Today’s guest, Jerry Manney, has dedicated 35 years of clinical experience to helping people navigate the joys and pains of life.
A therapist and counselor, Jerry wrote the book, Why We Argue and How to Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships because one of the biggest challenges he’s seen people face over and over again is communication during conflict. As Jerry explains during this show, when arguments break out, nobody wins—so he wrote this book to help people figure out why they argue (and why other people argue), and also to provide some practical steps people can take to maximize communication and connection while minimizing unproductive arguments. You’ll learn how to stop arguing, why self-care has to take center stage, the importance of calling out time-outs (and the best way to do so), and much more!
Brad’s guest is here to help us stop arguing and communicate and listen in a more civil way. [00.52]
When emotions arise, all good communication skills seem to go south quickly. [04:40]
It is not only those close relationships that need these skills. It is everywhere you talk to people. [06:00]
Why do we argue? Is it about things or is it because we take the subject personally? Sometimes we argue to prove a point. [07:32]
Community Reinforcement Approach is a system designed especially for family or friends concerned about someone with drug or alcohol use. [12:33]
Ask yourself, “Why do I need to change people’s minds?” [15:20]
Try different, not harder. Try to really listen without projecting our own thoughts and feelings. [18:42]
We come from a point of bias that we may not be aware of. [22:46]
The relations that mean the most to you are usually the most difficult to navigate and the emotions escalate. [26:06]
Self-care is important because if it’s not there, your ability to relate to others is difficult. [28:37]
Guilt comes from a lot of different things. Excessive guilt can be counterproductive. Using the term “I’m sorry” can be over-used. [31:59]
Timeouts are a good suggestion but how do we utilize them to experience success? [36:08]
It is important and valuable to be brief when it is time for this difficult conversation. [41:45]
There are some tips about using certain phrases….do’s and don’t’s. Keep it simple, be positive, be non-confrontational, and respectful. [45:05]
Label your emotions. [51:41]
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Hey listeners, how about we learn how to stop arguing and engaging in stressful destructive relationships. Enough already the world’s difficult enough to navigate every single day and all the challenges and problems that we face. At least we can be more civil kind, open listening and understanding, especially with our closest relationships. And guess what those are the ones when emotions are most likely to come into the mix and screw things up and leave your skills in the dust and have the emotions take over. So I present an interesting, informative and practically helpful conversation with a therapist by the name of Jerry Manny. And he wrote a wonderful new book called Why We Argue and How to Stop, a therapist’s guide to navigating disagreements, managing emotions, and creating healthier relationships. And you’re gonna love this guy. He’s got a real gentle approach. He talks about he is still a work in progress himself, so he is not up there on the pedestal, pointing his finger and telling you what to do.
He’s in the mix with us. He admits sometimes he doesn’t know the exact best way to parent teenagers, but when you keep these skills in mind and get a nice refresher by reading the book and becoming more aware, I think you’re really gonna love it. And same with the conversation. It was helpful just to go through these things and learn about how self care has to take the center stage before you can really, uh, contribute and, uh, interact, uh, optimally with others. He has a wonderful, uh, self questionnaire that he describes where you get to fill in the blank. So it’s sort of an interactive book and you get to learn more about your yourself by just going through the exercise of asking these questions of yourself. You’re gonna learn some good practical takeaway tips, like the importance of calling timeouts and the best way to do so, how to be brief and how important that is when you’re in a difficult discussion.
And you’re gonna some good phrases that keep people open and receptive. And then the trigger phrases that shut things down. A lot of fun,.Jerry injects a sense of humor throughout the conversation and throughout the book. So please enjoy my conversation with Jerry Manney, the author of Why We Argue and How to Stop. Jerry Manney. Thank you for joining me. We have an important topic to discuss. I can’t wait and it’s centered around your new book, Why We Argue and How to Stop, a therapistis’ guide to navigating disagreements, managing emotions, and creating healthier relationships. Great title. I love it.
Thanks for having me here, Brad.
Oh, sure, sure. Um, it’s an important topic. And, um, the thing you said right before we start recording seems to be we’re, we’re gonna cut right to the heart of it. And it’s also in the subtitle where your, your emotions are, uh, in the mix when the argument begins and that’s when your skills go out the window, huh?
