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Author Topic: COMMUNICATION: How to stop circular arguments  (Read 16017 times)
united for now
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« on: May 03, 2010, 11:22:26 AM »

We've all been in them - those horrible arguments discussions. You know, the ones that make you want to

They go round and round and round.
Your SO doesn't even make sense half the time.
You're not even sure what you are arguing about  rolleyes
They can go on for hours and hours.
No one ever wins them.
Both people get hurt by them.

You want to pull your hair out  barfy

Why do they happen?
Cause our partners are mentally ill and have difficulty expressing themselves in clear enough fashion for us to understand.
Cause our partners are mentally ill and feelings = facts to them.
Cause our partners are mentally ill and they need to control what they can - us.
Cause our partners are mentally ill and can't stand to lose.

Cause we like to "be right" too.
Cause we can't let it go either.
Cause we need to prove our point.
Cause we are too afraid to walk away from the argument.
Cause we want to hurt them back.
Cause we feel trapped - either literally or emotionally.
Cause we hope that we can change their minds.
Cause we hope that we can get them to understand.
Cause we are co-dependent and need to "fix" them and their flawed way of thinking.

How do we stop them?
By taking control of the only thing you can - yourself.

That means that you recognize what is happening - a pointless argument that is going badly and that needs to end - then finding the courage/strength/attitude to  take action and take a TIME OUT .
~ You don't wait to win or lose. It's not a competition.
~ You don't worry about how they will respond. This is about protecting yourself - not them.
~ You don't hope that it will end soon. You are not a helpless victim.
~ You don't fear their anger. You have a right to protect yourself from harm.

Write this on something and read it 10 times a day till you firmly get it.
* Don't argue
* Don't defend
* Don't justify
* Don't explain
* Don't counter attack
* Take care of yourself and take a time out.


Do you feel strong enough to stop the argument?

What do you fear if you don't?



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JDoe
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2010, 11:50:06 AM »

I'm just printing this out- since this is a very sore subject for me and wehe (DH) tends to do this so often, I think he'd be a good attorney- winning just because the judge wants him to be quiet!
Looking forward to others' responses.
Thanks, UFN!  I wanna be more like you when I grow up!
JDoe
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dados76
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2010, 12:15:12 PM »

most of the time.. if R and i get stuck going round and round.. its bc hes trying to get validation.. so he keeps saying the same thing.. phrased different until that happens.. sometimes.. or adding more and more reasons why he feels ___

i think.. validating is just a skill that takes a lot of practice.. and a lot of willingness to use.. not willing to learn to validate.. probably not going to be a real fun relationship for the person w/bpd or the person with them..

we dont have to many 'discussions' like that tho.. hes getting a lot better at saying if he needs a minute to figure out how to explain what is going on.. and what is happening
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Nutts45
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2010, 12:27:37 PM »

UFN I wanted to say how lucky we are you have remained to guide us.  I love the wisdom that you give in your post.

Quote
That means that you recognize what is happening - a pointless argument that is going badly and that needs to end - then finding the courage/strength/attitude to  take action and take a  TIME OUT .
~ You don't wait to win or lose. It's not a competition.
~ You don't worry about how they will respond. This is about protecting yourself - not them.
~ You don't hope that it will end soon. You are not a helpless victim.
~ You don't fear their anger. You have a right to protect yourself from harm.

Write this on something and read it 10 times a day till you firmly get it.
* Don't argue
* Don't defend
* Don't justify
* Don't explain
* Don't counter attack
* Take care of yourself and take a time out.


Do you feel strong enough to stop the argument?

What do you fear if you don't?

I am taking it a step up, I am no longer leaving to take a break.  He can work with this with his T.  I don't know if it is the right way but I have been doing these tool and it works..if I leave.  He knows after the fact this what he does is not right...time to step it up...your talking to a T..if he can't help you find someone who can.  

I don't leave my house when others have their panties in a wad...I am not doing it anymore because my H does.  If I have to leave because I fear that he can't control himself or leave me alone when I no longer want to participate in a conversation than I don't need to live here anymore.

D*mn..guess I am back to my old self.  But I wouldn't be at this point were for working on these tools.  Taking breaks and disengaging as released me of my fog.  

