How To Stop Arguments? 5 Emotional Self-Regulation Skills For Constructive Arguments

 / 

, , ,
Emotional Skills For Constructive Arguments

Arguments are a part and parcel of every relationship and it is okay to argue with your partner once in a while, but what is not okay is letting your anger get the best of you every time there’s a disagreement. So, how to stop arguments, you ask? Well, this is where emotional self-regulation comes into play.

Key Points

  • Emotional self regulation refers to the ability to self-calm when irritation, annoyance, or anger first emerge.
  • When people get angry, they insist on their needs and stop hearing other viewpoints. Speaking harshly can harm relationships.
  • Emotional self regulation techniques include using pauses when anger first appears and remembering that both people have valid concerns.

Emotional self regulation refers to the ability to self-calm when irritation, annoyance, or anger first emerge. With emotional self regulation, potential arguments turn into calmly constructive discussions.

Related: 6 Practical Tips For Defusing Arguments With Your Partner

Compare these two scenarios:

  • Option 1: Joe hadn’t washed the dishes as he had said he would. When Mary came home after late hours at work, as she entered through the kitchen door she saw that the kitchen was a mess. She exploded. “You never do your part in this family! What’s wrong with you?!”
  • Option 2: When Mary came home late from work and saw that Joe hadn’t washed the dishes, she felt furious. She then immediately calmed herself down by hugging their children and asking Joe how his day had been. Joe responded that all day he had been feeling sick. Since dinnertime, he had been resting but was feeling only more nauseous. Hearing this, Mary’s anger evaporated altogether. She quickly looked for a thermometer to check if Joe had a fever.

Kids get angry with great frequency. Mature adults, by contrast, utilize emotional self regulation. They rarely, if ever, speak in an irritated voice or erupt in anger explosions. Instead, they respond to troubling situations with calm information-gathering and problem-solving.

Aren’t anger and arguing normal in relationships?

Yes and no. Feelings of anger are normal and even helpful as they alert people to problems. Speaking and acting angrily, by contrast, need to become out-of-bounds. That’s where emotional self regulation comes in.

how to stop arguments

What is the purpose of anger?

Angry voices and arguing aim to force others to replace what they are doing with what you want them to do—to get what you want by overpowering others.

As anger rises, frontal lobes go off-duty. The brain’s frontal lobes—located under your forehead—are where you think: where you uptake new information, process information, and create solutions to problems. When anger turns off your frontal lobes, thinking halts. You then just insist on your own viewpoint without hearing others’.

Anger is toxic.

A calm and friendly tone enhances affection. Anger, by contrast, poisons relationships. No one likes someone who speaks harshly to them.

Anger is a contagious toxin. When one person speaks angrily, the other becomes at risk for responding with either anger or defensiveness, i.e., arguing.

Anger also is like fire. A small match can easily ignite an eventual major blaze. As voices get louder, faster, and more insistent, they become increasingly destructive.

Even low-intensity anger like annoyance, irritation, or frustration conveys a “You are not OK” message—a message that surely taints the receiver’s affection and goodwill.

Related: 3 Questions To Ask Yourself If You and Your Partner Fight Constantly

What emotional regulation techniques are especially helpful? In what ways?

Emotional self regulation habits keep relationships strong and loving. They prevent anger from toxifying relationships. They also prevent arguments.

Here are five essential techniques, all of them worth implementing immediately:

1. Make a decision.

Decide that you are finished with arguing. Let talking and acting in anger become like eating dirt, that is, something you just do not do. Decide that problems are for quiet problem-solving, not for criticizing, scolding, or blaming.

2. Perfect your pauses and exits.

At the very first sign of irritation or frustration, take a break by changing the topic. If anger is already rising in intensity, exit for a few minutes into a different room. Remove the over-heating pot from the hot stove. (My book The Power of Two offers detailed help with designing and implementing pause and exit routines.)

3. Learn strategies for quick self-calming.

Old-fashioned techniques of taking deep breaths or counting to 10 can be remarkably helpful. Distraction by briefly reading a magazine, talking with others, watering your plants, or doing any activity you enjoy also can bring a return of emotional calm.

Temporal tapping, which I described in an earlier post, offers an additional quick and easy technique to add to your repertoire.

To use self-calming techniques most effectively:

  • Initiate a pause/exit early on, when the anger is barely evident.
  • Initiate pauses whether you are the person becoming angry, or the potential receiver.
  • During the pause, allow yourself to do zero thinking about what the other person did that provoked your anger. Focus instead on something—anything—else.

Related: 10 Tips For Constructive Arguments With Your Loved One

4. Remember that there are two of you, each with valid concerns.

Anger invites narcissism, that is, hyper-awareness of what you want to the exclusion of listening to the concerns of the person you are angry at. As a friend of mine once said, “When I am angry, what I want becomes holy. What the other person wants becomes irrelevant.”

Dismissing the other person’s point of view becomes all the more likely if you succumb to the belief “I’m right, You’re wrong.” That belief escalates anger and exacerbates the inability to listen.

Once you feel calmer, remind yourself that “There are two of us here.” Then ask yourself:

  • What do I want? What will be a better way than using anger to get what I want?
  • What does the other person want? What are his or her concerns? How can I help them as well?

5. Learn the “win-win waltz.”

In win-win problem-solving, the eventual plan of action is responsive to both people’s concerns.