Absolutely. And, um, John Gottman in his work talks a lot about that too. Although his work, which, uh, he says is heavily researched, focuses mainly on couples. I’ve also focused my work on any type of relationship. But yeah, when, when our emotions start to escalate, things can go south real quickly. And so that’s a major part of, of the book, as well as, using, um, these tools in a variety of relationships. It could be with a spouse partner, it can be with other relatives. It can be with your, with your kids, your teenagers, your parents, your coworkers, your ex, who is also the parent of your children. And what I’ve often said, it’s one thing to divorce a spouse, but when you have children, you need at some point to have some communication. So that’s also what I, I put in my book as well.
Well, it seems to me, it all goes hand in hand, like you can’t be this wonderful partner or parent, and then you’re a jerk in the workplace and you’re, uh, you know, going around you know, ignoring these supposed skills. So you either, and you apply it to everywhere, especially the most difficult relationships, I think, is the place where maybe you can have the most growth.
That’s an interesting point. Um, when things, um, well, I, I think of a couple things certainly, uh, uh, for those people closest to us, uh, but also nowadays with the stresses and strains with social media, which I talk about in my book, we can get into arguments with perfect strangers, at any given moment. Uh,
It feels like we wire these patterns and we somehow thrive on it, even though we might, you know, complain about another argument that we got into at the store today, when they, uh, asked me to wear a mask or told me to take my mask off, whatever, whatever the argument’s about. And then it starts to become, you know, habitual and routine. And I I’d love to go through some of the, the checkpoints in your book about how people can kind of wake up and have, you know, a less argumentative life.
Thank you. What I don’t talk about in my book is any secrets there, there are no secrets it’s being human it’s, it’s recognizing that. So where would we start? We start with emotions. We start with ourselves, um, and catching ourselves. It’s one of the first chapters. Well, actually, let’s start with the, the first chapter. Why do, why do we argue and why do we argue self questionnaire. And I list a number of those, um, questions. So maybe we can go over some of them here.
Because I think that’s actually one of the keys and, and this list, it, it is not a, a be all and tell all, um, and I’m sure other people can add things to it. But, um, from there, we, we build on a number of, um, uh, uh, strategies and tools. And, and I’ll come back to that in a moment, but these are some of, some of the questions that, that I put in there. So why do we, uh, why do we argue? Some people say it’s most often about money purchases, housework, dirty dishes, soiled clothes on the floor, or strong disagreements about politics, religious or personal issues. But those are what people argue about and not why we argue. So, then I made a list of what we actually argue about, and here are some possibilities that we take a disagreement personally, that is we in infer the other person thinks not only is our opinion wrong, but that you are wrong or that you think if you disagree with someone, one of, one of you must be right, and the other must be wrong. Nothing in between you believe you are right. The other person is wrong and that you can change their mind.
You want to change. They want you to change. And neither of you feel the other person is listening or taking responsibility for the conflict. So we go on to a, a number of these, and I think there’s like 15 or something. I, I, I’ve lost track to be honest with you. But what I go on to say, uh, is that what all of these things have in common is about trying to change the other person’s thinking or behavior. Hmm. And what’s the result? Push back from the other, not to mention as I start reading those things, I don’t know about you, but my chest starts getting tighter. My voice gets louder, I get more animated. So that’s what we, what I start the book with. And then from there, um, we take the reader into picking which of these is more relevant for, for them.
And that’s a lot of what, uh, what, uh, I tried to design the, the book to be about is to make this a tool for meaningful change from the very beginning. So for some examples. When I feel hurt, this is one of the questions I may feel like retaliating, then I, and a person can insert their pattern. I tend to do this with what’s the name of the person and the relationship. And so, yeah, I get a lot of smiles from people as we get into this, okay. Relating with this. And, um, and I would like to insert your goal. So we do this with each of these questions, uh, and if, if it doesn’t apply fine. My thought is, isn’t, it enough that we as human beings struggle with our emotions, which are the great blessings and the challenges of being human.
Sometimes I will argue to prove a point this usually results in insert your usually your usual outcome. I tend to do this with, uh, the name of the person and the relationship I would like to insert your goal. So with each of these questions, this is, this is the scenario there. Okay. As we get, uh, proceed with the why I argue self questionnaire, following that it states in chapter five, get your concerns really heard. You’ll be able to use these responses and other examples as a starting point for using positive communication.
I’ve adapted Dr. Robert, Meyers, a behavioral psychologist, his seven guidelines for positive communication. He developed this a number of years ago, um, and it’s heavily researched not, not only by Bob Meyers, but by other researchers as well. , um, in developing the craft model, C R A F T craft. Stands for community reinforcement approach, family training.
