Dr. Phil McGraw's All-Star Advice
We have big arguments over little things all the time and they don't seem to stop. How do we stop "paper cutting" each other? -Tim and Kathryn from Chicago, Illinois
DR. PHIL: here's the thing. You guys have to know that you're getting a huge payoff for this, or you wouldn't do it. People don't do things that they don't get a payoff. You're getting something out of this "paper cut" war, or you wouldn't be doing it. And you've gotta ask yourself: What kinda sick payoff are you getting from this?
You guys have to understand here, you are getting a payoff for this, and it's pathological. It may be fun, but really it starts to accumulate and you start getting on each other's nerves.
Different is good, look, I don't wanna be married to me. I don't wanna roll over in the morning and look at me. I don't wanna be married to somebody that thinks like I do and talks like I do, and acts like I do. You want something different. You've gotta choose to embrace those differences.
Now there's a couple of things I want you to do. Number one, you gotta figure out what your payoff is for this. And, and when you have these exchanges, you've gotta change your objective. Your objective is to get agreement. And as I said to Cody and Azizi earlier, you want to change that so you don't...there's not gonna be a winner and a loser.
And second, you gotta be proportional. You don't wanna just, just go nuts and talk for an hour about everything. And you two need to put a time limit on stuff: "We're gonna talk about this for like three seconds, and then we're gonna move on."
And I want you to do something for me for the next week. Wake up every morning and ask yourself, "What can I do today to make my partner's life better?" And it doesn't have to be flowers or something big, just "What can I do today to make his or her ride through this world a little easier." And don't ask for approval from each other, just do it.
Next: I saw a woman strike her child in a store. I was horrified, but didn't stop her. Now I feel guilty. Should I have said anything?
Published on January 16, 2011