how toxic that is, but being married to a “silent” partner isn’t what it is cracked up to be either. Patience, underlying respect and love for the other person in the conflict is what helps these two types of “coping” avoidance strategies make it through to the other side. They are learned behaviors, and it has taken a loooooooong time but at least now I know when I am doing it and try to backtrack much quicker than I used to. After the fur flies, and things cool down, the real dialog begins, and at least with my silent partner, it feels as though w/out the fur flying, sometimes I would never get to the root of what HE is feeling. I know that sounds like a cop out, and I don’t think that makes it okay to lose it, but stuff simmering under the surface and no one talking about it doesn’t work either. I can ask him ten times if something is bothering him and the answer is always the same, until it shows up elsewhere…good thing I like mysteries, because HE doesn’t even admit to himself that something is wrong.

    Funny how your father learned his coping mechanism from his mom and I learned it from my dad, so much for Dr. Phil’s, “the most influential parent is the same sex parent” 😦 Does that mean he married his dad and I married my mom? LOL YIKES!

    • Zak

      “and I don’t think that makes it okay to lose it, but stuff simmering under the surface and no one talking about it doesn’t work either.”

      Agreed 100% percent. I am (often too) quick to want to attack the problem. C is much more ready to let it simmer, and think about it. When I slow myself down, or she tries to address it sooner, we’re okay. When we revert to my “fly off the handle” and her let it simmer, we end up arguing, typically worse and less related to the main issue in the first place.

      Your mom’s advice about recognizing our own traits and then trying to, wanting to, meet in the middle, is the only way I know how to actually bridge the gap. Both parties have to want to meet in the middle, not force the other to see it “their” way.

    • Kat Richter

      @ Former Landlord: Yeah, I like a lot of stuff Dr. Phil has to say but in this case he is full of hooey! I guess that fact that you and Pop have been married for like 900 years is a testament to the fact that you can make different “fighting styles” work if you’ve got enough going on in the patience/respect/love department 😉

      @ Zak: Yes, I was just reading a book about relationships called “The Radical Marriage” by David Steele (which I’ll be posting about in greater detail one of these days) and in it, he addressed the notion of compromise as a lose-lose (both parties are giving up things, and both parties aren’t getting what they want). Meeting each other halfway (or negotiating) is much better than compromising (trying to get the other person to come over to your point of view). Sounds like you and C and doing quite well in this department 🙂

  2. Susan

    HMMM, makes one think. I am a smoldered, I think, holding my tongue until I can find a way to bring up whatever difficult topic it might be. I hate confrontation, emotional outburst directed at me or being misinterpreted. If I find myself behaving passive aggressively, or withdrawing, I try to find a way to voice my anger in as rational a way as possible, mostly through asking direct clarifying questions. My biggest internal struggle is with jealousy, but as I get older that seems to be dissapating. I once had a boyfriend who liked to provoke arguments necause he liked making up. I found that sick! Life provides enough conflict without having to make it up!

    • Kat Richter

      Wow! Fighting just to make up? I don’t think I could be with someone like that either. That said, I do always feel better after things boil over (I guess that’s the whole point of conflict: to bring about some sort productive resolution). But I’m definitely with you on the whole hating conflict thing. I don’t even like listening to other people argue, even if it has nothing to do with me or I don’t even know the people involved. People fighting just makes me uncomfortable.

  3. Debbie

    I hate confrontation as well and I got that from my mom. Growing up, my parents never yelled at each other and if my mom got angry or sad she would get really quiet. I’m also really sensitive so an offhand remark could easily hurt my feelings. Now when I get upset or hurt about something I try to give myself 24 hours to see if it was a legitimate reason for getting upset and if it was then I force myself to bring it up in a civil conversation. Unfortunately the last time I did this it brought on my breakup but life is too short to hold things in and it was for the best anyway.

    • Kat Richter

      Well that’s good to hear! I can’t imagine the eventual break up was the sort of “positive reinforcement” you needed for trying to deal with things in a civil manner but I’m glad to hear that it was for the best in the long run. It’s just tricky if you abide by the 24 hour “cool down” rule and your partner doesn’t. I usually try to (granted, I don’t always succeed) but I have always found it hard in relationships to give my partner space if he needs 24 hours (especially if I know something is up, Then I’m like, “What’s wrong? Let’s talk about this…”) Sigh… I guess that’s why they say relationships take work!

  4. essbee14

    I’m (for better or worse) usually a quiet seether. I used to pride myself on not getting upset quickly, but as I’ve grown older I can see how sometimes I’ll end up holding onto that emotion waaaay longer than I should. There’s probably a magical middle ground that I’ll find someday, right?

    • Kat Richter

      Yes, I’m with you on the quiet seething… Sadly 😦 I wonder if maybe it’s not so much about finding the middle ground but being to shift from one to the other at the situation (and people involved) require?

  5. Aileen Donegan

    From the sound of it I’m mostly like you and your father – quiet anger, polite to the core. I was told once that one of my biggest flaws is that I’m “too nice”. Not sure how to bridge the gap…

    • Kat Richter

      Yeah, “too nice” is something I always think about myself after I should have confronted someone but don’t have the guts to do it (I’m usually hissing at myself under my breath at this point).

    • Kat Richter

      Haha! Well, in answer to your question, I am pretty much perpetually exhausted! I went to bed at 10pm last night, woke up at 7am (which equals 9 hours) and I would still just like to crawl back between the covers! But I’m working on it… trying to get more sleep on a regular basis (9 hours is an anomaly), sending the new man BACK to his place every once in a while, doing yoga, drinking green tea, cutting back on caffeine, etc. Heading over to your blog now– thanks for sharing!


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