I
* Don't argue
* Don't defend
* Don't justify
* Don't explain
* Don't counter attack


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MyLife
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2010, 12:33:37 PM »


Write this on something and read it 10 times a day till you firmly get it.
* Don't argue
* Don't defend
* Don't justify
* Don't explain
* Don't counter attack
* Take care of yourself and take a time out.

J.A.D.E. =
don't need to:

Justify
Argue
Defend
Explain

Thank you for the reminder UFN.
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2010, 12:36:54 PM »

most of the time.. if R and i get stuck going round and round.. its bc hes trying to get validation.. so he keeps saying the same thing.. phrased different until that happens.. sometimes.. or adding more and more reasons why he feels ___

i think.. validating is just a skill that takes a lot of practice.. and a lot of willingness to use.. not willing to learn to validate.. probably not going to be a real fun relationship for the person w/bpd or the person with them..

we dont have to many 'discussions' like that tho.. hes getting a lot better at saying if he needs a minute to figure out how to explain what is going on.. and what is happening

An excellent point dados  Doing the right thing

Validation can make a difference...I've seen it happen time after time.


I just worry that people tend to stick around thinking they can validate their way out of an argument and taking abuse the whole time. Validation is one tool that can build closeness and trust - yet it should never be done at the price of abuse  cry


Auspicious has a great saying I like to use:
Quote

Boundaries protect us - but validation connects us. 
Both have their time and place...sometimes in the same conversation.

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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2010, 12:51:08 PM »

Quote
I just worry that people tend to stick around thinking they can validate their way out of an argument and taking abuse the whole time. Validation is one tool that can build closeness and trust - yet it should never be done at the price of abuse 

true.. if things get too heated.. then its time for a break.. most of the time.. things dont get to that point.. between us.. both R and i are pretty good about taking time out to cool off now.. before things get too intense.. definitely dont think anybody should stick around to get abused.. validating usually happens before theres a argument.. good prevention..

lol helps kind of.. english aint my first language.. so i get that.. sometimes it takes a few times using different words to get your point across.. even when speaking the same language out loud.. sometimes emotionally.. takes a few tries to get the point across..
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Nutts45
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 12:59:56 PM »

How did you get the smiley with the brick wall.

Believe it or not I have actually left the room and done this.  Of course not hard..but more for a mental picture on expressing outward on how I have felt.

A friend asked me what I was doing?  I know I looked very silly.
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2010, 01:02:22 PM »

This one?

             

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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2010, 01:25:03 PM »

I don't know if I am wise enough to use them.. I could see myself..losing it and send one of those via text.
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2010, 01:52:52 PM »

I no longer worry about right or wrong. I no longer worry about entitlement. I gave up on self-righteousness a while back.

I hate to argue. I hate it with a passion a pointless arguement.

So, I just walk away now. Even have a boundary in place to deal with this one.

"I will not allow my self to be dragged into pointless conversations/arguments that go round and round and never get any where."

I think I used to worry about being falsely acccused of something. I really do not like being told I've done something when I haven't.
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2010, 02:23:52 PM »

I had to walk away this weekend for a bit.  She is just so angry at everything.  Though I understand why and I understand she has every right to be, a lot of the anger is misdirected square at me.  For asking the wrong question, for thinking the wrong thought, for caring about her wellbeing...and then minutes later for not being around more.  We started to get into it about a question I asked.  She interpreted it one way, I meant it a complete other.  I stated one time why I asked it and she continued to get very angry and repeated why she was upset.  I made one attempt at validation and didn't even get the sentence out.  And that was it.  I just let it drop.  We sat in silence the entire way home.  I haven't talked to her since because she has gone silent/invisible.   

On the one hand it is good to not be triggered into defending myself anymore; on the other, it is hard to walk away when I do feel like any form of self expression for her right now may be healthy.  I know fully why she is on edge and upset - it's hard to balance knowing that and allowing her to get some of it out - and my own health.  I just don't want to be the punching bag though. Everytime I allow it it just seems to fuel her negative view of me.  She both believes what she says and sees me stick around.  It's just not ok from any persepctive.  Ugh.   
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2010, 02:30:06 PM »


Write this on something and read it 10 times a day till you firmly get it.
* Don't argue
* Don't defend
* Don't justify
* Don't explain
* Don't counter attack
* Take care of yourself and take a time out.


