Tag Archives: needs

How To Curb Your Impulse To Argue


Argument (Photo credit: andrewmalone)

First, I will ask the reader to look at the difference between “argue” and “debate.”  Quite a few of us in American culture can run into some confusion, because of our pioneering spirit.  We cherish our independence.  A lot of early training in the families of this country, reflects the value in standing up for what we believe.  Otherwise, there would not be much protest against government agencies trying to dictate how to raise the kids and run the household.  We don’t like being told what to do, period.  I for one, hope that this healthy attitude continues.  Human beings are not sheep.

When a person is in debate of an issue, he does best when ready with a convincing set of facts.  His platform for debate may not guarantee a win of the most votes, but he can at least pavé the road to a later credible battle.  Unlike argument, which is a behavior based on emotional defense, the act of debating serves a purpose.  The opponent is invited to share information and the goal here is to clarify the gravity of the issue.  A solution is eventually reached.  In arguments, there is nothing but an angry push from each person to see who is the strongest.  And when emotion is ruling the behavior on each side, the information (if any) is only distorted and both parties are further from a solution.  So another day goes by without anything productive happening.  It’s just a cycle of futility.  To argue needlessly is akin to climbing a mountain made of butter with cellophane shoes.

My way of helping to curb the impulse to argue or be led into an argument is simple and easy.  Of course, this works best when there is a personal acknowledgement of the costs about such behavior.  The method has to do with using physical cues to help monitor the rate of impulsive acts.  Your job is to cut down on the number of times per day, that a disagreement or behavior triggers an emotional reaction.  For example, if six-year-old Johnny says the “No T.V. after 7:00 at night rule” is stupid and you are starting in with “No it’s not” then go ahead and put a colored chip labeled “I argued again” in the designated can.  I’ve been known to label the cans for this kind of process, with words that remind the client of what we talked about in the session.  Bringing a souvenir home from vacation has the same effect.


The anatomy of time-wasting assumptions.

Right now, I am writing another book on goal-setting.  More elements that are factored into a person’s effort to maintain personal goals have occurred to me with each sentence I construct.  There are so many experiences which I can attest to regarding how assumptions of other people’s behavior can get in the way and waste time.  I put in an example concerning my tendency to pout and grumble when someone else is using the laptop and I am wanting to write.  Sometimes my want

is driven by a blind passion to create.  By blind I mean letting my frustration build up with every moment I don’t get to do what I want.  My brain isn’t connected to my mouth at the time.  I start thinking “She (my wife) could care less if I ever get to write!”

Instead of scheduling a couple of hours in the evening to write and telling Christy way before this appointed time, I get into the habit of relying on impulse.  This results in me wanting to tackle something in the middle of her activity.  So here I go with the silent, festering angst which slowly builds up by each consecutive moment that my fingers aren’t hitting the keys.  Passion and a spin-cycle of fabricated “unfair” thoughts have a strangle hold on my tongue, of course until I decide to say “Christy.  I need to get on the laptop” and see what happens.

David W. Peace