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Why Can't You Shut Up?: How We Ruin Relationships--How Not To
by: Anthony E. Wolf


1. In an argument, stay to your subject then end the conversation (so they won't misinterpret the message). Say Your Point then Move On (after we grieved). Don't respond to side issues (also in giving advice).

2. Let Go, Give Up, Doesn't Keep Trying.

3. Allow Time & Distance - For Healing
- For the mature voice to surface
- For Issues to dissolve its importance
- Wait until later, At an emotional neutral time so things won't get worse - add fuel to the fire

4. Don't Defend Yourself - Best To Say Nothing - Silence - Ultimately ends the unwanted behavior

5. Types of Arguments:

Good Argument:
a. Each person say their piece.
b. Each person was heard.
c. The argument ended.
d. Doesn't necessarily have to end in a resolution.

Bad Argument:
a. Violent
b. Demeaning Words hit at your sense of self.
c. Sidetrack Issues
d. So stuck that they can't end the argument.

6. Mature way of thinking:
- it's not about right or wrong or bad people
- either we work on something or we don't
- maybe they will change, maybe not
- maybe they will take your advice, maybe not
- some arguments get resolution, some don't

7. Recognize and accept the baby self - to be seen by the mature self
- accept chores
- let the thoughts come, have their say

8. Good and bad are about words and actions, not about thoughts. Thinking about doing something and actually doing it are not the same. A universe lies in between.

9. It is not actually a matter of whether we are actually right. What's more important is your relationship with that person (The good times) than those issues.

10. There is no absolute & clearly determined right or wrong. There are just 2 people with different opinions and sense of righteousness. This is not about right or wrong. This is about us, wanting 2 different things.

11. Negotiation & resolution - when both participants recognize that they simply want different things
- Guide: What works best for the both of us

12. When right or wrong enter the argument, it becomes more personal; each participant feels under attack - what usually led to the problem.

13. Mental ledger - the other person did, didn't do, got, didn't get

14. Baby self ledger - only 1 side
- a list of specific past instances of unfairness which can be pulled any or all items that might prove useful at the moment to make your case
- The baby self does not stop there. The baby self tries to control everything. The baby self wants change, now.
- It is damaging to a relationship to bring them up constantly, we must move on.

15. In real life, our baby self is going to be constantly frustrated. For every unfairness, it wants a payoff. What you get for unfairness is nothing and when you pursue the injustice past your initial statement of unhappiness, you invariably make matters worse.

16. Under the baby self 's influence, we lose sight of the most important reality (the bigger picture): Overall, the relationship is fine. We have a good time with that person.

17. The baby self is at the center of all loving, nurturing relationships. But for a fully satisfying life, we need something more. We need meaning. A purposeful life feels deepen, more fulfilled. For that, we need our mature self.

18. The other source of meaning for the mature self comes from being a valuable part of other people's lives - not just relating to them, but feeling that your relationship with them is also important to them.

19. Always taking it personally - becomes a description of us rather than a description of them.

20. What to do with a self-centered person? Stand up for yourself. But also realize, it doesn't say anything about you. It's about that person. It has nothing to do with me.

21. Mature self - Is this piece of the world over which I actually have any control? If yes, bring about "change" makes sense. But if not, the only wise thing to do is back-off.

22. If they don't accept, they don't listen. There is nothing you can do about it. Don't invest too much in whether or not they follow it. Accept less perfection.

23. There is a fine line between giving too little instruction and giving too much. But if you're the teacher and you want learning to occur, your students have to feel that they are in charge of what they are trying to do.

24. If you keep up regular surveillance as a means of establishing trust, you will never trust. Only by yielding total control, by allowing the possibility of betrayal and seeing that it doesn't occur over time, can you ever experience trust. The mature self will tolerate uncertainty. We cannot control everything.

25. Nobody's perfect. Often, we interpret the bad behavior of others as character flaw: a disappointment.

26. People don't change. They are who they are.

27. Grieving for and accepting it a loss- can we move on to a next stage. From this, it becomes possible to accept this flawed person, less perfect or better than you.

28. Learn and do ask, or else you won't receive.

29. As inevitably happens in life, there are instances in which people will disappoint you.

30. Sometimes, learn to say no, but also help sometimes when you can.

31. Some reasons to break off a friendship:
a. They constantly put you down.
b. They intentionally told a false story about you to make them look good, and it damaged a relationship that you cared about.
c. When you are with them, you usually don't enjoy yourself.
d. They stole money from you.
e. They frequently get very mad and say hurtful things to you.

32. Forget the blame, all that does is to make the other person feel bad and defensive and leads to arguments that serve no useful purpose. Blaming forms division.

33. In life - we fail a lot. We need to be able to deal with it and move on. It's all about situations, not what you are.

34. Sometimes, challenges permit ourselves to give up, to not even try. And if you don't have to try, there is no anxiety, no worry, about what will happen. You know that nothing will happen.

35. To have a fulfilling life, you have to be willing regularly to put yourself on the line. Sometimes you succeed, but sometimes you will fail. Sometimes your worries will be justified. Life is hard, it has its ups and downs, but far better to keep trying than have a life of nothing. Try to deal with it and do all you can that the same bad thing won't happen in the future.

36. The advantage of fully owning up to mistakes without qualifications is that others respond to you better and you get to act with more integrity.

37. It's not easy but with practice, you do get better at it and the outcomes are so much better.

38. In every relationship, there will always be discord that resurface periodically. There is no such thing as perfection.

39. Do so because you choose to, not because of what you'll get in return. It's your choice but you should also get some positive results also. You shouldn't expect others to act the same. Others don't live by the standard we set for ourselves. They have their own. Demanding that others act by the same principles as you only leads to hurt & disappointments. What works better is to act well.

40. They just don't see it the same way we do, and we are left doing more and feeling taken advantage of. We lose sight of what's more important. The real problem again - we want others to be exactly like us. It does not work.

41. Being nice although they don't deserve it.

42. Justice at the expense of kindness, consideration, what works best for everybody.

43. Sometimes to us, bad is good. The greater the injury, the better chance for a bigger, better reward. As a result, the suffering becomes exaggerated, extended, self-pity. Bad things that happen are to be hold on to, cherished, for they are a way of getting good in return. As a mature self knows, bad is bad. We want bad to end. We need to get pass it, not dwell on it.

44. There is a big difference between 'I want them to understand' and 'I want to make sure that they understand'.

45. You need to recognize emotional hurt & give its due. That's enough. Stop.