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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Fighting Rules

Fighting Rules

Excerpt from the book Men Don’t Listen by Wayne Misner

Thanks again Wayne... Dr. Irene 

Next week: "Watch for the Red Flags"

January 20, 2001

“It is not necessary to understand  things in order to argue about them.” - Caron de Beaumarchais

This proverb encouraged me to write “Fighting Rules.”     
Next time you are upset with one another try using my “Fighting

Fighting Rules


Use  “I” statements.


No slapping, punching, pushing, grabbing, etc.


No swearing, denunciation, obscenities, character assassination, contempt, sarcasm, or taunting.


Only two people argue; all outsiders do not join in.


One partner talks two minutes and the other is quiet for two minutes and than the other partner talks   their two minutes (no interruptions).


Stay on the subject. (Not personalities i.e. "you’re just like your mother.")


Do not talk about anything that happened before--only the present subject, not the past.


Do not assume, guess, imagine, take for granted, theorize, surmise, speculate, make gestures, judgments, funny glances or faces about what your partner means. Find out!


Say what you feel. Don't assume the other knows what you   feel, want, need, or what you mean.


No belittling each other’s accomplishments.


Both always have equal rights.


No interrupting, switching, or changing the subject.


No manipulating.


Give each other the ability to withdraw or change their mind.


No criticizing or humiliating.


No putting undo pressure on the other.


No ranting and raving.


No intimidating or bullying.


Speak softly.


No getting angry (yelling or exploding).


Don’t make one feel guilty (no guilt trips).


 No martyrdom.


No discussion while either one of you is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


Be kind and courteous.

Use "I" Statements

Lori Gordon's dialogue guide = Passage to Intimacy
recommends using the following words:

I notice
I assume
I wonder
I suspect
I believe
I resent
I am puzzled
I am hurt
I regret
I am afraid
I am frustrated
I am happier
I want
I expect
I appreciate
I realize
I hope

I statements are not as offensive when you’re trying to be understood.

I have been criticized that no one will be able to remember all these points.  It’s possible that is true.  Which of the above do you think can be deleted? (The last one really covers them all if you can’t remember all the others.)

 “Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.”  - Benjamin Franklin

Technique for “Problem Solving”          

A procedure that might help when a problem must be discussed is shown in the following prototype:

                Along with the other one hundred fifty department heads  working at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey, I received an order.  Mr. Clark, president of the hospital, was explaining some of the recommendations of the Management Firm seminar that he had just completed.  One recommendation of the firm was that when a department head had a problem and wanted to discuss it with the president, the department head first had to research the problem, find three solutions, and then meet with him. Mr. Clark continued to explain that it was possible he would use one of the solutions or none of them.  He might come up with some of his own to be combined with the department heads' ideas or he might take pieces of more than one solution.

I recommend that you and your partner try this method.  This technique makes both of you work as a team.  The technique will create a true alliance and partnership. Instead of one person just dropping or dumping a problem on the other and walking away, both of you are looking for a mutually acceptable solution to most problems.

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Reprinted by permission of the author