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Arguments and Comfortable Intensity

We are all familiar with arguments in family life, you know, the ones where we get into an argument with our kids and or our partner, words are spoken on both sides that should not have been said, and the atmosphere at home is thick as treacle. Is it any wonder we make sure we have a hard shell for protection?


But, have you ever asked how you get there and why it feels like that? 


What if there was more being communicated than just the verbal communication that came out of our mouths... what if every thought we had were part of a smorgasbord of thoughts that just hung around in the air waiting to be chosen and depending on the choice we made, the smorgasbord would change to suit the next scenario. It sounds like a computer game where you choose your story, doesn’t it? Yet, that is how it can feel when we find ourselves in yet another argument that we didn't actually want to have.   


So let’s use the computer game model for a while and imagine that although everything isn’t necessarily being spoken out loud, we are able to pick up whether someone is saying genuinely what they want to say... or adjusting it to better suit what they think we want to hear. This makes for a whole world of comfortable intensity as we are all second-guessing ourselves and if we have understood what is being communicated. 


No wonder the air feels thick as treacle.  

Perhaps, if the unspoken thoughts that were hanging around took physical form, we might be less surprised about why we feel bruised after certain conversations or why we have build a protective shell around ourselves. Yet, these words are not physical structures we bump into, and therefore, we go internal and question why we feel the way we do. We reason that we are just not feeling right or well or a little out of sorts.   

To consider that our thoughts and what comes out of our mouths can hurt someone brings a new level of responsibility to our communication. Are we ready for that?  


If we love our children, and we know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that unspoken barrage, then perhaps we can run an experiment to see how often we have sent out a missile to someone we purport to love, and how often we are on the receiving end of those missiles. Simply an experiment in observation as a foundation for changing our own behaviour so we don’t contribute to an arms race in our own homes. 


If we don’t want to go there, then it makes sense that we work to ignore what we are feeling and normalise arguments and get comfortable with intensity. 


We get comfortable with the uncomfortable 


So that simple question again, why would we choose to do that to ourselves or those we say we love? It makes no sense,  


If we don't want that, then a simple focus on the noise we have in our heads, perhaps paying attention to what words and thoughts are sitting in the air around our heads and choose to clean up our act. The potential is that we at least stop sending Exocet missiles to those we purport to love, and recognise that the Exocet missiles sent our way are not personal but sent by someone who has got too used to the treacle in the air around them. As you add less treacle, there could be less reaction/treacle from another, and the potential for another level of responsibility and accountability in loving relationships presents. 


If we make moves to understand why we get into arguments and get way too comfortable in that intensity, then we may find the treacle we have taken as our normal and dare we say ‘uncomfortable ‘comfortable’ way of living can be an experiment we choose not to take part in any more. 

Photo by Canva


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