OK - I see what the "Don'ts" are.  But, what do we do?  My wife baits and tries to force me into arguments all the time.  When I get accused of things I didn't do, what do I do?  When she sends me an email with a dozen different accusations, or questions posed to start an argument, what do I do?

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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2010, 02:36:17 PM »

ignore it.. if you know its bait.. dont bite.. do something else..
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2010, 03:45:04 PM »

this is just a great thread here and im glad i came up on it, because this is exactly where i seem to be stuck all the time, im always getting myself caught up in arguing, and defending, and wanting to make my point accross, but all that does is making my wife more and more distent and not able to trust that i can ever be there for her which is what i really want, but just the other day she expressed to me how each and everytime she tries to communicate her feelings to me, then i always somehow end up making her feel worse because usually i end up missing those opportunities to validate her.
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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2010, 12:58:05 AM »



OK - I see what the "Don'ts" are.  But, what do we do?  My wife baits and tries to force me into arguments all the time.  When I get accused of things I didn't do, what do I do?  When she sends me an email with a dozen different accusations, or questions posed to start an argument, what do I do?


What you've been doing hasn't helped things get better. It's actually made them worse, since by allowing her to verbally abuse you, she has lost a lot of respect for you. To change things, you need to make some changes in what you can control - YOU>

Your wife has trouble controlling her emotions. To her, feelings = facts.
So if her emotions get out of control, she can't cope with them, so she needs to find something to blame it on - typically we are the fortunate ones in the line of fire  tongue What she is doing is abusive to you -  and - it is an unhealthy way for her to cope with her emotions. She needs to feel her emotions, instead of avoiding them and dumping them all onto you. Growth only occurs when you learn, and the only way to learn is to go through it, not avoid it.

So, when she starts, you can try to validate her emotions and offer some empathetic understanding. If that doesn't work, then you take your time out and allow her to deal with her emotions on her own. Be a mirror, not a sponge  cool

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« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2010, 08:39:53 AM »

Something that has helped me recently is to decide if m BPDh is dysregulated and truly stuck in a circular argument about nothing OR if he really has a feeling in there somewhere and is pushing to be heard.  At least in my experience of my h, there is a difference.  BPDh started a circular nagging nit-picking thing recently (it's most often a tangent that makes no sense) and I just walked away.  That ended it. 

Other times recently I notice BPDh tries to say something and I feel myself getting angry.  I will acknowledge he said something, then get some space.  Often, after a chance to process my initial reaction/feelings, I can get clarity about what he said (or tried to say).  Then it works to send him a quick email-writing helps both of us if it's short and only about one point.  I have also decided that it is never too late to assert my own boundary or state a feeling-this has worked well via email maybe the day after a "conversation" from dh.  The email system is not about my h hearing it, it's about me having a better chance to either keep my boundary OR validate what he was feeling under all the verbal mess he puts forth and make some attempt at communication.
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« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2010, 01:32:02 PM »

This is a situation I often find myself in.  I used to try and defend myself..that was pointless.  I used to argue back..that only escalated the fights to atomic portions.  Now, I just sit there quietly..tell her I am sorry and I love her.  She gets mad that I have nothing else to say, but nothing I say ever helps. I realize this now.  I just need to keep my head down and pray for the storm to pass.
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2010, 01:37:16 PM »

This is a situation I often find myself in.  I used to try and defend myself..that was pointless.  I used to argue back..that only escalated the fights to atomic portions.  Now, I just sit there quietly..tell her I am sorry and I love her.  She gets mad that I have nothing else to say, but nothing I say ever helps. I realize this now.  I just need to keep my head down and pray for the storm to pass.

Or you can tell her that you will be back soon (an hour, when she is calm) and take a time out. No need to listen to rant or rages, it only damages both of you.

You can try SET or DEARMAN once things are calm to try to have a better discussion but any abuse happens take time away. It really does make a world of difference
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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2010, 01:46:42 PM »

The tragic thing for me is that many of the circular arguments we get into are from my desire to be loving.   I can start trying to help my SO by offering assistance for problems and soon we either argue about why my ideas aren't right or helpful, or my SO brings up some reason why I do not care about them. 

I have spent years trying to defend not just because it hurts me, but because I can't imagine truly thinking that nobody cares about you.    I've always hoped that my SO would have a magical movie moment where it all clicks into place.   Of course, we know that won't happen without them getting help, if ever.
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