February 2, 2017
Ever dissect the components of an argument? Arguments to debate a claim are typically the manner utilized by professionals, students and teachers, employees and employers, etc. This type of argument is refined and comparable to an art form. The arguer makes a claim to their audience, applies reasoning and supporting information or documentation for such a claim, then warrants the resolution of said claim. All skillful thought processes since argumentation is a procedure in which to influence an outcome.
Positive results are often realized when elements are argued effectively. For instance, a student defending their thesis. A scientist debating a newly discovered method to advance research in their field. An employee vying for a raise or higher position in the organization. Each shed a positive light on the term, ‘argument’. On the negative side ‘argument’ is a word which makes most of us cringe.
We cringe because arguing has received condemnation in relationships as a means to an end. End of a friendship, relationship, or marriage. While it’s true, most couples disagree about something, reoccurring issues continually vie for top slot. Money usually sits on the pole, but close seconds are sex, relatives/children, cleanliness/tidiness, food/cooking, addictions (smoking, drinking, etc.), denial/blame, control and fabrication. Obviously not in any particular order, all, or none of these, may surface during various stages of a relationship.
However, a ‘he said’ ‘she said’ battle to see who can raise their voice louder for longer has clearly lost its footing in effective communication. Sadly, this type of dysfunctional discussion has become a norm for many couples. I, too, have been caught in the middle of dramatic attempts to communicate and it’s exhausting.
Thus, I resort to listening while someone rants because I’ve realized when a discussion becomes a battlefield instead of a conduit for negotiation with the person whom I’m communicating they are probably suffering an internal struggle. Therefore, not genuinely engaged in a mutual resolution. Hence, internal conflict…they are arguing with their self. This occurred to me while listening to someone defend an issue grounded in fabrication. The internal conflict of being dishonest (with their self also) was being projected into an outward circumstance. The argument.
Aside from “normal” disagreements over tangibles such as: money, furniture, laundry, how to squeeze the toothpaste tube or where to live. There can also lie undercurrents of intangibles like: denial, blame, control, jealousy, even the need to be right no matter how wrong it is.
For instance, walk with me through this scenario: I lied. Now I need to defend the lie making it sound plausible by offering supporting information (further untruths) to add substance to the original fabrication. Wow, I have escalated the claim to a whole new level because I’m no longer focused on proving the lie is true. I’m too busy ranting. Struggling to convince myself. This creates internal conflict which causes me to feel guilty, or ashamed. Yet, I can’t tell the truth now because I have a fear of appearing vulnerable. Being judged. Or, admitting a mistake. Thus, I become the proverbial brick wall. Yelling louder, longer, and saying whatever it takes to beat my opponent into submission. (Figuratively speaking, of course.) When, in reality, I only defeated myself when trust met an unfortunate demise after bursting into flames during an avoidable heated argument. Sigh, if I had just told the truth.
Take blame as another example of internal conflict. Basically, it’s never my fault. It’s always your fault. I say this, because…well, it’s true. Besides, when I deny my actions and project accountability for those actions onto someone else by blaming them, it’s makes it their fault. Meanwhile, I relish in my freedom from responsibility. Right? Wrong.
Blaming others is a character flaw some folks don’t grow out of as they grow up. Remember, “I didn’t do it, they did!” When we hold onto this outward projection to avoid being accountable for our own actions we fall into a spin cycle of never accepting responsibility. I’ve read extroverts blame others, while introverts blame themselves. You would think these two would make the perfect couple because they’ve already accepted their roles. Yet trying to win an argument by blaming someone else is your own internal conflict and self-destructive. Next time you use denial as a springboard to project blame, point all the fingers you want. Just stand in front of the mirror when you do, and have a fair argument with yourself.
Friends, use argumentation as a means to a beginning, not an end. Beginning of compromise, mutual resolution, and honest, effective communication. Use conversational tones. Keep it real by overcoming internal conflicts. Accept responsibility. Hold yourself accountable for your actions and remember, arguments can easily become agreements. A win-win!
“”Can you imagine’’’…talking to a brick wall?
Smile, it’s your day to shine!