Have you ever faced down your partner’s arguments with your own obvious logical arguments? Or lost the argument to their seemingly overwhelming logical point of view? Or tried to express your emotions only to be talked down to?
It’s frustrating being on the end of someone trying to win an argument using logic because often we don’t have a come back we just give in and end up resenting the other person… In other words, we both lose! Even if you think you’ve won, you’ve suffered a loss because the other person now resents you and you’ve missed a golden opportunity to build understanding and resilience into your relationship.
What happens when we try to win an argument with logic
Imagine that you’re an adult (no insult intended) who carries with them a significant amount of un-integrated, emotional baggage (which most of us do) which is left over from our childhood… it’s all of our unmet needs and emotional experiences we had as a child where we were left with our emotions and no logical way of understanding what happened. So for all intensive purposes, this is our hurt inner child/ego. When we meet another person and get into relationship with them (partner, child, parent, sibling, friend, colleague etc) we look at them with this hurt inner child/ego as our filter for all of our interactions. This inner child is heavy and because we want to put it down we often look to those we are in relationship with to take some of the load or all of it! We want them to make us feel acceptable, loved, validated, safe, worthy and connected instead of alone. The problem is that they too have their own hurting inner child that is almost too much to carry. So in relationship, when we get into heated discussions (meaning emotions), we are often just battling each others hurt inner child and not the adult part that can understand and accept logic. And… just like logic or power over tactics didn’t work for us as children it doesn’t work for us as an adult either. Our hurt inner child works off emotions not logic!
I’m not against logic! It’s all about the timing and the opportunity to explore other view points before the logic comes out. If you don’t want to lose an argument and suffer the resentful glares, frustrated snide and sarcastic remarks and even possible payback behaviour, then skip the logic to begin with. Especially when it comes to those that are important to you, like your children and partner!
The biggest mistake we make in an argument is to use logic and ignore the emotions
An argument is not a debate! A debate is all about swaying the majority of viewers towards your argument and points of view. An argument at home is full of emotion (especially with children) and if we ignore this, we are missing the most important opportunity to understand the other person (and their hurt inner child) and to then be able to speak to them in a way they can hear it, integrate their emotions with their logic brain and accept it or even better, find a solution that works for both of you. Because, lets face it, if we just use logic then we or they will never come to a place where we can understand why the issue is important to the other person or find a solution that the other will commit to wholeheartedly.
How to win an argument without logic
Especially important when we face our “hormonal teenagers” (which by the way is not actually what’s happening – there are no hormonal teenagers! There are emotions and lots of rebuilding of the logical brain which are not caused by hormones). Here is a new way to win an argument without logic:
- Acknowledge the person’s emotions and thoughts! Identify their emotions and feed back what you heard them saying in your own words. This shows that you are listening.
- Repeat step one again and again until their emotions have abated!
- Identify where you stand on the matter with your own emotions and thoughts about your needs. This is challenging! This is why many head for the high road of using logic because to articulate your own emotions and needs around a subject can feel vulnerable. But it’s essential… be real, be authentic, express your heart and your concerns.
- Switch back and acknowledge their response to your emotions and needs because they too will be feeling vulnerable. Repeat these steps until everyone understand how each person feels and what they need
- Ask “what will work for both of us?” – At this point you can begin to look for logical solutions, however, never ignore the emotions that the suggested solution may bring up! Talk them through until everyone is happy and satisfied. That way you will get a commitment to see the solution through.
Now that you know this, may you never try to win an argument with logic again!