Fight Smart

If you go looking for a fight, you will find one. A good fight can feel fantastic! It gets the adrenaline pumping and gives us a sense of purpose.

The problem is, a fight doesn’t win us anything but more fights, high blood pressure, and if it goes long enough, heart issues. You are better off joining a gym or competitive sport to get that rush, and defining some life goals to fill your purpose.

Fights breed anger. Think of a time you were around someone who was angry, it makes you tense and angry, and you’re more apt to be tense and angry with someone else. If you are around someone confident and peaceful, it makes you feel and be confident and peaceful.

As we live our lives, we are going to run into people who do not share our way of thinking. But yelling and screaming at them is only going to want to make them yell and scream right back at us. All that results in is a lot of frustration for all parties, and no one really ends up getting what they were looking for.

It takes some time, but I can not emphasize enough how much more successful you will be if you first write down your desired outcome before you engage in a discussion with someone you disagree with. The purpose is two-fold, it calms the nerves getting it all out on paper. It also helps you to focus on what exactly it is you want without all the crazy emotions that come out during an argument.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m in an argument, my emotions may get the better of me. Add in being the mother of a child with special needs…talk about some complicated emotions that we ourselves have a hard time understanding, let alone expecting someone else to understand.

Whenever I have an issue surrounding my son, Wil, I have a list of choices to address the situation:

A. Yell and scream my frustrations
B. Jot down expectations on a sheet of paper, then have a firm, direct discussion (I’m not too proud to have the paper with me)
C. Procrastinate

Option C is the absolute worst choice. Procrastinating is an enemy to yourself as much as it is to your child. Nothing is accomplished and the frustrated feelings don’t go away. Instead they hang over your head like a heavy, dark cloud. I understand how Option C can be chosen, as sometimes things get so overwhelming, we don’t know where to begin. But, do everyone a favor, and begin somewhere. It doesn’t have to be perfect and have the exact results you were looking for, but some progress is miles ahead of none.

Option A is better than C any day, but not one I recommend. I’ve been there, done that, and all it does is get everyone mad at each other, and some things might get accomplished, but usually the result is a stalemate with everyone pissed off at each other.

Option B is the clear winner. The only reason I think its not used all the time is its the most difficult. When we are frustrated and upset, Option A and C are so much more appealing. Some people are really, really good at Option A and are able to force their way on people. But, from what I’ve observed, they’ve created a precedent, and they have to fight for every single thing after that. If Option C is used a lot, that creates a precedent, as well. May as well call Option C the doormat option, because if you don’t do anything in the face of conflict, your expectations will get trampled over because you haven’t put a voice to them.

The beauty of Option B is, you are giving both yourself, and the person you are delivering your expectations to respect. You may be very upset at the person you are addressing, but if you give them clear guidelines in a calm, confident manner, they will at the very least listen to what you have to say. You may not get everything you asked for, but a listening ear is a huge step in the right direction.

Parents of children with special needs are faced with these options on a very frequent basis. Our children require additional assistance, and its not unusual for there to be differences of opinion on what this assistance should look like and how it should be implemented. These differences of opinion can be with the school, among friends and within the family. Then, throw on top of that the added challenges a child with special needs adds to the family’s daily life, and you have a perfect breeding ground for anger to develop and grow. Communication is absolutely essential to diffusing this anger and getting the support needed from the school, family and friends. If people don’t know your expectations, how can they meet them, or communicate to you their ability to meet them? If you yell and scream your expectations, how do you think your family, friends and school are going to truly understand your expectations?

I personally know how very hard it is to calm down and put everything in writing when I am upset about an issue surrounding Wil. He’s my child, I love him and want the best for him. How the heck am I supposed to remain calm?? I want to kick and scream and punch and stomp my feet at the injustice of it all. But, once I take a step back(and let out a good, long scream behind the locked bathroom door), I realize the best I can do for him is to communicate what he needs to everyone involved, and I can only do that well if its written down. It keeps me from breaking down into tears and keeps me on task. Not everyone is going to agree with me, and do everything I want (dammit! Time for another quick bathroom break for a good, loud therapeutic scream), but I if I deliver my expectations in a calm, firm manner, I will get listening ears and responses, so I’ll have a much better idea of where everything stands and what the next steps need to be.

Over and again, I’m reminded the easy way is very rarely the best way. Option B can be extremely difficult in a tense, emotional situation, but next time you are in the middle of delivering your expectations in a firm, cool and confident manner, no one needs to know you just screamed like a crazy person in the bathroom a mere 10 minutes ago! 😉


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maria
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 18:24:35

    Wow. I really needed this in writing…someone else telling me exactly what I was thinking, and (sometimes) afraid to address


    • Christie
      Feb 13, 2013 @ 21:57:58

      Hi Maria!! Thanks for sharing that! One of my greatest comforts is the perfect timing of reading or being told something at the exact time I needed it. Best of luck to you!


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