I definitely want to fit this in today! I’m writing Seduction, The Secret Billionaire Asher Christmas. I’ve gotten through the hard part, the beginning, and now I’m on easy street, and loving the story!
Anyway, this lesson is something I CONSTANTLY have to reach into my toolbox to keep myself from doing.
So here it goes: Arguing is a futile effort.
I’ll say it again. Arguing is a futile effort, exercise, and action. So try not to do it.
Talking, conversing, communicating is the way to go. Only, the problem with that is, you’ll have to be mature enough to accept not getting what you want.
Stay with me…
One day, I was arguing with my ex and that’s when it hit me. I was arguing with him because I wanted him to do what I needed him to do so that I could be happy. And he wasn’t capable of giving that to me. Then, I was arguing with this person or that person, and the same illumination struck me. We were not going to get anywhere. I had to step back and figure out if I can even get from that person what I’m trying to get by arguing.
We argue because we need the other person to “see the light”, change and give us what we want or need. That’s it, and that’s all. And the fact that we’re arguing in the first place is a clue that the other person is not seeing the light and not even close to doing so.
Arguing creates acute stress and creates a fight or flight response within us.
So eventually my ex would take flight. He would apologize to shut me up, but then not long after we ended in the same place again. Another apology, until the next time. Men do that a lot, you know. The act is often depicted in popular fiction. You see the man swallowing his pride, giving up his power to agree with her. Then, they follow it up with this stupid saying, that I think needs to be banished, “Happy wife, happy life.” As if it takes only one person to make a relationship happy. I promise you, he better be TRULY happy as well, or there will be no happiness at all. That’s another thing I learned about the male. A man will ALWAYS empower himself, one way or another. You want to beat him down? He will go to a strip club and screw with one of the prostitutes. He will sleep with your best friend. He will have several relationships with women on-line. Is he your son? He will lay on the bed all day, stinky, and doing nothing until the next time you go into his room, shouting, yelling and getting nowhere loudly. A man will ALWAYS strike back–it may not be physically but it’ll be emotionally and done with precision to take us down a peg. So basically, arguing and fussing never cures the cycle–with men or women.
Why? We are all people who seek to empower ourselves and protect ourselves. Arguing is fighting. A person will never interject rationality or pragmatism while engaged in the exercise of arguing. Although I remember once a long time ago, I was arguing with this guy over something my youngest sister did (later discovered she was in the wrong), and he and I were just yelling until he said, “there’s a newborn baby in the room.” I shut up immediately. All the anger left my body as I looked at that baby, then I apologized. He was shocked, I had come down so fast. We actually went outside and had a rational conversation after that. I just remembered that… It was by accident that he said something that triggered me that way. New life. I respect a new human. I know that they are like sponges and if you bring negativity into their environment, they will feel the stress. They will… Babies feel it. Anyway… Maybe something like that could happen while arguing, maybe… Children have always been my stop-button. They stop me cold turkey from acting out negatively and aggressively. They’re just so innocent and have their whole lives ahead of them. I never want to be part of a negative experience they had while being so young and at the mercy of older, stronger humans.
That’s the lesson in a nutshell. I don’t argue with people anymore. I’m not black or white with them either. I assess the situation. I give them space to be human. Then I think about it, is who they are good or bad for me, or do I lose anything by being indifferent.
What do I do instead?
I set a boundary and follow-through. Period. That’s the action to take instead of arguing. It’s the solution. Also, I think about it. Why does that person’s behavior make me so unhappy? Maybe I need to break off the relationship with that person if their behavior puts a heavy burden on me. Maybe I need to set standards of interaction with that person if every time I get off the phone with her I feel icky as if I’d been dragged into negativity and unkindness. Get it… Assess. Always asses before arguing and figure out what boundary to set, if a boundary needs to be set, and be prepared to follow-through. A boundary is nothing but hot air if there’s no follow-through. And never forsake the aid of a GOOD therapist, to help us get to where we can begin setting boundaries and following through. And I mean a good therapist because most therapists suck. Here’s a bit of advice, a good therapist will respect and do inner-child work. You can never heal until you go back and resolve the traits we acquired from emotional survival as a child. All of our damage is connected to that wounded little boy or girl inside, and it’s now OUR responsibility to be his or her nurturing parent. But we have to learn how to be a good parent to ourselves, and to do that, we can’t parent ourselves with a wounded inner-child driving our bus. Get it???
