Fighting as an adult is rarely a dignified affair. It's a bit ridiculous really and not very satisfying. By the time you reach adulthood, you have more than likely had at least one basic psychology class, so you know just enough about fighting to be obnoxious. Trying to remember to use phrases such as: “I need…, I want…, I feel…”, and “In the future…” is the psychologically responsible thing to do. However, my inner two-year old wants to have more of a conversation like “I need you to stop being a doo-doo head. I want to stick a dull pencil up your nose. I feel like running you over with my car. Twice. In the future, please remember that I know people who will help me dispose of your body. The previous conversation is SO much more satisfying than having a responsible, adult conversation. However, as grown-ups, we aren't allowed to say these things, so we move on to Communicating Like Adults.
This is where it gets interesting. By the time we reach the age of maturity, which for me should happen any day now, we have been in enough arguments to draw on our experience. We know how other people can hurt us and therefore we have our fortified walls in place. We learn how we can best hurt other people and we become nasty and vindictive. We have traveled through this passive-aggressive world, have embraced the sarcasm and fine-tuned it to our particular brand of anger to be shot at one another like bullets from a gun. We use social media to post vague yet pointed insults at one another “without naming names”. Communicating Like Adults takes you out of amateur hour and flings you into the pros of arguing, so you better be ready.
I can say with confidence that I am no good in an argument. I dislike confrontation and try to avoid arguing by being pretty easy going in the first place. Sometimes I will get riled up over something and my partner and I will fight, but if I can see the argument is going nowhere, I generally just try to placate whoever I’m having the useless conversation with and move on. Here is where the mature part comes in. After I have placated them and moved on I will then think of all of the things that I should have said and still need to say, and I will send them a text. Yes, Text Message Arguments. God, that's a good idea! An ethereal novella sent through the coldness of cyberspace-a text with no way to determine tone of voice and every possibility of misinterpreting inflection and meaning. Absolutely brilliant!
My reasoning is that I am not able to gather my thoughts while someone is actively confronting me. But after I can cool down and think things through, I regroup and am able to write down a coherent argument and/or apology. I need time to clear my head, think over all of the points we both made and make a decision about my stance on the subject. This makes me sound mature and logical, so I roll with this. But I sometimes wonder if it's not just me having to have the last word.
Next issue, the launching of insults with your partner as an adult. Get ready for the burn unit. We will insult your mother, your dog, and your priest. We will let you know in no uncertain terms that if you grandmother actually KNEW how to cook, there wouldn't have BEEN any lumps in her mashed potatoes. (Oh, even Nana isn't safe). The insults get creative too. Because, you can't just come out and call someone names, can you? Just calling someone an “asshole” or a “bitch” is very pedestrian and not terribly imaginative. So, you have to make swiping passes at insulting your partner.
- “Aw, your mother would be so proud of you right now”
- “It must be time for your period”
What these actually mean is:
Adults seem to have the upper hand on this type of insult trebuchet. When you called your friend Poop-Face as a kid, you didn't mean it,I mean not really, because thirty minutes later, the two of you were making mud-pies again anyway. Personally I would feel so much better if I could just be two years old once again. I’d drop my whole body on the floor, hold my breath and kick my feet. I’d call everyone within an earshot a Doody-Head and when I felt myself getting tired, I’d scream just to get myself worked up again.
Overall, I don't find myself in many arguments, but I think next time I do, I'm just going to have a full blown toddler-level melt-down. It may not stop anything, but I bet it will at least stave off the inevitable for a minute or two. Displays of insanity tends to put things on hold for a little bit!
Quote of the Day:
If you can't say something nice, say it in French.