When you’re in a committed adult relationship, you’re coming in with some baggage. That baggage probably has it’s own carry-on. And inside that carry-on is a travel bag with your shampoo and conditioner and more bullshit that’s hidden way deep down. These rules are based on what I’ve learned from experience and education as a therapist.
When I’m talking about maintaining respectful boundaries physically, mentally, and emotionally, this is a large area of coverage. Let me break it down a bit, after I give you a little bit of background as to why I included the physical one. After my divorce from an abusive sociopath with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I was diagnosed with PTSD. You’re wondering why this matters. It does.
When I got with my current fiancee, our first fights were quite difficult for me. So, when we would fight, I would ask him not to stand between myself and the door, to sit away from me, and not to shout at me. These were all triggers for me and, if they didn’t work out during a fight, I wasn’t fighting with him, I was having a flashback and fighting with my ex.
As far as mental and emotional boundaries, when you share your life with someone, really share, you learn everything about them. This includes all of their emotional vulnerabilities and you learn what buttons to push. And, during a fight, people often decide that they want to push each other’s buttons just to pour some salt into the wounds.
This then escalates a fight to throwing in all of the other things that shouldn’t be thrown in like, “Remember when you did to me?!” Who cares about that? If you use the fighting rules, you know that the fight has to stay in the present to make the argument at all helpful and productive. Fighting about that thing that happened 3 months ago or 8 years ago doesn’t help you figure out how to solve any problems in the present.
When you stay focused on the current fight and in your present mind, you can be so productive and reduce the time that you’re fighting. No one wants to pull an all-nighter fighting with their loved one over something that is probably either doesn’t matter in the big picture of your relationship, is symptomatic of another bigger issue in your relationship, or something that simply cannot be solved by argument (hint: money).
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**Please feel free to share your comments and some of your own personal fighting rules!