How To Handle Fights When You Feel Like Your Husband Doesn’t Listen
Your husband doesn’t listen and you feel stuck, repeating the same cycles over and over again.
If you’re fighting to have your voice heard and want to stop fighting with your husband, the good news is that there’s a way out of this cycle. It takes work but you can do it.
The first thing you need to know is that most fights are about being heard.
You know how most fights escalate: One person says something, the other person argues, and you go back and forth until you’re yelling.
The truth is, you just want him to stop and listen to you, don’t you?
It takes some emotional maturity to step back and implement some of the skills that can turn things around. But it’s worth it!
If your husband doesn’t listen, how do you handle fights?
You might be asking, “Why do I have to do all the work?”
I get it!
But, the more you take responsibility for communicating in an inspiring way, the more he will want to listen to you, too. Then, he’ll be inspired to do the work with you.
Criticism versus complaining.
One of the first tools to master is knowing when you’re criticizing or complaining.
As women, sometimes, criticism can motivate us to do better.
Unfortunately, most men often take complaints and criticisms as powerful, direct attacks. Most men’s core vulnerability is “I’m doing it wrong,” whereas most women’s core vulnerability is “I’m not loved.”
Since his ego is tied to his accomplishments, when you criticize his actions, he feels attacked, and most men will either get defensive or withdraw.
Most men hate being told what to do.
The same thing happens with telling him what to do — and most women don’t even realize they are doing this.
If they sense that you are trying to control them, they’ll do just the opposite. Reverse psychology may seem like an idea here, but it can hurt your relationship in the long run.
So, if you’re fighting and trying not to complain, criticize, or tell him what to do, what do you do?
What is self-soothing?
Since you can only control yourself, you can take the first step: Self-soothe and focus on your feelings and needs, so you can communicate them in a way that inspires him to listen.
What may benefit you more than anything else is the ability to self-soothe. This means soothing your own frustration, anger, and disappointment so you can discover what you need and how to ask for it.
Once you accept your own feelings and needs, you have room to hear his needs and find a solution that works for both of you.
Always spend time cooling down after fights.
Take time to cool down but don’t run away.
If you’re in the middle of a fight, you can ask your partner for a few minutes to breathe. If the fight is over or you’re in a position where you can’t argue, taking this time is easier.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Feel the emotions running through you: the hurt, the anger, and the fear. Let yourself experience each one and identify what it is.
Tell yourself it’s OK to feel these emotions.
They are your emotions, internal reactions to what’s happening outside of you.
You have no control over their creation but complete control over how they are expressed.
Identifying your emotions allows you greater choice.
When you come across difficult emotions, be with them for a few moments longer. Seek out what vulnerable emotion is underneath and what it is protecting.
That is your core feeling and what needs addressing. Many times the underlying feeling is a fear of losing control, being deprived, or feeling abandoned or rejected.
Tell the frightened and hurt part of you that it will be OK and that you are loved and cherished by yourself, no matter what happens to others.
Ask this part of you what you need, and reassure this part of you that you will advocate for your needs with an open heart.
Once you feel more contained and feel loved and cherished from deep inside yourself, you can return to your partner with a calm head.
You can now express your feelings and needs in a softer way and provide the empathy and understanding that he needs so he can return the gift to you.
Listening and being heard.
Once you’ve cooled down and self-soothed, now it’s time to talk and listen. Whoever is calmer can be the listener first. This is where you actively listen, without trying to interject your own viewpoint.
Just as you want to be listened to, you can listen to him.
First, you can quickly disarm most frustration and anger by simply empathizing with others’ emotions. Like a child having a temper tantrum, when people (and men) are upset, reason and logic mean nothing.
Only their emotions, only their hurt matters to them. He will feel hurt until he feels heard.
Practice active listening.
Listen to what he says, reflect back on what you heard, and ask if you got it right. Most people know this as “active listening.”
Just as you validated your own feelings and needs, you can look for his core needs and validate them. This goes a long way toward having the other person feel heard and calming him down.
Once he is heard, you can ask him to do the same for you.
Share your feelings and needs.
Now, it’s time to share your feelings and needs. Tell him you want to be heard without judgment, suggestions, or for him to fix anything. Then, share your feelings and needs.
Once you both feel heard, you can brainstorm solutions that work for both of you.
This can be hard and really does take good self-discipline and understanding of your emotions.
Seek professional help for high-conflict relationships.
It can be challenging in a rocky relationship where screaming and yelling are normal.
This is where it’s best to seek out help. As a coach, I can provide a safe space for one or both of you to share and teach you various tools, like self-soothing techniques, to help you stop fighting with your husband or partner.
It does take work but feeling mutually loved, cherished, and adored is worth it!