Is My Fighting Unhealthy?
Here are some key signs from therapist Lynn Foote that you can look for in yourself or your partner for when your fighting is starting to become unhealthy:
- The pace and intensity of the argument is escalating dramatically.
- You are trapped in blame and shame.
- You have stopped listening and are preparing your counter attack while you partner is speaking.
- You are no longer thinking clearly, nor are you taking in the new information, either from your partner or from within yourself.
- You are stuck in a cyclical pattern so that the conversation is no longer productive.
- You are “kitchen sinking,” which means you have left the particular issue of the conflict and have brought in the laundry list of complaints.
- You feel that you, your partner, or the conversation is out of control.
When Fighting Becomes Violence
When people in conflict try to control and overpower another verbally, sexually, psychologically or physically, the fighting shifts to interpersonal or domestic violence. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines it as: “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse”.
Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. It is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior that is only a fraction of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and in severe cases, even death. The devastating physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.
Fortunately, there is help for both victims and perpetrators of interpersonal violence. Finding Support: Agencies; Support Groups