And it’s been developed very effectively to help family and friends who are concerned about someone else, uh, alcohol or drug use. This approach has been helpful. And in the I’m trying to think of the statistics. I have it in the very beginning of the book, 60, 70% of time and influencing, not forcing, influencing effective change in a loved one, as well as reducing stress, anxiety, depression in the person using this improving communication. But I, I received, Bob Meyers, uh, permission to adapt this to more everyday relationships. I was trained by Bob Meyers, um, back in 2009 as part of a federal grant in the supervisory position in the child and family agency. I was working in, in Massachusetts. Only in the nine of us, uh, um, in four agencies, uh, spread out throughout the country, spent three days with him in Bloomington., Illinois.
It was a, a great opportunity to be trained in this approach. And during one of the follow up, uh, conference calls, every other Friday, we met, um, not through zoom back then, which we’re all very familiar with now. Uh, but we did this through audio conference calls. Um, I mentioned to, to Bob that I was also using these approaches with other clients where there were no substances involved. And I asked if, if there was another book that I could be using and he wasn’t aware of any, so that planted the seed.
There you go.
Apart from my book,
Right? So these, these crisis situations that the professionals have created a protocol for now, you’re taking these to every day, uh, arguing and, and all parameters you mentioned. And, um, when you were talking about that self questionnaire, it also occurred to me, you know, as you’re asking that, that, that, that breakout question, why, why do I argue, um, you might also ask why do I need to change people’s minds? Why do I need them to come to my side? And so it seemed like a, a double whammy right out the gate to go, wow, you know, what am I doing? Why does everyone have to think in the same manner or have the same opinion as I, and then when, when they don’t, then your emotions get, get wranckled. And, it, it seems like that’s putting us at the center of the universe in a, in a pretty a weak position that it’s never gonna really, it’s, it’s a, you know, it’s a, it’s a losing battle to go around and try to change everyone’s mind to align with your thinking on everything.
That’s a great point. My first reaction was I resemble that remark.
Well, I like that. I mean, and that’s funny, and it’s also it stings because we know if we all look at ourselves deep down, this is this, this kind of strong human inclination to, uh, to convince people to, um, you know, to, to, to line up with you. And I’m especially calling myself out here because I’m a thought influencer. And I promote health and fitness. And so I’m really enthusiastic about engaging with people and saying, Hey, um, you know, those sodas that you’re, you’re cranking all day, um, you might wanna think about a change in habit and, and not drink those. And here’s why, and let me go off onto my rift now, so I can convince you to your life. And it’s like, I’ve learned over time that I have to pick my battles. In other words, I have to wait patiently until people are open and receptive to my message rather than knocking on doors.
Um, and saying, Hey, uh, I just have this great book. It’s gonna change your life here. Let me stick it in your face. And, beg you to read it and hound you and cajole you. And that’s a, a huge waste of energy. And so there, it becomes kind of delicate when, especially when you have, um, those close relationships, like you say, in the workplace, family, friends, loved ones, kids, you really, really are invested in having things line up nicely and having people come along with your point of view. Um, and that’s when we get into, into, into trouble.
Yeah. Well said, um, it, it’s also why I, I, uh, intentionally add some humor in the book. Uh, part of that is to break some of the tension for a serious discussion, but it’s also as, as a teaching tool, um, as well. I, I, uh, I looked at your website and, and, um, about you, you having, um, been a, um, outstanding triathlete. Um, my, uh, my oldest daughter’s boyfriend will be running in the Boston marathon for the 16th time a week from today.
Um, uh, but, um, I’m a master’s level therapist, but my undergraduate degree is in health and education, health, and physical education. Mm-hmm . So I also have an interest in people, um, not just emotionally and behaviorally, but also in their physical health. I’ve worked in hospital settings for over 20 years. Um, and, um, my oldest daughter and my wife are essential workers. They work in the healthcare field. So I, I hear you loud and clear. Chapter three is called try different, not harder.
Okay. Um, many of us, when we’re kids, we’re brought up with a lot of sayings and many of them have, uh, served this well over the years. Try to put yourself in someone else’s place, or if a first succeed, try, try again. Um, and, But many times I’m trying different. Um, and, and that’s a lot of, of what I, I try to look at in my book. Um, but yeah, If everyone just got their, I’m trying to choose my words carefully here, but there they’re darn act together, then I’d be fine. And I think that’s part of being human. I think that’s just part of being human. OK. And that each of us have our own story, which we don’t know, we don’t know. Um, uh, even when we’re trying to truly listen to someone else and we project our own thoughts and feelings, I use this example in the book about another thing that of us were brought up as children, which in many ways is very helpful.
