Arguments are part of any relationship whether it is a family member, friend, or loved one. Arguing can be healthy when you are actively communicating and listening. It can be used to help you convey how you feel about various situations or aspects of your relationship with the other person.
Conversely, it allows them to listen to what you are saying and respond with their own concerns. All of this can be done without becoming cruel or malicious with the intent to inflict hurt or anger on the other person.
Yet, when arguing escalates and becomes a common occurrence in your relationship, it is no longer healthy. Some of the common signs that arguments are becoming counterproductive include:
Sign #1: You become immediately defensive.
Defensiveness is a sign that you will be reacting to what the other person is saying, rather than listening. You may counter by saying things that are unrelated to the current argument to also make the other person become defensive.
Sign #2: You become extremely critical of the other person.
During the argument, you start to find fault with the other person. You may point out certain flaws that did not bother you before just to make the other person feel hurt or to anger them intentionally. Critical responses during an argument tend to start with “you,” rather than “I,” which is used to express a complaint or how you feel about a particular situation.
Sign #3: You and the other person are stonewalling each other.
Stonewalling is a term used when you and the other person you are arguing with start to retreat and lose interest. They might bring an attempt to start an argument, but rather than respond, you walk away and let them rant and carry on.
Stonewalling also occurs when you and the other person stop speaking to each other. You go about your daily routines as an individual rather than a couple. When relationships reach this point, unless you seek couple’s counselling, you could be looking at your relationship reaching the point where it can no longer be saved.
Sign #4: You feel contempt towards the other person.
Contempt can be a big problem because your objective during arguments is to intentionally attack the other person. You may make sarcastic and hurtful comments about their weight, their appearance, or other such aspects.
Contempt can quickly destroy a relationship because the other person will also start to feel contempt towards you. The best recourse if you notice you have reached this stage, is to get a couple’s counselling if you want to save your relationship or end it gracefully.
As you can see, when arguing becomes counterproductive, it can damage your relationships and get to the point where they may not be able to be saved. If you or your loved one find yourself in this position, and you both want to go back to productive and healthy arguing, please feel free to contact Toronto couple counsellor, Ellen Starr at 416-488-3102 today!