Do you keep having the same fights?

8 Jul

This article is part of the series “31 blogs in 31 days” during July 2017 on

I am eternally grateful to Ross and Rachel (yes, from Friends) for the phrase:

“I cannot keep having the same fight over and over again!”

It stuck with me the first time I heard it – it was during a big fight which eventually lead to them breaking up – and on a few occasions when I was fighting with somebody, it came back screaming to me in my head. We keep having the same fights, without getting anywhere.

This is something I keep noticing in my own life and around me a lot. Once a certain conflict is in the room, it often reappears over and over again. Sometimes in slightly different forms, but the root of the problem remains the same. Perhaps humans just aren’t creative enough to come up with new problems, or, more likely, once there is a conflict it starts to infect our attention and our thinking. Like a virus, it starts to cloud our senses and everything that happens then gets filtered through that particular lens.

If you think your partner is unreliable, and if this is something you don’t particularly appreciate, chances are that you will keep noticing this particular trait with some regularity. If you can’t stand your mum criticising your much loved outfits, you will probably hear her niggling about other things too. We are habitual creatures and our interactions follow the same patterns. There usually really isn’t that much new. Habits, structures and pattern of course also have their upsides. But whether we like it or not, we also tend to hang on to the bad stuff. Yes, pain is part of the human experience and there may be a level of comfort in familiar pain (“This is just a part of me”), but if it starts to take over your relationships, do something.

Anybody who has ever counselled couples will agree that it’s the patterns that make the problems. And it’s by breaking those patterns that you allow new energies, new thinking, new experiences, perhaps even a new kind of love to grow and develop. Those patterns are usually much more obvious to outsiders than to the people affected. The body language, the choice of words, the audio levels – they quickly become familiar. As does the fact that those conflicts tend to stay on a certain, superficial level and don’t get to the root.

But the thing is, unless you start addressing the root of the problem, it will keep re-appearing and it will keep bothering you. Like bad weeds. Conflicts themselves are pretty emotionless, but they can grow tall and add a lot of pain to your life, so it’s in your very own interest to nip things in the butt when you notice patterns of conflict in your interactions with others. Before they manifest themselves and become routine. Because routine pain sucks, it drains our energies, it takes away a lot of fun and it makes us unfair judges. More often than we think, we can put an end to a painful pattern and at least make space for some new conflicts. We all need our 99 problems, right?!

Picture: Pixabay / CC0


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