Try to put yourself in someone else’s place. It’s one of the most important ways that we become social beings, but there’s limitations to that. Okay. And I, I think the example I use, um, it is, um, that, um, I can say to people that I was one of the earlier stay at home parents when my first daughter was born. And so I have some of that experience for, for her first two years of being home.My wife went back to work and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Except for the first time I had to give her a bath by myself. And I used, um, ivory soap instead of ivory, ivory, I up. And she wound up getting a significant rash, but I learned from that. OK. However, um, that was a long time ago. And so, um, some of my memory may not be accurate and some things aren’t the same anymore. Um, but also, um, if I was talking to a mother, I would be putting my own male experiences and perceptions into that conversation. Mm-hmm, , that doesn’t mean that they’re not valid providing that I am aware that I have some male biases, but even if I was talking to another father, I don’t know how someone else thinks and thinks and feels. So if I really wanna know that I need to ask,
So we have a starting point of bias. And I think a lot of times we aren’t aware of it. We just have our, you know, our, um, our position. And we, we don’t have that perspective that maybe someone is looking at things completely differently, whatever the issue is, politics, the quarantine, the way that, um, household chores are, uh, separated or in the case of a parent and a child, of course the perspective is gonna be dramatically different. And the parent of course knows more than the kid and their way is the right way. And, they’re gonna have to explain that. Uh, and that usually is, um, a recipe for conflict.
Yeah. Except with teenagers. Teenager is know more than we do.
Right. I mean, there there’s the inherent disagreement there that, um, and I, I’m kind of being funny when I say, of course the parent knows more than the kid, but I think parents really believe that, and they know what’s good for our kids more than they do, but I’m, you know, now my kids are 24 and 22, and we relate some funny stories from the past where, you know, I I’d, um, bring out all my, my parenting skills and, you know, step up to my son, uh, because he, you know, broke the rules and I said, why did you lie to me? And he said, oh, because you weren’t gonna let me, if I didn’t. And I’m like, wow, good point. You know? And it’s like, okay, from now on, if you’re gonna stay out late, just tell me the truth and we’ll work it out.
But I’m, it was a, you know, it was a turning point moment because, um, I was dealing with a kid who was a good kid. He wasn’t any trouble and, uh, one night sure, he stayed out late and him and his friend, uh, made up a story and bounced it off each, you know, oh my I’m over at this kid’s house. And that kid told his mom he’s over at our house. And then I talked to the mom and, of course, everything blew up. But, um, you know, you can’t, you, you can’t, um, you know, control everything in life. And I think this is getting back to the, um, the origination of the arguments is, is that desire to have everything bend to your, you know, your will and your, your way of, uh, your beliefs,
Another excellent point. Um, it’s one thing to talk about a spouse, a partner, a coworker, someone else who might have different beliefs, but when we’re talking about our own kids. Now we, we ramp up the emotions. Hmm. Um, and when they say, well, you don’t remember what it’s like. Things are different. Part of that is true, but part of it is we do remember, and it can scare the hell at us. Um, um, but I, I think you, you bring up a really, uh, a good point about communication back and forth communication and thanking someone for being honest. Um,
So these emotions come into the mix and, and screw things up. Like you, you have your skills, you’ve read. So, so many books you’re ready for your next argument. You listen to the podcast and, uh, all this thing is you you’re all set to, to face the, uh, the, the battles of the world. And then when the emotions come into the mix, um, you kind of your, your skills kind of, uh, vanish, uh, temporarily. And I guess that’s, uh, coming out, uh, out of the, um, the stress hormones. You’re not thinking rationally. Um, let’s talk about how, and, and why this happens. I’m gonna guess at the, how is that the relationships that mean the most to you are also the most difficult to navigate, uh, emotionally, because you have so much writing on it. Like, I don’t care if the person at the, at the supermarket wants to argue about, um, sports or quarantine or politics, and they can be complete wacko and I’ll smile and carry on with my day. But if I’m getting into it with a family member, loved one, boy, those things are gonna really, they’re really gonna, um, get you, get you riled up.
Yeah. I agree. In fact, what I, what I put in the book is is if someone, if a complete stranger had said, said to me, um, the earth is flat. I, I probably would just slough that off.
Where’s the edge. How interesting.
Yeah. And not getting to, uh
. Is there a waterfall we could see at the edge? Yeah.
