Fighting is what kids do. They do it because they are trying to establish boundaries, power and a sense of who they are. They have no skills and they react to life in a sometimes aggressive or defensive way. They are fighting for space, control, respect and autonomy. That’s how we know they are not yet grown-ups!
Those we consider to be adults are grown-up because they are fully-developed and mature. Many adults I see are neither (especially those who play power games on the freeway, but that’s another article). Their bodies may be mature, but the rest? Not so much! They are doing just what kids do: fighting, both within themselves and with others at home and at work. All they want is respect, but they have not yet learned what it is, where it begins, how it is acquired and how important it is to be the one who “goes first”.When I’m working with couples, they are often exhausted from fighting. They arrive in my office or on the telephone at the ends of their tethers, holding on by a thread. And that last remaining thread usually is: “If only he/she would just…” That might sound familiar: Do you ever use that phrase when complaining about your partner? However, aside from outright abuse, it is likely the basis for the relationship going south. Why? Because, surprisingly and frustratingly, it’s not about the other person. It’s about you. (I know; how annoying is that)?