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Dirty Fighting Techniques

If you really want to win the battle you may be able to by using any of the following techniques. But a word of warning is in order: when you use dirty fighting techniques to win an argument, both you and your partner ultimately lose!

Escalating: Quickly move from the main issue of the argument to questioning your partner's basic personality, and then move on to wondering whether the relationship is even worth it. Blame your partner for having a flawed personality so that a happy relationship will be impossible. You surely will gain the upper hand!

Timing: Look for a time when your partner is least able to respond or least expects an argument—like just before he or she leaves for work, or late at night, or during a favorite TV show. Catch your partner off guard!

Crucializing: Exaggerate the importance of an issue by drawing conclusions of great magnitude regarding the relationship. "If you loved me, you would never have done this" is a good one. Or try: "This proves you have never cared about me."

Brown Bagging: Never stick to just the original issue. Bring up as many problems as possible, and in great detail. Think of every complaint you can from your past history and lay them all on your partner at the same time. An overwhelmed person can never fight back effectively!

Asking Why: Treat your partner like an irresponsible child. "Why didn't you clean up after dinner?" "Why don't you love me like John loves Helen?" Make your partner feel that he or she is incapable of an adult relationship rather than focusing on the issue at hand.

Cross Complaining: When your partner complains about something, make sure you raise a complaint of your own. "I forgot to take make up the bed? How about all the times you haven't taken out the garbage?"

Over-Generalizing: Use words like " never " or " always ." "You never act decent to my mother." This will force your partner into defending his or her overall actions rather than looking at the issue at hand.

Blaming: Make it clear that you are not at fault and that you are simply the victim. Never admit that you play any part in the difficulty and that you will never make any changes. Let your partner know that he or she is entirely at fault and that if the relationship is to get any better, it is your partner who will have to change.

Using Sarcasm: This really gets their goat! "Well, lookee here at who's so perfect all the time!" Use just the right tone and your partner may not have a good comeback. Push their buttons!

Mind Reading: Let your partner know that you are the expert in how he or she feels or thinks. This way you won't have to deal with any issues at all. "You don't really feel angry right now." "You didn't mean to say you wouldn't be home for dinner." Deprive your partner of all rights as an equal.

Fortune Telling: Like mind-reading, this technique gives you the upper hand. "You will never change" demoralizes your partner and effectively blocks resolution of the real issues at hand.

Pulling Rank: Don't address the real issues— it's much easier just to say that you bring home more money, or you have more friends, or you have more education, or you do more around the house. "When you make as much money as I do, then I'll listen to you" works like a charm. Keep your partner down! There's no need for equality in a relationship!

Not Listening: Don't let your partner know that you value his or her opinion or feelings. Hear only what you want to hear and ignore the rest. Reinterpret whatever your partner says to suit your own needs. Better yet, interrupt whenever your partner starts to talk. Or pretend to read or fall asleep while your partner is talking. A powerful tactic is to leave the house whenever your partner brings up an issue for discussion.

Giving Advice: Whenever your partner wants to talk over a problem, always act like the expert. You should tell the person how to act, think and feel. Always have the better answer. If this is ever questioned you can always say that you were only trying to be helpful.

Labeling: Learn some negative terms like "neurotic," "alcoholic," "immature," or "paranoid" to use whenever you want to give the impression that the other person is at fault. For a potent impact, use a term like "You slob..." whenever you want to suggest that your partner is inherently flawed as a person rather than focusing primarily on behaviors that can change.

Avoiding Responsibility. Bring any disagreement to a sudden halt by saying "I forgot." Other convenient excuses could include: "I had too much to drink," or "I guess I was tired." Why engage in a discussion when it is much easier just to avoid the whole thing?

Playing the Martyr: If timed properly, this technique can completely disorient your partner. "You're right, honey, I guess there really is no hope for me." How can your partner respond to that? Let him or her think they have won the victory! If there is no other alternative, pretend to be sick until your partner's behavior changes— and blame your illness on your partner.

Rejecting Compromise: Never back down. Stick with the philosophy that only one of you can win.

Working Resources is a Leadership Consulting, Training and Executive Coaching Firm Helping Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent People; Emotional Intelligence-Based Interviewing and Selection; Multi-Rater 360-Degree Feedback; Career Coaching; Change Management; Corporate Culture Surveys and Executive Coaching.

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams
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