But watch your step . Yeah. Um, not into a discussion on that. Um, but if someone, uh, made, made a comment about me, uh, putting on weight in my gut or something else like that, that might trigger, uh, an emotional reaction. If it’s, if it’s someone close to me, mm-hmm, because of the emotions involved or it hits an nerve. And part of that is, is recognizing that we’re human, that the, these reactions also happen to Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi, and to be able to forgive ourselves, to learn from it, to acknowledge it. And that’s part of communication, um, and, uh, and not be, uh, uh, perfect about that.
Um, And, uh, this opens up a whole nother area there, but I, I guess I would, this would be one things that I would emphasize. Um, and, and this would be the part of the book that deals with self care. OK. Um, taking care of ourselves is, is so important and it’s not being selfish. I, I differentiate between that, uh, selfish care is the first instinct of all living or organisms. Um, it’s, I come first because if I don’t take care of myself, I’m not gonna be helpful to anyone else, especially those closer to me and selfishness is I first, second, and always, there’s a difference. There’s a big difference. And that’s, that’s more of a challenge, I think, especially for those of who are parents, because the is, um, we’d lay ourselves down for our kids. We take a bullet for them.
But, but the importance here of also self care is setting an example for our children as well. It’s not just, uh, talking about it, but it, that example, and it’s not easy. I don’t know how to do that. And I don’t put in that, in the book, here are five easy steps for anything, cuz I don’t know how to do that. And I don’t pretend to. Um, so what happens when we make mistakes? I talk about that. OK. Um, and, and recognizing that, um, to be able to, um, um, forgive ourselves, to be able to make apologies. I talk about letting go of guilt, letting go of anger. I got a lot of experience with that
Hmm. Yeah. I suppose if you’re kind of, uh, incapable of doing that, you’re going to repeat these patterns. And so, even the guilt and, and feeling bad because you lost your temper in the most recent argument and you’re terribly sorry. And you say, sorry, 20 times, and you feel so guilty and you feel bad about yourself. Uh, it occurs to me that it’s sort of a, um, a setup to, to do it again and then be really super sorry again, and then feel guilty again. And this also plays out in all kinds of different behavior goals, like, uh, trying to achieve dietary transformation and you only made it on your diet for four days, and then you binged on Ben and Jerry’s and, uh, you feel terrible and guilty. You’re, you’re a worthless person. And so, um, you don’t even you don’t even deserve to get the success you dreamed about. So let’s forget the whole thing and just go get some more, um, you, you know, self destructive behaviors. Um, I don’t know that, does that apply to kind of carrying around guilt from being emotional and unreasonable in arguments?
Um, well, guilt can come from a lot of different things. Um, part of that, um, um, can be learned. Um, and, um, but it also could be unlearned. I quote Dr. Howard Kushner who wrote the book when bad things happen to good people. He talks about, um, part of when I hesitate is, um, that I don’t have the type of memory that I can quote people word for word. Okay. And I do that, whether it’s about the book or when I’m, uh, as a therapist, when I’m reflecting back with one of my clients, I will say that to them. Um, I’m hesitating here because I know that I can’t repeat exactly what you said now or a couple weeks ago, so I want them to know. Okay. Um, I, I also sometimes break that with a little humor by saying I’m not deep in thought right now.
OK. And that, um, although I might look like a stereotypical therapist, I often say that I, um, I look, uh, I look smarter than I break some more of, um, but, uh, Harold Kushner, uh, uh, talks about that, um, excessive guilt can be, uh, uh, counterproductive. And so I talk about that in the book about letting go of, uh, of excessive guilt and that at times that, that someone, uh, might use the term, I’m sorry. Um, uh, when it, when it might be that, um, oh, I didn’t realize that seat was taken. That it’s not necessarily, uh, that, that, that, um, apologizing isn’t necessarily appropriate. So, part of learning, um, more effective communication skills is, is use of appropriate words. Um, but also overusing the term “I’m sorry,” when, when an apology is not appropriate. Hmm. Weakens the phrase. Hmm. Okay. Um, what I also talk about in the next to the last chapter, is that that no self book can cover every, every topic and every, every problem.
And there are a lot of, uh, um, a lot of things that can impact relationships. And so one of the things that also makes my book different, um, is the next to the last chapter, what to do when you need more help. So I talk about, some of the most common issues that may need more help, uh, specific, uh, types of anxiety disorders, depression, substance use disorders, and some others. So, uh, guilt can be tied in with certain anxiety disorders or depression, and this doesn’t get commonly dealt with other self-help books. And yet it can be something that is either contributing to directly or indirectly to relationship struggles. These are just some different examples. I mean, any one of these things can be topic in it in of, of itself, um, and guilt use topic.
