The Ways We Fight

"I know you're hurting. It doesn't have to be this way."

"I'll show you! I'll ignore you."

The Ways We FightAhhh...the old silent treatment. We'll ignore and deprive them of our attention to get them to take notice of us. If they respond, they care. If they don't, they don't love me. (If you really loved me, you would respond with concern to my silence.) Maybe if you ignore them, they'll see how important this "issue" is to you. Maybe they'll see how hurt you are and not do what they did again. If you ignore them, maybe they'll be nicer to you and extend themselves to bring you out of your silence. This will prove that they really love you.

Useful Ideas:

  • Talk openly and honestly. Know the intent behind your words.
  • Understand silence isn't motivating, it only leads to lack of communication and confusion.

"I need to teach you a lesson."

Since you lover gets unhappy when you spend time on the computer, you'll purposefully spend more time on the computer to teach her to accept this about you. You'll teach her to not want to be with you so much. I'll do the exact opposite of what she wants so she'll learn to be more accepting and to prove I can't be manipulated by her. But then she just becomes even more angry thinking I'm deliberately going against her wishes.

Useful Ideas:

  • Talk openly and honestly. Know the intent behind your words.
  • Look at what areas you'd like for your partner to change, then examine how them changing would benefit you. Discuss what you've discovered with your partner.

"You hurt me now I'll hurt you."

What you're lover said or did hurt you. You want them to feel the same pain back so you do or say something that you're sure will push a button. They respond with more anger.

You had hoped that if you got angry, they'd see how much it means to you and will stop doing what you don't want them to do. You're simply saying, "If you continue to behave in this way, you're going to have to experience my wrath." Your anger and hostility, which you believe will be an effective deterrent, just becomes a wall for your partner to push against. Even if the person is willing to change, they probably don't want to be shoved and condemned into changing. Their reaction is to fight back.

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Useful Ideas:

  • Talk openly and honestly. Know the intent behind your words.
  • Think of the times you have become angry with your partner. Was it because you were hurt, or wanted them to stop doing something? Discuss with your partner what you discover.


next: Honesty is Necessary in Love

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 9). The Ways We Fight, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 16 from

Last Updated: June 25, 2015

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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