Today I want to talk to you about the 3 layers to every argument. There’s always more going on inside of a conflict than most of us realize.

Our thoughts

The first layer are our thoughts on the topic that we are disagreeing about. When we’re in conflict with someone, we tend to think of ourselves almost as attorneys who are “arguing our case” and we become really focused on the points that we’re making. In fact, we become overly focused on our thoughts and our points and most of us can be unaware of the 2 other layers that are always active and present during a disagreement.

Our physiology

The second layer is our physiology. Our physical experience and our physical symptoms. A researcher by the name of Gottman found that a large number of people are prone to doing what he calls physiologically flooding when they are in an argument with their partner. What that means is they go through the same fight, flight, or freeze response in a disagreement as they would if they were in a car accident and in some other upsetting event. So, even though there is no physical danger in a verbal disagreement, they will still have a very strong physiological response.

That physiological experience is usually going to get in our way of being effective problem solvers in that moment. In fact, it can cause us to operate from a primal place, which is not a good thing. If you’ve ever said something in an argument that you regretted the next day, there’s a possibility that you were flooding and that’s why you hit below the belt.

Our emotions

The third layer present in every disagreement are our emotions. A lot of us can easily identify that we were really frustrated or really angry however, there is an entire other layer to our emotional experience. A second layer below our anger and frustration. Until folks learn about that layer and how to incorporate it, they tend to have the same argument over and over again.

So, those are the 3 layers that are always present. Your thought on the topic, your physiological experience, and the 2 layers of emotions that are going on in that moment. If you would like to learn more about how to argue less with your partner and how to become a better communicator, CLICK HERE to schedule your free initial consultation with us.

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