Counselling in Wokingham – Arguments about little things

Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – paulcockayne3@gmail.com
This blog is intended to give you a flavour of how I work. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the bottom right of this page

Do you find that you and your partner argue about little things? What is the best way to load the dishwasher? Whose turn is it to take the dog for a walk? What should you have for dinner? What time should the kids go to bed?

Many couples find that they argue about little things – things that aren’t really that important – and can’t understand why they do it. It is also a common pattern that the little arguments become more frequent, and escalate more rapidly. You can get to the stage where you are expecting every conversation to lead to an argument – and that in itself makes it all the more likely that they will do so.

A useful technique to defuse arguments is to have a scoring system you both use. So when yet another argument about Which Shelf of the Cupboard the Baked Beans Go On threatens to start, just ask yourself the question “on a scale from 1 to 10, how important is it to me that the beans are kept on the shelf I prefer?” If you find you are both scoring it very low, just let it go. It can be difficult to do – at the time the argument can seem important – but it is an important first step towards resolving your difficulties.

Being able to let these things go is, in general, just a first step. The scoring technique can reduce the number of arguments you have, but it does not answer the question of why you have these arguments about silly little things. But stopping these little arguments clears the way to look at the underlying causes.

Generally, the answer to that tends to be “because it is a way of avoiding arguments about the big things”. Underneath these little arguments will be some important feelings; very often the arguments conceal deep concerns about the relationship. If we are feeling insecure – unsure whether our partner still loves us – we can seek reassurance through small signs. Then small things can start to take on a huge significance, hence the arguments about trivial matters.

When we are feeling worried and insecure, our thinking can become a bit warped. We can start to believe “If my partner really loved me they would put the baked beans on the second shelf of the cupboard”. Put like this, the idea seems absurd; love (hopefully) goes a little deeper than that! And yet it can really feel like that when we are stressed and concerned.

Counselling can help you to get below the surface, to understand what the big issues are, and talk about them in a safe environment. And if you can talk about the real issues in an adult way, the little arguments will just evaporate.

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About Paul Cockayne

Counsellor, musician, iPhone developer, games-player, cheese-lover....
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