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Mary Lee Zetter, LCSW-C
Fighting Styles In Relationships
Arundel Mind Body Institute
. http://arundelmindbody.org/

Fighting Styles In Relationships

Part 2
This issue will focus on getting in touch with your fighting style and responses to conflict.
In any relationship in order to deepen the connection, it is important to observe and understand how your partner responds and handles conflict and what his/her communication style is before effectively handling the distressing issue.
Four major ways in which people react when they sense a conflict brewing is related to the following animals
Turtle – tucks the head in and wait until it blows over.
Tiger – comes out with fangs bared and claws extended.
Skunk – raises a stink and runs.
Friendly puppy – tries to make everyone smile and be happy.
Which one of these reminds you most of your fighting or conflict style?Since the purpose is not to win the argument but to win over the conflict, be aware of the styles and how you can interact with each of them most effectively.
When you are dealing with a turtle, it is tempting to badger him until he comes out of his shell and tells you what is on his mind.This leads to a spiraling downward argument while the turtles shell gets thicker or explodes in rage.It is helpful to back off gently, waiting for him to feel safer to speak his mind while assuring him that you can handle his feelings without criticizing.
When you encounter the tiger, do not accuse or place blame. Defend yourself until you completely hear the persons anger out so the energy gets dissipated before attempting a solution.
When you fight with a skunk you feel unable to defend yourself as there is no one to speak with. Follow him to help him feel safe to be heard as you listen to his feelings.
It is hard to fight with a friendly puppy but it is important to protect him from giving up his position while listening carefullybefore making your own case.
Following these suggestions help problems get solved more easily while respecting other fighting styles.

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