What is it like for your significant other to disagree with you?
It is hard to get anywhere?
Is it hard to be on the same page?
Here are some important tools or strategies for not just couples but also family members or friends.
This information comes from the Imago body of Research and from what I’ve seen and shared with my clients.
Usually, we show up as one of Two Disagreement Styles. Either as what we call the Elephant in the Room or the Hailstorm
If you are the Elephant in the Room when things get heated and intense with your partner or family member, you have a tendency to get really overwhelmed. The disagreements feel too stressful and make it important to have time to cool down. During arguments, you tend to shut down.
When you’ve had enough of the issue, you tend to stop talking and sometimes are accused of seeming to care no longer. You may be viewed as if you are ignoring your partner, but really, you’re overwhelmed and need a minute. When overwhelmed, some might say a joke and try to change the subject. While others may say something rude in order to shut down the whole conversation. When you end the conversation for relief, it is not usually done in a helpful way. Does this sound like you or your spouse?
Remember, there is another argument type to consider, the Hailstorm. During disagreements or when your feelings are hurt, you need to resolve the issue right away. What is wrong with that? How could that be a problem, you might ask?
The issue is that the pressure is too much and too intense. An example of this is if you are in a category of the hailstorm and you’re in your feelings: you might follow your partner around the room throughout the house. Or you might send them tons of text messages making sure your mate hears you and understands your concerns. You thoroughly review your concerns, even if it entails repeatedly going over the same issue. It simply can’t wait. But the issue is it might not be the right time to talk about it. Especially if your energy is so intense or your partner is overwhelmed. You may make your partner feel so small or cornered that they even feel the need to blow up to match your energy to help them protect their pride, agree with something uncomfortable, or abandon the conversation altogether.
This can feel like a parent-child situation, and that’s not sexy at all to have that kind of relationship in a marriage. If you’re in this endless loop in your marriage, ask us about our amazing couples counseling services.
Written by: Natasha D. Oates, Award-winning therapist & marriage counselor