Managing Temporary Conflict

If someone important to you—a spouse, for example—becomes defensive or hostile, then she’s probably starting to lose touch with the facts. You
will do your relationship, the person with whom you’re in temporary conflict, and even yourself no service by starting to place emotions over reason. Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to escalate simply because it might feel good to do so. Think of a food fight in a high school cafeteria.

It might feel good to the students at the time, especially if the fight started over a small conflict between two students, but the mess is still going to have to be cleaned up when the fight is over (by the students themselves, on what would have been their recreational time, if the school officials have any sense). Don’t engage in the equivalent of a verbal and emotional food fight with your spouse or others important to your life. It’s not mature and it doesn’t make rational sense even from your own selfish point-of-view. Words said only in emotion, and perhaps not really meant, at least in that exact emotional context, have ways of coming back to haunt.