Down boy! Leggo!

2 contradictory things about me: I can’t back away from an argument, but I’m an anxious, nervous wreck while I’m in one. I’m like a twitchy terrier gnawing on a slipper. I am trying to learn how to disengage from a conflict that has no value to me, win or lose.

I know, I know, you’re assuming these arguments are husband-wife feuds, but it could not be further from the truth. We do a pretty good job at talking things through and keeping things cool and level here. Yes, there are the rare boil over moments, but I suspect these are unavoidable side-effects to living with any human being, and we recover from these ‘I’m angry and I HAVE NO REASON TO BE’ episodes pretty well.

In fact, the wife is a part of my new fighting strategy. Like the sensible wingman who talks you out of taking a run at that big scary dude who stepped on your foot at the bar, she’s going to tell me ‘it’s not worth it, just leave it’ when I’m heading into a stupid fight. And, I will try very hard to hear her words and hopefully snap out of my compulsive combativeness.

The need to argue until the other person agrees that I’m right is fueled by self-confidence issues. Your faith in yourself is such a primary building block of social interaction that it affects all of your relationships. You fight extra hard to defend your opinion when deep down you don’t fully trust it. So being okay with other people being wrong and not listening to me is another step to take.

Also, I am compiling a list of people who it is never productive to argue with. So far I have:

1. My mother. ‘Nuff said.

2.Pregnant ladies. Arguing with them is a no-win scenario. No matter how wrong they might be, everyone hates the asshole arguing with the pregnant lady. Plus, they are in the middle of the most complicated biological event a human can have, so I will give them a free pass from now on.

If anyone else makes my ‘no argue’ list, I’ll be sure to let you know.

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10 thoughts on “Down boy! Leggo!

  1. Embrace selfishness. Ask; does spending energy on this argument help to move you towards any of your goals? Does it provide you with a benefit? You win by avoiding wasted energy while the other person loses a turn repeating to themselves that they’re right.

    • And there’s nothing wrong with a little arguing for fun, but I have to see when it’s costing me too much and cut my losses at that point. I also need a better measuring stick for the importance of any given conflict (right now I tend to react to every disagreement as if it challenges my very existence. A little over the top).

  2. “So being okay with other people being wrong and not listening to me is another step to take.” This is what I need to learn – what a great line. I also really like Todd’s comment.

    • Thanks! the dogged pursuit of an agrument is also a side-effect of the intensly analytical mind. We spend a lot of time thinking about why things happen and how they could be improved, and we can’t understand why anyone else wouldn’t want to do the same kind of examination.

    • Too true. Here is a tenously appropriate quote from a cartoon:
      “Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion.”- Principal Chalmers from The Simpsons.

    • Luckily, my MIL is a wonderfully logical and intelligent person who is fun to talk with and occasionally argue. We haven’t gone toe to toe over anything super-serious, but I bet she could give me a run for my money.

  3. You are all right! That’s how I handle arguments, then I can sit smugly on my throne atop my pedestal and feel I have done good in the world.

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