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4 warning signs – and how to turn conflict into love?

  1. Escalation

If you have ever been in a conflict with your partner and shouted, “You never do this or always do that”, then you have stepped away from what you were actually talking about and the conflict has escalated from something specific to killing your partner. This is essentially a warning signal. If you move away from the specific and into the general, you have deviated. You can hear it in your own language, because the words “always” and “never” are generalisations. Stop and go back to what you are currently feeling or what you want to express.

  1. Underestimate

Nothing can send a disagreement into the red zone like belittling another person. So if you’ve ever been told, “You’re also often hard to talk to when you haven’t eaten lunch,” or if you’ve ever been told, “Is it that time of the month?”, then you know what I mean. When you belittle, you set yourself up to be misunderstood and distanced from your partner. Because whether your partner is hungry or PMS, he or she still has every right to their feelings – and to be heard.

  1. Negative interpretation

If, during an argument with your spouse, you feel anger building up inside you, it’s good to take a break. Vrede ødelægger parforholdet. In a delicate interplay of mind, body and emotions, your own negative feelings often lead to more negative statements about the other person than may be necessary. I encourage my clients to take responsibility for their anger by giving themselves what they need – whether that’s a 10-minute break, a cup of coffee or a hug. It’s important to talk from a place where you don’t just see your partner’s bad intentions, faults and shortcomings, because this turns everything the other person says into an overwhelmingly negative interpretation – and then the argument escalates.

  1. Retreat

When you feel “cold”, distant or aloof, you are dangerously withdrawing. Let me clear up any confusion. It’s fine to say, “I’m getting hot, so I’m going to take a break and be back in 10 minutes.” That’s taking responsibility for your feelings. Looking away, sighing deeply and saying, “Do whatever you want,” that’s withdrawing. It’s basically saying, “I don’t care about you.” It can provoke strong reactions. Because when we are afraid of losing the person we love, we start arguing – and that makes for more heated arguments.

  1. Turn conflict into love

Once you recognise the warning signs, you can stop them. It’s like a magic trick, but without the magic. Simply put, you have to practise stopping and doing something else when you see the warning signs. Stop; take a breath; go back to the conversation in a different way. It’s good to share this information with your partner and practise communication where you stop when it becomes dangerous. Because talking supports your love – even about what you disagree about and what is uncomfortable between you. You just have to talk about it in a way that creates intimacy.

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