By Katie MacDougall, LPC
We’ve all been there. It’s that argument again. You know the one: the one we’ve had one hundred different times. You could recite their points from memory and they can recite your points right back. The argument is never resolved, only closed until it rears its head for the next round marriage counselor edmond.
So how do we stop that argument?
Second Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” If the Spirit of the Lord is in your relationship, then freedom is possible from circular arguing.
But how do we experience freedom circular arguing?
First let’s start with figuring out what empathy is.
Brené Brown describes empathy as “communicating that incredibly healing message of, ‘You’re not alone.’”
Webster’s defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”
In relation to circular arguing, let’s break down empathy and how it can bring freedom marriage counselor edmond.
If empathy is communicating “you’re not alone,” it would look like saying:
“I don’t like coming home to the house being a disaster either. The mess overwhelms me too.” Instead of our normal, defensive, “It’s not like I just sit on the couch all day waiting for you to come home!”
If empathy is understanding, it would look like:
“I know when I work late it feels like I don’t want to be here.” Instead of, “Someone has to bring home money, what do you want me to do about it?”
If empathy is trying to experience the feelings, thoughts, and marriage counselor edmond experiences of the other person even when we haven’t actually been in their shoes, arguing would look like this:
“I can’t imagine how hard it is to need physical touch and me not want it.” Instead of, “I’m just sick of you asking for sex. I’m not going to do something I don’t want to do!”
Second let’s figure out what empathy is not.
Empathy is not trying to fix the problem. Simply listening and trying to understand will likely de-escalate the problem, allowing brainstorming and problem solving to happen with more ease after the other person feels more understood.
Empathy is not advice-giving. Advice feels like a slap in the face when you’re not feeling loved. It may feel like you have the perfect advice for that moment or situation, but it will likely not be received well when the person feels unloved. Timing is important.
Empathy is not trying to make the person feel better about the issue. You are not responsible for the other person’s feelings. You are responsible for the way you communicate. When you work to make the other person feel better, you are stepping out of the realm of your responsibility. Instead, work to communicate in a way that feels loving and supportive marriage counselor edmond. That kind of communication will likely help the person feel better without you taking on responsibility that is not yours to take.
If we stop to empathize before getting our point across, our arguments really won’t be arguments anymore. Instead, they will be opportunities to listen, connect, and grow.
How can you empathize instead of argue today?