The payoffs for ceasing to argue or even to speak a sentence or two in an irritated voice?

The result can be a home in which all family members feel safe. In a fight-free home, there’s no arguing, no angry interchanges, no hurtful voices. If you use these techniques with everyone, especially with family members and including children, you will be likely to receive fewer annoyed or angry voices directed to you as well.

Dealing with difficult situations only from a calm emotional state can be life-changing. Life becomes less stressful. You will become more effective at getting what you want—and more able to enjoy your one-and-only life. Sound appealing?


Written By Susan Heitler 
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today 
Emotional Skills For Constructive Arguments pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

Want To Try Speed Dating? 6 Mindful Tips To Make A Real Connection

What Is Speed Dating: Interesting Tips To Real Connections

Is speed dating the most effective way to find your soul mate through a series of mini dates? Do you feel like giving this exciting trend a try? Let’s see how it works.

This is an event format that allows people to go on many dates within a short time to talk with several people.

Let’s discuss what speed dating is like, how it operates, and some suggestions on optimizing your love life!

What Is Speed Dating?



Up Next

Is He Drifting Away? 8 Signs He Is Losing Interest And How To Turn Things Around

Signs He Is Losing Interest: Is He Drifting Away?

It’s one of the worst feelings in this world when the person you love, starts to lose interest in you. You thought that everything was going great and you are the happiest you have ever been, and then suddenly, you realize that he is acting very distant and emotionally detached. Today we are going to talk about the major signs he is losing interest.

Once you know these signs you will be able to better understand what’s actually going on in your relationship, instead of staying in a bubble, not knowing the truth. Also, why do guys act so interested then pull away? So annoying!

And we won’t just talk about the signs he is losing interest, but we will also provide some effective and useful tips regarding what to do when he lost interest.

Whether you are in a new relationship or have been together for years



Up Next

How Healthy Relationships Can Improve Your Physical Health

How Healthy Relationships Can Improve Your Physical Health

Healthy relationships are crucial for feeling happy, positive, and also physically healthy. The physical benefits of healthy relationships are a lot, and this article is going to talk about that in detail. Let’s find out the importance of having strong and healthy relationships.

Humans need humans to survive.

It’s no secret that a healthy relationship can bring joy and happiness to your life, but did you know that it can also have a positive impact on your physical health?

From reducing stress levels to boosting your immune system, there are many surprising health benefits to being in a happy partnership. Read on to learn more.

We are social creatures who thrive on strong, healthy relationships with friends, colleagues and family me



Up Next

When You Refuse To Let Go Of Someone You Love, Even When They Don’t Love You Anymore

Why You Should Let Go Of Someone You Love

I get it. You don’t want to let go of someone you love. Even when it’s clear that it’s over. Even when it’s clear that it is time and things will only get worse from here. Yet, you want to hold on just a little longer. But if you truly love someone let them go.

“No! No! It’s fine. It’s absolutely fine. It’s working. Listen to me, I know it’s working. This is normal. Show me a relationship that doesn’t have problems. I will make it work. I know I can. Just give me a little time. Just a little more time. Please, just bear with me for a second here. Please. Don’t take it away from me yet. Please. It’s not time. It can’t be. Will you just listen to me once for god’s sake?”

But deep down you know it in your heart. You just know it. It is screaming at you. And even though you may pretend you



Up Next

7 Warning Signs Of Losing Yourself In A Relationship And How to Rediscover Your Sense of Self

Signs Of Losing Yourself In A Relationship

Are you starting to feel like you have lost yourself in a relationship? Do you have this persistent feeling that you don’t know who you are anymore? You know, that feeling when you are so caught up in someone else’s world, that you forget who you are? Well, these are just some signs of losing yourself in a relationship.

Believe it or not, this is actually quite a common feeling, and lots of people experience this. If you have ever felt like you have lost yourself in a relationship, then this article can be a godsend for you.

Let’s delve into the all those signs of losing yourself in a relationship, so that you can stop yourself from doing so (at least to some extent!). And not just this, we will also talk about what to do when you lose yourself in a relationship. So, are you ready to explore this? Let’s go then!



Up Next

How To Let Go Of Someone You Are Desperately Trying To Hold On To

How To Let Go Of Someone You Are Trying To Hold On To

Do you know what happens when you desperately hold on to someone you really need to let go of? When you hold on to the idea of “us” and refuse to see the reality for what it is? You force the person you love the most in the world to hate you. You compel them to resent you. And in this process, you hurt yourself more than the other person did. This is why it’s crucial that we talk about how to let go of someone you don’t want to lose.

No one wants to let go of love

Especially when it’s the real deal. Especially when you’ve been told you are not worthy of love all your life. And this one person comes into your life and completely changes



Up Next

15+ Quotes From “Bridgerton” That Depict Obsessive Yearning

Best Bridgerton Quotes About Love And Romance

If you like romances and things from the Regency era, these Bridgerton quotes show how obsession can be a form of longing. This Netflix series features several love stories in which the characters experience intense desire and emotions.

Through eloquent dialogues and passionate interactions, “Bridgerton” powerfully reveals the aspirations that motivate its characters.

The series effectively frames the relationship between Daphne and Simon as an embodiment of smouldering attraction while at the same time conveying other major figures’ secretly yearning for each other.

Here are some Bridgerton quotes about love that perfectly sum up obsessive yearning.<