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Dr Bonnie Eaker-Weil #1 Love Expert in the World

Make Up Don't Break Up available at Amazon.com

LESSON 4 – FIGHTING FAIR
SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS

Supplemental Material for Lesson 4 Fighting Fair


Smart Heart Steps to Fighting Fair

Initially, you need to practice these skills with small and less volatile issues to get the hang of them. Think of it as “on-the-relationship training.”

  • Ask permission; set a time-limited (ten minutes to start), mutually agreeable appointment and keep it.
  • Enclose yourselves in your bubbles and put on your bullet-proof vests and fluffy boxing gloves,
  • Raise your right hand and pledge: “I will make it safe for your and I will not be hurt by your script, words, or emotions.”
  • Block out your own thoughts and feelings and listen to your partner.
  • Don’t say “What about me?”
  • Echo what your partner said back to him or her to make sure you understood. (These simple skills can eliminate countless misunderstandings.)
  • Walk in your partner’s shoes. Make him or her feel safe—no criticisms or zingers.
  • Stretch! Go beyond your comfort zone. Agree to give your partner three changes in behavior that are not easy for you.
  • Do not “give to get.” Do not ask your partner to make any changes when it’s your turn to offer your own.
  • When your partner relates an experience with a particularly charged emotion, ask when she or he felt this way before, such as from childhood or with an ex-spouse (do not throw this vulnerability up later in the dialogue or at any time).
  • Before, during, and after each fair fight, give each other attachment skills such as hugging, kissing, stroking each others hair, and gazing into each other’s eyes. Also engage in “high-energy play” like pillow fighting (á la Dr. Hendrix), wrestling, exercising together, or having sex to create endorphins and reverse the flow of negative emotions.

Smart Heart Skills That Make Fighting Fair Work

  • Appreciate change
  • Coach each other and reward each other for changes that are sustained.
  • Take time-0ut when either of you begins to feel overwhelmed, emotionally flooded, or overloaded with information. Time-outs are not punishments! Use the to regroup and appreciate each other.
  • Do not minimize or “but” your partner’s feelings. Minimizing and saying “but” are forms of invalidation.
  • Accentuate the positive; think positive thoughts about your partner three times daily, especially after a fight.
  • Make specific complaints in a positive way (women especially). Do not attack. Ask permission to give a criticism and validate your partner before you state the complaint.
  • Stay focused on the topic and coach your partner to do so if he or she strays.
  • Soothe your partner. If your partner is upset, don’t say how upset you are.
  • Use humor and affection.
  • Don’t compete or counter-attack, just walk in your partner’s shoes—you will get your turn, but wait for at least one hour (preferably one day) so it’s not seen as a contest but rather listening to your partner without just waiting your turn.
  • Don’t shake your head “no” or smile or laugh inappropriately while your partner is talking; do not call him or her a liar or roll your eyes. That’s invalidation.
  • Don’t worry if the new way of communicating feels mechanical or artificial; it will for a while. Resist the temptation to recreate the old homeostasis and go back to your old and ineffective ways of fighting.

excerpt from
Make Up Don’t Break Up
by Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil – 2nd Edition pg 143

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