006 – How to Have an Argument with an Avoidant Partner

You Are Not Listening by {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie via Flikr.com“Avoidant” partners often attempt to protect the relationship during conflict by pulling away. This is ironic given that Dr. John Gottman has identified stonewalling – emotional withdrawal from interaction – one of the four best predictors of divorce.

Obviously, reducing conflict is one way to avoid triggering this response, however, conflict in our dance with our closest relations is inevitable. So how exactly does one have a fair fight with an “avoidant” without destroying the relationship? Dr. Rebecca Jorgensen and I explore this subject in our latest podcast.

 

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Transcript

Welcome to Wefulness where we discuss the science of profound connection.  I’m Wefulness co-editor Gregory Blake.  Today we are talking with relationship expert Dr. Rebecca Jorgensen.

G:  Hi Becca.

R:  Hey Greg.

G:  I have a question that’s been in my mind for a while now.  With so much of the avoidants’ behavior being pulling away, I wonder how do you have a fair argument with someone who is avoidant?  If you can’t talk to them or that is sort of my impression so I need some clarification on it.  How do we actually have disagreements?  Cause disagreements happen in all relationships, so I’m curious.

R:  Okay, well that’s a great question, first off.  None of us really like to have arguments, but we know invariably that they’re going to happen when we are walking in close proximity to someone, we end up stepping on each other’s toes.  Or the analogy that Sue Johnson would use, we’re dancing with someone in a close relationship; we’ll end up tripping up on each other, stepping on each other’s toes.  At those times, that’s when we’re really talking about.  What happens then if the person that you are dancing with is avoidant?  And when you get tripped up, what they want to do is get off the dance floor.  That’s kind of the question, right? Continue reading