It is also empowering to take ownership because it helps you realize you are in control of your words and behaviors. You are in control of the role you play. And we can change the things we are in control of.
So to stop an argument instead of trying to blame, control, or change the other person, take responsibility for your behavior, your words, and the way you contributed to the cycle, dynamic, and argument.
Apologizing is showing remorse for the way something you said or did hurt or upset someone.
Apologies are hard because they are vulnerable. We don’t like to apologize because we don’t want to seem like we are wrong or at fault.
We can also feel like we are opening ourselves up to an attack.
And sometimes the other person does not respond the way we hope, but you will still find the argument will de-escalate because it’s much harder to be angry and outraged when the other person is being humble and apologizing.
Then it is important to connect with the way they might be feeling and reflect that back that by saying something like, “I can imagine how you might feel that way, or “I see what you are saying,” or “You feel this way or think this because of ‘x.’”
At the root of most arguments are two people trying desperately to be heard and understood by the other.
We want to be heard and understood so badly it makes it difficult actually to listen and understand the other person.
We get more caught up in developing our argument or coming up with our rebuttal that we don’t pause actually to hear what the other person is saying.
If you pause and really listen to what the person is saying, put yourself in their shoes, and reflect back to them that you understand, can see their point, or just acknowledge that maybe you haven’t looked at it that way before, it goes a long way.
Empathy is such a powerful tool of connection and de-escalation. And again, empathy isn’t about agreeing with someone, but rather it’s about caring and respecting another enough to try to understand their view or feeling.
So the next time you can feel things escalating into an argument, try these steps, and you will be surprised how quickly the conversation can turn for the better.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
I work with couples, families and individuals. I believe that everyone that comes to therapy is unique and brings in different strengths, goals, and perspectives. I do not believe in a "one size fits all" approach, but rather tailor my approach to each client. I meet each person with empathy, acceptance and directness. I believe in being an active participant in the therapy process and will strive to understand you but also find it important to be honest and challenge you when appropriate.
I am especially drawn to working with couples who have lost their connection and need to rekindle their romance, parenting issues, and high conflict couples. I also work with individuals with sports/academic performance, issues around self-esteem and shame, and identity.
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and also have a certificate in psychodynamic/psychoanalytic therapy. I also have an extensive background as a dancer and a competitive athlete that gives me a distinct perspective in my work.