(Preface:  Communication and relationship issues with partner, spouses, or even friends and family can be very complex.  This blog might highlight what is a small portion of what goes into various aspects of why we argue with certain people or in certain situations.)

For those people with kids, imagine this common scenario.  You’ve got a ton of things to get done and your child is upset or in a bad mood.  Whatever it is that is bothering them is  drawing you away from what it is you are doing.  Do you react by yelling back at them or do you show them compassion as you understand that 2 year old’s can be moody? We know that the solution exists in understanding our child, not yelling at them.  The solution is not on the same level as the problem.  We rise above the problem to see what is really going on because we are invested in the outcome, not the conflict itself.  We have the ability to see that conflict is not a part of the solution.

When we are dealing with adults, most likely in relationships, our pride and our “need to be right” reflex gets involved.   Anytime we are involved in an argument, we have choices to deal with it in rational ways and in emotional ways.  Rational thinking tells us that we all have faults, we’re all human, and that we all have bouts of irrational behavior.  Emotional based, or reactionary, thinking tends to assign blame, fuel conflict, protect ego and pride, and looks to be “right”.  Many times an argument tends to end up with two people on an emotional level projecting their emotions on the other.  Neither are actually listening, they are simply thinking of their next response.  The reason that we don’t do this with kids is that we understand children lack a level of insight and communication skills.  Our error in thinking when dealing with each other as adults, is to ignore or forget that we all have character defects and shortcomings that we bring to the interaction.  It’s easier to assume the other person is negligent, as opposed to acknowledging their simple faults.


Just like children, we as adults may not know how to deal with certain situations, react to them in a constructive way, or we may not possess certain ways of communication.  I can think of several times leading a group where men talk about how they did not learn how to express themselves because their father was physically or emotionally absent.  Coping skills do not necessarily come about simply through maturing with age. We can still keep in mind, that while someone may not have a certain communication skill, it is still their responsibility to seek their own self-improvement.

Patience and understanding of self and others will go a long way in improving how we effectively deal with others and relationships.  When in an argument or conflict, we need to ask ourselves “are we seeking a solution or resolution?”  or are “we wanting to be right?”.  Chronic problems, such as reiterated resentments, rehashed grudges, and avoidance of responsibility can perpetuate because they are kept in place using the same methods of communicating.  Solutions and resolutions only exist on a level higher than the problem.


So what can we do?  We should start in identifying our own limitations allowing ourselves to become aware of what we are doing that isn’t serving us.  We can’t feel guilty about what we find, though.  Remember we all have things to work on.  This allows us to develop a greater capacity to understand and accept others.  Simply put, we all have room to give ourselves and others more understanding, love, and compassion.  Maybe it makes sense to start there.