Have you ever had an argument with your partner? If you’ve been in a relationship for more than a year, you’ve probably had at least one. Arguing with a partner is a normal part of a relationship, and sometimes it’s a healthy, productive part of a relationship.
But sometimes it isn’t.
There is no easy solution to dealing with conflict in relationships. It can’t be solved with more communication or an effort to understand each other. A person who always seeks to make things worse by blaming, shaming, and/or shunning his partner will make that relationship worse.
We can learn to recognize the signs of someone who is looking to make things worse. When we see these signs, we can feel confident that the argument is about more than just a disagreement.
A person who says “you screwed up” when he knows he hasn’t really been wronged. A person who lashes out when he knows there is no actual reason to be angry. These behaviors will only make a relationship more difficult and damaged.
A person who seeks to destroy your relationship by bringing up issues that are easily fixable. Someone who is really mean when it comes to their mean-spiritedness. Someone who loves to make you feel guilty for things they don’t even do. These are all signs of a person who doesn’t respect you.
When we start to see these signs in a relationship, it’s time to seriously consider the possibility that the relationship is really not working out.
When we bring these signs to our partners, we should be able to see that they are causing issues for themselves, not just for them. And we should be able to recognize when these issues are our fault, not theirs.