A strange question, perhaps, and yet one that deserves examination. Where did you learn to fight? From whom did you learn? Do you have a particular style of fighting? What is it?
Fighting is one of those things that just happens – sometimes so quickly it seems a freight train has run right through. And often the best efforts to stop the fight and the pain seems futile – or temporary. It is almost as if we are at the whim of the fight.
It is time to step up and be at the helm.
There is a golden moment within the context of conflict which, if caught, opens up a whole new experience. Argument and fight no longer hold the heat and caustic energy. Rather, when this moment between what happens to trigger us and our response to it is expanded there is an opportunity to actually respond with awareness and choice.
It is not that the hurt disappears. It is there. The difference is that we first turn inward to gain understanding, to get through the immediacy of the hurt, and then we decide what to do about it.
The pure physical nature of being a human with a brain is that when something triggers us, there is a chemical release and the “critter brain” (reptilian brain) screams its warning. There is tremendous urge to fight, flight, or freeze. It takes 20 to 30 minutes of time before this surge of chemical into the system subsides. During this time the “thinking” brain is out of commission. The critter brain is boss and safety is of utmost importance (even if the trigger has not actually held a physical threat).
Even learning this one element of fighting (the critter brain taking charge) can impact the way we handle conflict. Somehow we become more patient even with in the context of conflict.
In the model of communication I teach there are skills to help make conflict an opportunity to gain depth of connection. The pain of conflict takes on a different flavor. It is actually becomes a sign post for what must change if we want closer relationships and more peace in our lives.
And so, the answer to “Who taught you to fight?” may help us to understand the way we fight. The challenge lies in taking responsibility for the way we fight and have the courage and willingness to learn a better way. We do not have to stay stuck in a model that leaves us or those we fight with victim in the wake of it.