Sure. Um, I, I like those other, um, skill suggestions that are peppered throughout the books. Maybe we can give the, uh, listeners some additional practical tips or things to think about. One of ’em is the timeouts, which you spend some good time on. And, um, boy, uh, it’s a great suggestion, but I sometimes find, uh, especially when the emotions are involved, um, it’s difficult to take a time out. So how can we get better at that? And how do we utilize time outs to their best, uh, success?
Well, we we’ve been talking about communication and how important that is, but there are times when it’s best not to talk and that’s when one or more people, um, when emotions are escalating. And so, um, um, very early in the book, I talk about some guidelines for calling a timeout,
I guess, noticing either noticing either in yourself or the other person. And I would, I would say, um, if you notice that the other person’s getting too heated, you choose your words very carefully, and you talked about that in another chapter about the proper choice of words, but, um, I know that’s, um, uh, can be, um, can escalate things if you make these sort of condescending statements like, well, you seem too worked up right now in emotional, so let’s talk later. What the hell are you talking about? You’re the one that’s, you know, you gotta be careful calling it out, even if you seem like you’re in your wise mind, and you’ve decided you wanna talk later, uh, it sometimes can, you know, just fuel, uh, more flame for that fire. Even if there is a break you’re gonna come back and it’s still gonna get heated because of all the nonsense that you, uh, you know, you, you, you did to, um, to, to initiate the time out.
If, if anybody heard me laughing reaction to your comment is I’m identifying with it. Okay. I’m identifying with it.
Oh, here goes therapist telling us to calm down. Yeah, yeah,
Absolutely. absolutely. So some seven guidelines for a, and, and it’s important to, uh, have a discussion about these guidelines before you call a timeout for exactly the same reason. OK. And it could be, um, to, uh, even hand someone, uh, hand someone that, and, and I put, uh, these guidelines in, in my, uh, website, Jerry manney.com where people can download that. They can print that out. They can print out the, um, why I argue self questionnaire. These are some things that could actually print out, download from my website
So they can make that more user friendly. But, uh, very briefly the seven points of, uh, um, about a timeout is that anyone, a spouse, partner, teenagers, kids, adults, coworkers, can call a timeout. If they feel that they are about to lose their temper or objectivity, and perhaps things that they may regret later. Been there, done that myself a number of times. OK. Also someone may call a time out if they think the other person is losing or about to lose their temper. Okay. And then the second point is clarify that calling a timeout is not being disrespectful, providing you don’t overuse this and, you know, call a timeout too often. And that you’ll attempt to discuss the issue constructively within a reasonable time period. A timeout is actually about respecting your self and each other. And recognizing that when emotions begin to flare, taking time to regain your composure can help strengthen and nurture the relationship. Whether it’s a family member, friend, coworker, or anyone else. A brief statement such as let’s talk about this later or after lunch or tomorrow can help reassure the other person that you’re serious about resuming the discussion. However, and this touches on what you brought up, Brad, when your emotions are escalating, any attempts to blame, why you don’t want to continue talking will likely further the argument because you never listened to me anyway. okay. And mom always liked you best I ad lib that that’s not in the book,
Right? You could, you could just, uh, perhaps every time take ownership of it yourself and say, you know, I’m getting emotional, I’m really tired, whatever it is, but never, uh, projecting to the other, like you’re, you’re going off the rails again. And I, I refuse to speak to people who raise their voice, all that stuff’s gonna get the voice raised even further. It seems like
Absolutely. And these are just guidelines. People can adapt this and use what works best for them. Just like you mentioned,
Uh, why is it so important and valuable to be brief when it’s, uh, time to you to argue or, or to get into, um, a difficult communication
Because we’re human. Because we’re human and sometimes less is better. So a couple more of the guidelines when someone calls the time out, the other person does not have to agree with the timing of the now. Once a time out is called, this is another important point. The other parties need to separate themselves physically in a manner that is as respectful as possible. This may seem awkward at first, but if you stay in the same room, you’re looking at me that way. I know, I know what your’e thinking, and here we go again.
Yep. There might be some,
That’s not you that’s, there
Might be some under the breath comments who knows what’s gonna happen in that room.
