The end of arguing

When I choose fight instead of flight. Scary!

I don’t like arguments and in my relationships they normally come about in those moments when I most want to express love but I feel most incapable and unworthy to do so. I hate the way arguments make me feel to the point where I now just go numb and quiet and can’t get a word out and end up walking away. There is nothing more disappointing and hurtful than screaming and criticizing someone I care about and I don’t want to be in a position where that happens. In those moments the thing I want to hear most is that I’m still loved no matter how wrong I get it, and the fear of having that love taken away because I don’t measure up evokes a kind of animal response that’s the complete opposite of what I want to see happening. The response used to be to fight, now it is definitely flight.
But arguments have a kind of dreaded magic to them. Somehow the worst arguments are with the people who we care about most deeply and who are most important to us. The passion that is evoked in an argument is sometimes as true a showing of love and devotion as an act of kindness, but I prefer to have my life end without having another one.
The spiral of a wrong word or tone of voice to a worse word and nastier tone makes me anxious just thinking about it. How can the person I love so much doubt my good intentions? How do they not know that I value them too much to do them any harm? Why don’t they see that their happiness is equal to my own? What makes them blind to my devotion to them? Don’t they understand how much it hurts when their eyes flash with the heat of anger and the cold of resentment at the same time? Have they forgotten that we were happy together a few hours ago? Can’t they just trust me without me having to explain and report my every move? No matter what I say during the argument, these are the questions I really want to ask them. But I’m too scared by their anger, I’m too fearful of losing them, I feel too vulnerable to be honest. So I fight back or run away and pretend not to care when I actually wish we could remember the good things we know about each other.
The worst is waking up to the thought that I am at odds with someone I care about. I avoid them not out of anger, but because I don’t want to be confronted what a shit job I’m making of loving them. They don’t even feel good about what I try to do, they get angry at me. So I pass without saying hello, I don’t start any conversations, I leave the room when they enter and try to stay out their way. If my attempts at loving them makes them unhappy, I’d rather just keep out of their way and not do something that makes it worse. And after a while of course they accuse me of being cold-hearted.
Some people can get over arguments easily, but the more honest I become with myself the more I have to admit that it hurts terribly. So I’d rather be thought of as inflexible, cold and heartless or selfish because it’s easier to sidestep arguments by behaving that way.
Arguments happen when people try to force or fight love out of each other and it never works that way. But arguments do serve to break down barriers and to express those scary feelings and irrational fears we all have. That is why making up is so great, it happens after we’ve broken down those walls we build around our hearts and more love can flow to and from us.
In part my last relationship ended because I couldn’t stand how intensely angry he became at me. He didn’t say a single swear word, he didn’t raise his voice, anyone witnessing the exchange would never have known he was in a rage, but it ended for me. Maybe we could have found a way to be together after the argument, but the prospect of him ever becoming that angry again was too off-putting.
His anger served a great purpose though. It was like I saw myself all the times I let my temper get away from me. I became all the people who have been at the receiving end of my anger, which is of legendary proportions. I saw how ugly and twisted it makes a beautiful person, how it poisonous it can be, but mostly how unnecessary it is.
Anything that can be screamed in anger can also be said reasonably, respectfully and lovingly. No argument has been resolved by a louder voice, nastier attitude or a more hurtful insult. Only understanding and peace resolves arguments, and I prefer to live a life where arguments no longer feature as a way to communicate difficult feelings.
The love I have for people is more important than forcing my will on them. Humble pie is much more tasty than the poison of anger and arguing. I have to learn to become OK with people being angry at me sometimes without retaliating and aggravating situations that can be handled in reasonable ways.
Neither fight nor flight is an option for me any longer, so I’d rather just come to the end of arguing altogether.


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