“Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.” – Bernard Shaw
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an argument. Before I realized that I accepted the invitation, I had fallen into the argument trap! Although the other individual’s point was a valid one their inability to diplomatically express this point caused the entire conversation to take a downward spiral. My initial response was not well received and this person proceeded to take this exchange between us to another level of ridiculousness.
Once I realized this, I stopped responding. I decided that the best t hing to do for both of our sakes, but especially mine was to disengage. Disengagement allows both parties to take a break from the argument and return, if necessary, with cooler heads and hopefully a better approach. The instinct that most of us have to defend ourselves when we are presented with a disagreement usually leads to chaos. Both parties lose all objectivity and instead try to drive their point home often through insulting means.
I have always been a fan of this skill, not because I want to avoid all confrontation but because I can go to a REALLY bad place when I argue and I am mature enough to know that serves no purpose. Personally, disengaging allows me to think about what point the other person was trying to convey. After I have calmed down I am able to come from a more rational place. If you value your relationship with the other person then walking away until cooler heads prevail could save your relationship.
If this is a toxic relationship/person then it may be best to keep it moving after you disengage and you are within your right to make that decision. Even if they attempt to re -engage with you afterwards. Unfortunately, some people aim to bring out the worst in you because they are not happy in general. If this is the case, distancing yourself from them is the best course of action. These people are not healthy to interact with, especially if you are striving for a peaceful existence.
Additionally, disengaging from an argument may just help your health. Anger may affect us in various ways, possibly leading to high anxiety. Anxiety may lead to other issues that negatively impact us physically, behaviorally, cognitively and emotionally (Healthline). This is why it is so important to remove yourself, if you can, from any situation that you know is toxic. Removing yourself from a harmful disagreement will allow you to more easily process the resulting emotions in a healthful way.
How To Disengage
- Think ahead – plan to disengage from any argument if you feel that it is necessary. If you make the decision to disengage beforehand, you will not think twice about doing so when the time comes.
- When you do find yourself in the beginning stages of an argument, immediately stop talking. If you feel so inclined, let the other person know that you need a break and then walk away, hang up or do whatever you need to do to get AWAY from that person.
- When you are finally alone, decide whether the argument is worth resolving. If so, think about how you can contribute to a resolution. If not, keep it moving and don’t look back.
Remember, whatever the outcome of an argument if you still have your peace of mind….you won.