And this goes for lecturing and unsolicited advice as well. Both are no different than arguing with someone. Both are also actions taken to get someone else to do what we want so that we could be happy or satisfied.
In a nutshell, that’s called CODEPENDENCY. And I’m a recovering codependent
And I get it. I’ve learned that codependence is a result of a stew of things, but one meat in the pot is that we love someone and only want the best for them–especially our kids, right??? Like, my first nephew was and is a light in my heart. When he came into the world, I never knew I could love so much. And then watching him become a human being… Learning who God made him…
The big problem was, he wasn’t my child. My sister used to say he was just like me–that was not her being complimentary. And he is like. We’re very similar. We’re both independent-minded. You can’t feed us a story and expect us to believe it because you spoke it with that “this is the truth” tone. We’ll test our beliefs and make sure it makes sense. We’ll do things our way, find our path, and you can’t and never will be able to control us. He and I have that in common.
I would’ve raised him a lot different than she had because of our similarities and both of us being from the same family. I’d gone through it before he had. Listen, this family of mine is a staunch matriarchy of women who lead with their masculine–no feminine, NONE. This post is not about that but I had survived and now thrive and am no longer in crisis mode. But my nephew had been in a power struggle with his mother ever since he was like seven or eight. I would’ve never engaged in a power struggle with my child. I would’ve listened and tried to validate or clarify his thoughts and how his mind was making meaning at his age, because of my experience. But my sister picked up our family traits. She was like, “I’m the mom, so I’m right, now get over there.” Sigh… And so now, my nephew is 22 and trying to figure out how to reclaim that power she had stripped away from him. I got to tell you, he’s a mess. Like a mess. Ohh… Lordy… A mess. He’s what emotional survival had made him.
The assessment before going head to head with him, trying to argue, lecture and shame him on what I think is his right path…
I was what emotional survival had made me at 22 as well. And so, I had/have to remember that. It’s his life. I’m not paying his bills for him to stay stalled, so I have no power in the situation. He’s not asking me, “Auntie, how do I get out of my jam so that I get out of survival/crisis mode and start thriving?” So, I don’t give him unsolicited advice. Believe me, I tried that, it didn’t turn out pretty. He doesn’t want to hear it. He’s too angry at his mother. To hurt. And all the women in my family with the power to do something about it, don’t have the tools to do something about it. Four generations of mostly stalled men, and over-achieving women.
So let me tell you… I’m in the trenches. I’m not just writing this stuff from my high-horse. But I learned a thing or two about God and humanity. My nephew, each human, has their own path to walk. We all have our damage caused by emotional survival to either conquer, be in a relationship with (Most humans choose to remain in relationship with their damage by justifying it, make it the truth, values, beliefs, the way it is and everybody must think and live that way.) or ignore it (Those people who put on a persona in order to get as far away from the pain and damage as possible.). My nephew is going to make his choice. I’ll always love him regardless of the decision he makes. I hope and I pray to God every day he chooses option number one. We are similar in the ways that count, which means, I’m betting on him pulling through, regardless of how the women in my family tolerate and nurture slothfulness in men and in effect smothering their masculine power. That’s a whole other post about why that is. I will say, thanks to my ex-boyfriend, who I will always be grateful for, I learned a lot about those same traits in myself. I’m a much different woman/feminine being than I was before I met him five years ago, and it’s because of our beautiful yet heartbreaking relationship that most certainly had to end.
Anyway… That’s it. Don’t argue. Figure out other ways, better ways, more effective ways to communicate with others or yourself.
Z.L. Arkadie is an indie author of romance fiction. So far she has published 40 books--and there will be many more! Z.L.'s stories are addictive, smart and always sexy.