Would you call this a relationship conflict?
Consider this scenario describing an all too common relationship conflict:
“You’re not the person I married!” he yelled. “You used to take it — the pressure I mean. You’re home all day and all you have to do is look after the kids and do the laundry, and every night when I come home, you’re always upset, crying and angry and the house is a mess and kids are out of control. Look! You haven’t even cleaned up the kitchen.”
He did it — one, two, three, four times! Can’t he think straight? He begins his sentences four times with you or you’re. Well, I have to admit it: we all do it when we are not thinking straight.
Straight thinking can correct some relationship conflict
When I was only 18, I read a book, Straight and Crooked Thinking, by R. H. Thouless, and the phrase “straight and crooked thinking” has never left my mind. I’m thankful for that. I have needed its reminder. Let’s see how many crooked thoughts the man had that caused this relationship conflict.
- Starting his sentences with “you” instead of “I.” He thinks that attacking is the way to change people. How crooked is that? Always start with “I.” It will save a lot of emotional heat.
- Yelling raises the emotions of both people. Since when have high emotional levels been the best conditions for clear thinking? Keep the volume down!
- He generalizes when his generalizations are untrue: “…all you have to do…, always…” Maybe most of the time, but not “all” or “always.” We generalize because it makes our arguments seem stronger when, in fact, it opens holes in them. More accuracy, please!
- He falsely interprets the facts. It’s harder to control and raise the most complex organism in the universe (a child) than to manage a multi-million dollar business or be a rocket scientist. If you don’t believe that, you’re off your rocker.
- Since when is crying and anger irrefutable evidence of personality change?
Understanding is the best next step in healing relationship conflict
Well, that’s enough. Don’t you think this man needs help? His thinking is tortured by misunderstanding and emotional abuse. With such lack of understanding, there can not help but be relationship conflict. Perhaps one day he will learn to think straight.
The best next step in healing a relationship in crisis is to learn to understand each other: why she thinks the way she thinks, why he does the things he does, etc. It involves more than just “communication.” Here’s a great resource to set you on the road to that understanding. It can help you develop the relationship you dreamed of when you first became interested in each other.