You’re breathing the wrong way. Mm-hmm okay. So, okay. Um, any brief respectful phrase can be used in the in place of the term time out. It doesn’t matter. Okay. And a reasonable period of time can be flexible, could be a few minutes. It could be hours, um, or perhaps a few days. Um, and, um, so those are just some things there. And then from there, and, and there’s not time I think to get into the, this now, but I go into, um, uh, in the book, um, some other frequently asked questions about, uh, about a timeout that, um, uh, as I’ve used this with clients and in trainings that I’ve done over the years, what to do, if it has no effect, um, do we both to agree, not just at the moment, but we have this discussion ahead of time and someone says, nah, I don’t wanna do that. We go into this about some of these common questions and things like that. Um, but this, uh, uh, has been one of the, um, effective ways of preventing emotions from escalating is calling a timeout. Mm-hmm, even it’s for a few minutes. And sometimes people can do this without even using the phrase. Then the other thing that can happen is that that someone else can call a timeout. And then you think the yourself, it they’re using my idea. I don’t wanna call a time out,
And that’s okay. That’s okay. um, someone needs to be the first one to get off what I call the, not so married round of arguing and arguing and preventing things from getting worse and hurt feelings and hurt people hurting each other. And then from there, we can build more progress, little by little, it takes time. This ain’t easy. Mm-hmm , I don’t know how to make this easy, but we can, we can do these things,
Right. So give ourselves a break if we’ve had some conflict to this point in our life and, uh, increase our awareness. That’s what I enjoy about reading the book. I mean, it can’t hurt you, people, right? It, it just reminders. And even if the things, uh, you’re nodding your head, you already know it, you’re such an expert. It just, the exercise of bringing more awareness into it is so valuable and just keeping these reminders going. Uh, I, and then learning some new skills of course is great. And I also like how you suggest well, I guess dos and don’ts with certain phrases, there’s trigger phrases, and then there’s phrases that are welcoming and opening and getting people more likely to listen to you. Can you, can you, um, give a couple suggestions in that area?
Well, this is where chapter five comes in, um, with, uh, uh, adapting Bob Meyers’ evidence based practices of, of using the guidelines for positive communication. Um, there’s a lot of research behind this and I’ve adapted his approach so that we can get our concerns really heard and considered. Um, it also helps to create, um, um, a foundation for respectful communication, um, and the, uh, the seven guidelines, first of all, being brief.
So think, uh, would I say kiss KSS, keep it simple, sweetheart. More is not always better, especially when emotions may be running high or have the potential to escalate once you into a long explanation, we often, uh, end up repeating our point or introducing additional concerns and example, and then it gets examples and it gets hard to, to follow all these things. The second, uh, guide of positive, uh, um, is being positive. And Dr. Meyers would, would say that instead of saying, uh, bring up what you don’t wanna, uh, ha have happen, say what you do to, um, and the way I, I frame this in the book to make this a, um, interactive way is to give a, a prior confrontational appro, uh, attempt. I can’t stand it when you show up 45 minutes late and make me worried sick. These are just some examples. So, the progress example would be, um, progress being positive non-confrontational and respectful. I get worried when you’re, when you are very late and I don’t know where you are. I would appreciate it if you would call or text and let me know when you’re going to be very late. Thank you. So instead of what I don’t like, this is what I would like you to do.
I feel so relaxed and at peace when you’re on time. It’s so awesome. Yeah. Yeah.
Well, different ways that you, you might communicate depending on who the person is and your relationship with them. Another example would be prior confrontational attempt. Don’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. Um, and progress in being positive nonconfrontational and respectful. I appreciate your feedback. And, and as I value your opinions, I find I’m more open to comments when they’re present the form ideas or suggestions.
Oh my gosh. That’s great. I love it.
OK. So now person then can then plug in their own examples of what they’ve tried before that were unsatisfactory in their own opinion. and then they could practice each of these, another one of the guide, seven guidelines of positive communication is being specific, referring to a specific concern, rather than making a broad statement. Like, uh, you don’t appreciate me. Where you never mm-hmm or you always, okay.
That’ll shut you down right away as soon as the sentence starts. Yeah, honestly. Yeah. And then, then the person will be formulating a rebuttal justifiably. So if you tell me I never blank, um, mm-hmm, that it’s, it’s almost impossible for, for the person to sit back and say, oh, thanks for the, thanks for the helpful feedback. They’re gonna find out the times that they, they countered that. And then you’re going into argument, uh, argument, alley.
