Anger Management: Fair Fighting Principles

  • It takes two people to resolve a conflict, and two to escalate.
  • It takes only one person to stop a conflict. If one person refuses to argue, and the other continues, there is no longer a conflict but rather a tantrum.
  • Stop trying to “win.” No one but you cares if you are right, or have “won” a debating point.  There is no hidden jury, no judge, and no verdict.
  • Forget about “who started it.” You both “started it” when you became a couple.  The chain of causality ultimately goes back to your upbringing and your gene pool.  Focus instead on what is in front of you, and go from there.
  • Everything is negotiable. You have a right to ask for whatever you want, but don’t expect to get it.  Your partner can ask for whatever they want, and you don’t have to give it to them.
  • Your partner has a right to be wrong – and ignorant, irrational, etc.
  • If it doesn’t work, stop doing it.
  • If you are in an abusive relationship and won’t leave when you are able to, the more you try to convince others how dysfunctional your partner is, the more dysfunctional you
  • When you blame others for your actions, you are giving them power over you (if they are the “cause” of your behavior, then they are the solution)
  • You, and only you, are responsible for getting your needs met.


John Hamel, LCSW