The #1 Way to Stop Fighting and Get What You Want!

I made a mistake with my kids today. I was tired. I'd had a long day and everyone was talking all at once.

       I got frustrated.
                I needed a break.
                              I got angry.

Do you see the mistake yet?

          Instead of asking for what I needed, I got upset. Instead of making a request I criticized them. They were excited and they wanted to tell me about it, loudly and at the same time. They weren't doing anything wrong. It wasn't wrong for me to get overwhelmed either but I had to communicate that to them. They can't read my mind, they can't feel what I am feeling.

          I make this mistake with my husband as well.

For example, I wanted him to give me a break after dinner and take out the trash. I fell into the mistake of thinking he should know I need these things. He should see that I am tired and need a break. He should know the trash needs to go out.

How would he know? I didn't ask for what I wanted but I still felt frustrated when he didn't give me what I needed. This could go on for weeks before I blow up at him, You're not helping around the house!" "I feel like I have to do everything!". He gets defensive and starts listing all the things he does around the house. He's right. He does a lot around the house but I still feel angry. At some point we get down to brass tacks, after much angst and hurt feelings, I tell him I need a break after dinner and I would appreciate if he could take out the trash when it's full. He says, "Okay, why didn't you just say that in the first place?" Now that is a good questions?

My spouse isn't a mind reader and neither is yours!

Why didn't I just ask for what I wanted?

          There is a myth that if someone loves us they should know what we want, what we need, what we're really saying. When they don't, we get upset with them because they have disappointed our expectations. We do this with our lovers, our children, our family, and our friends. No one can read our minds, no one knows what we want or need unless we tell them. That bears repeating: No one knows what we want unless we Tell them.
However, there is a difference between asking and criticizing.

Consider these two sentences:
         Can't you see the garbage is overflowing?
         Can you please take out the garbage when it's full? It would mean a lot to me.

          Both sentences are asking for something but one is critical and one is not. One is loving and respectful. One is the beginning of a fight, and one is the beginning of a conversation. If you're not sure if something is critical try imagining someone saying it to you, would you feel defensive? If yes, then try to reword what you're saying to simply ask for what you need. You will be surprised by what a difference this makes in your relationships.

Make a loving request, not a criticism.

Wishing you the best,