Exactly. So positive communication is, is not only getting our concerns heard, but saying it in a way that people are gonna be less likely to be defensive and be more openminded. So be specific refer to a specific concern rather than a broad is, is likely to result in more effective discussions and responses. Um,
Yeah, I guess even if it’s the, uh, even if it’s the 10th time that you’re, you’re calling me out on this, I probably already know it anyway. I don’t really need to hear that it’s the 10th time, but I, if you say, Hey, you left your wet towel on the floor. Can you pick it up that person? If it, if the, if the feedback is delivered in a, you know a kind and loving and strategic manner, um, that person might even be the one to volunteer. Oh, gosh, I seem to do this all the time. Uh, sorry, let me, you pick it up. But if you start out with, you know, the scoreboard, that’s the 12th time in the last 33 days, I just wanna know. Cause I have a little chart here. I can prove it to you, boy. Oh boy. That doesn’t, that doesn’t come across too well.
So here’s, here’s an example. Prior broad statement attempt, things have got to change around here and change fast progress in referring to a specific concern. This is someone saying this to themselves. I need to call a timeout and simmer down before I lose it big time
So they go for a walk or do some other types of self care and some other things like that. And so then they ask the person to pick a time. Another specific, uh, uh, example, um, guidelines is label your emotions.
Other people are more likely to acknowledge your emotions more open-mindedly and empathize with you when you present your concerns calmly and without blame. Okay. So I’m skipping through some of this cuz I know we’re running out of time. Brad.
Great tips. Really good. We’re um, we’re we’re on a big finish here. People, if you could just remember some of these things and put ’em into practice, I think it could be transformative. I really do.
Okay. And, so let me just finish that, this this point. Um, and, uh, and then I list, this is probably more for us guys than for women who are more in touch with their feelings, but then I list this is a partial list of feeling words. Mm. So I have uncomfortable emotions, like being afraid, aggravated, angry pleasant words, like I’m amazed, at ease, calm and things like that. Just, just to, to help us guys here who, who are more likely say, well, I feel bad or I feel good. Mm-hmm well, that’s a, that’s a, that’s a start, but as we’re more specific in labeling our emotions, it could be more helpful for someone else to understand. And some examples in labeling emotions, the prior attempt without labeling, I feel that this is unfair. That’s a statement. That’s not a feeling, that’s an opinion.
OK. Progress in labeling your emotions calmly without judgment or blame. I feel angry and frustrated because this seems unfair to me.
Ah, there you go.
So I feel like you’re an idiot is not really an accurate emotion. We have to go and be more clear. People might, might misinterpret that.
Yeah. And I do have an example here, but we’re running out of time about dirty dishes and laundry on the floor and how to reword that. But you know, I, I try to, to use a lot of common examples, but again, people then which each, what each of these, the readers plug in their own examples, they also encourage to go back to their, why argue yourself questionnaire to go back to what they put in the air and, and pull out some of them as well. Mm. So the book is designed to be very reader friendly and, and interactive.
Yeah. I love that. Anytime that’s in a book and just again, merely going through the exercise and noticing how you fill in those blanks, can, can be illuminating, uh, if, if you do it in a honest manner, especi and, and realize that, um, you know, you might be stuck in your own point of view so strongly, and as soon as you put the pen to paper, it looks kind of silly when you put those answers in. But, um, it’s, it’s a great process for growth.
I see it as being human
That’s why I add some humor in there. You’re
Not a mean guy, Jerry. You keep giving us a break cuz we’re human. I love it.
I’m just human people.
Because, um, uh, if you had talked to family members, um, I’m a, I’m a work in progress. That’s why I share earlier in the book that I’ve been a long time member of a 12 step program for families of alcoholics mm-hmm . And there you’ll see, you know, here on the zoom here, it says JerryM, because when I’m at my virtual meeting right now, I don’t have my last name. Mm-hmm um, because we’re all there equally. Mm-hmm mm-hmm, when I’m seeing my clients virtually now, uh, through doxy.me, which is HIPAA compliant, uh, virtual. Um, then I, then I have my full name. Um, but love it. I’m just there as Jerry M because I’m, I’m still a work in progress myself. I have to apply these same things that we’re talking about, because it’s easier being on your podcast, talking with you that I have to catch myself. seo I don’t react, but I’m much better at it, but I have
I have to be vigilant,
Jerry Manny people. What a great show. I appreciate this, this ending too, given us all some perspective, we’re just a work in progress, even, even the author of the book. So go pick up the book. it’s all it’s called Why We Argue and How to Stop and tell us your website again, where we can get those free questionnaires to download and things.
Uh, I try to keep it simple, uh, Jerry manney.com and thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. And I enjoyed, uh, talking with you, Brad.
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