Think back to the last argument you had in a relationship. It may have been last month, last week, yesterday, You may have never experienced an argument at all.
However, if you have, there is one underlying reason behind all heated conversations and angry exchanges. When you lash out at each other, there is always one, subconscious answer for it, regardless of what you’re shouting about.
Understanding what this is will help you resolve arguments quicker, realise the real reasons for the argument, and, hopefully, result in significantly hurting each other less.
The #1 Underlying Reason Why Couples Fight
Take this hypothetical (but very common) scenario:
A girlfriend asks her boyfriend to help her after a long day by washing up. She’s already made dinner and helped clean the house. She nags him about it. The nagging only makes him tune her out even more. She gets annoyed.
Him: “Fine, I’ll help you do the damn dishes.”
Her: “That’s not what I want. I want you to want to do the dishes.”
Him: “Why would I want to do dishes?”
Both end up really angry and ignore each other.
To understand anger psychologically, we have to look at the emotions driving it, and how our feelings can be masked.
Anger is a surface feeling, it comes to light as the result of a situation which has made us feel a deep emotional response.
Anger is used to cover up other feelings. This is largely because of cultural norms, people thinking they are “weak” if they feel or are seen to be vulnerable.
These underlying emotions can include:
I feel lonely
I feel hurt
I feel scared
I feel unappreciated
I feel betrayed
The issue is, anger is perceived to be a personal attack, so instead of showing that you’re hurt or feel unappreciated, you end up pushing away your partner even more, and leaving them confused and equally as irritated.
Unfortunately, usually all we want is the other person to instinctively know how we feel underneath.
So from our hypothetical scenario, she feels unappreciated and he feels attacked.
So how can this be changed? How do we deal with this in the moment?
It’s all about being a little more self-aware. It may seem like we’re being vulnerable, but if you actually explain the underlying feelings – rather than nag or shout because you’re frustrated – you’re more likely to come to a better resolution.
Whether it’s doing the dishes (unappreciated), or feeling hurt because your partner’s stayed out on a night out (hurt that they’d rather do that than be with you), or if your partner has done something really hurtful (betrayed), or that they don’t want to see you that much (lonely and hurt), or if they lash out cause they’re scared of losing you.
Anger ALWAYS stems from something deeper.
So next time your partner is angry, try and calm them by actively attempting to understand the reasons behind it. Or if you feel angry, try and remain rational enough to explain plainly why you’re angry.
You will find your relationship significantly improves, you will fight less, and overall be happier understanding each other better.