When Caring is Not Enough: Resolving Conflicts Through Fair Fighting

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It took me a bit to get used to the flow of the book. Each point is broken up into a day and accompanied by snippets of dialogues and short poems. The unusual way of writing helped to bring the point home to me though. I took out a great amount of unhealthy conflict patterns that I have to deal with. Just the prologue was helpful for me to hear: Dirty fighting breaks down relationships, constructive fighting strengthens relationships. Dirty fighting emerges from the pent up frustration of habitual non-fighting.


  • What people are afraid to talk about, they act out. (Giving the silent treatment)
  • Martyrdom can be hidden self-righteousness. Move neither below or above the other. Stand equal.
  • Being always sweet and yielding is not a sign of maturity. It destroys relationships by never standing up for anything. Maturity is both knowing when and how to yield and when to stand firm. Both can occur together. (Caring and candor)
  • Resolution happens between two people, not in triangles. (Gen 2: Snake–Eve–God, “Wait until you mum hears this”, “Wait until your dad comes home”)
  • Seek for both to equally hear and be heard.
  • The beginning is half the battle. Present the issue in a neutral manner. It’s not “me versus you” but “us versus the problem”. Make it about what you two want to see in this relationship.
  • Effective Parenting seeks to work itself out of the job of controlling as rapidly as the child can assume its responsibility.
  • Invitations > Questions
    • ”Tell me what you prefer” > “Don’t you think that …?"
    • "I’d like to hear your view” > “Why did you …?”
  • Set a mutually good time. Don’t evade, delay, ambush or surprise. Resolve as immediately as possible.
  • Don’t confront with others present. You might feel more comfortable but it’s not a neutral ground for both.