Argument is nature - but there is more to it

Everyone finds themselves having arguments from time to time, or may even get accustomed to having them and this can be one of life’s frustrations or treasures - both are possible depending on how they are embodied or approached.


Some arguments can be easy, simple, some difficult, well practised, highly complex, sore, hurtful, numbing, excited, blissful, subjugating, abusive, neglectful, rupturing, reparative, triggering of past times of grief, loss, trauma, or the many futures of dread, or of grandiose hopes that can shudder and shake us into vulnerable debilitating states of mind that ripple through the body. This list is incomplete and a lot of time thinking of all the possibilities that could be both troublesome or useful result of argument could be spent. 

Whatever arises through argument can have a vast array of effects and contrasts from person to person as unfolding argument lands in the current time-space, with impacting meaning and differences of many kinds.

Arguments can and often do transform lives and change the living felt-sense and relationship with difference… 

Someone may simply ask:

“How are you?”

You may respond:

“I’m just fine,”

but they see something else and reply:

“No, you seem this or that!” 

This exchange may trigger feelings into awareness and defences may escalate within the argument, which shakes up the system. 

The truth is we all have a place that’s always “fine and well” and aside from that we have places in and about our body that are not. So, both/and many more experiences exist, in and outside of awareness, always… Not just your inside variety of emotions that compare to another’s body feelings, memories or thoughts, but also systemic or cultural messages and influences landing with us that can grab hold, with forces of their own. 

They all are held with us and communicate inside and about our body, also outwardly through us, and towards others, along with the ones that form through groups and decisions that we’ve made no sense of yet because we’ve not been a part of that process.

Some social energies move through, some stick about and get hooked inside, for many reasons, both their and our own attractors vibrate together, like the old metaphor of marbles moving about in a tin tobacco box. 

People tend to try and make sense of things, to manage and change their relationships with themselves, others selves, the argument itself, or the relational self that we co-create between these participating phenomena. Sometimes, though, managing conflict (internal or external), into a faster quick response realm from protective actions, over the slower wave, current or usual position. This happens reactively as a normal human attempt to prevent painful feelings from arising again.  

“I want to hold this and feel that” the system may decide. 

A certainty of knowing or not knowing something, but with missing context, is most likely to make it more of a frustration, especially with the wider understanding being more than can be grasped in a fractional view or personal hypothesis. 

You may feel something about you that has been learned and even well practised to not be felt again, and if something aligns or triggers, it can feel over the limits. These elements of experience can become unnecessarily elevated, though, with its best attempt at solution also delivering less than perfect results and often generating more of a problem bind, even if it seems right, logical and makes a sense of its own - it can simply be all of that and that is exactly what it is - a view, fragment, or part of life. 

It’s most likely an unwholesome reduction or concentration of a focus point that is experienced as spiky, though without the intention to injure we emotionally spike each other. This is usually a highlighting of what needs attention or indicates what needs healing in both parties - a relational situation. 

This in and of itself can bring feelings of guilt (repair messages) and shame (avoid messages). Both can be overwhelmingly intense experiences, that people may prefer not to experience and becomes all too easy to blame one member. Severances often happen too soon and without any comprehensive understanding. 

You may think the feelings felt are impossible to face up to and take strong actions of controlling to stop any continuation of your own emotional constructs reacting towards your body, from within, while blaming another for reminding you of what’s inside. People seem to do this if they don’t know, or even if they do know what’s happening for you but you’ve decided that they should collude with the avoidance of your living experience, in the name of empathy.

There’s a natural nature in an argument that makes arguments happen and there is a place of nature in you that is holding the many positions of the argument, of all sides, with time-capsule-like frames of meaning (emotional constructs), even the ones that have been hidden and pushed down, ever deeper inside. This function seems to hide away the scared or shamed parts of the psyche (and that function being a natural gravity also), even if out of explicit reach, bound with powerful and coercive fear… These are usually the ones that are harder to feel and may seem impossible, are out of practice to be with,  because they’ve been locked away, often for a long time, because knowing how to deal with them was scarce or not yet learned, or simply traumatic for anyone to witness, at the time it happened - difficult, fragile or both.

The natural self-protective function of the ego pushes difficulties downward, inside towards the deeper nature and nourishing energy of a grounding safe place, the attempts to protect the clear authenticity of being that you are.

The push and pull of different systems creates frictions and distortions to the usual. This process cannot make changes - it’s the very nature of change.

Arguments are our protective systems and their inner teams acting from the sense of gravity that is pulling back towards our deeper nature and sense of calm and safety, a sense of vibrancy that resonates from within the depths and heights of our human being, a gravity of the earth and a gravity of space.

The magic of argument, though, is the re-finding and further embodying the deeper depths of the authentic free nature that you are, the spacious nature that already holds those emotions and feelings of all extremes inside, both before and when they arise into the awareness with a holding nature of being remaining unscathed, always. An unusual normal. The witnessing of this magnifies the natural calm, generated curious compassion, and holding energy that seems to better allow the experiencing of communications, time and times again, making the gravity of arguments more wholesomely possible, enabling courageous being and bearing of the many places in the psyche to become nourishing, clear, creative, and with intimate clarity - as though seen with new eyes that can notice ubiquitous qualities and connection. 

The deeper nature of presence that becomes embodied through knowing things intimately, helps us accept our human experiences, and can also homogenise and make a smoother relational flow, because the system becomes less reactive, more understanding and accepting of differences that previously seemed more difficult. 

A separation of discernment and differentiation between you and what you carry, process inside, the qualities you invite and give back to nature is somehow the freeing-up of you and your life spirit compassion that allows courageous communications, even when feeling vulnerable.

There is a magic in this process because its practice enables people to see, as though with new eyes, feel with renewed senses and witness more of the natural value states in all, which, enables more insight with others, more acceptance and learning when we learn to look beyond our internal reactive states - the embodiment of innate calm is clearly useful when witnessed. 

There are no demons but only angels freeing you

- Jacob’s Ladder

This all becomes functional with a well-practised therapist, who can be patient, persistent and even playful in knowing how to access a very simple phenomenon called Self Energy.  Even via difficult and fearsome inner terrain, the qualities of calm can be present. A phenomenon that always remains unbroken, ready, pure, soothing and relaxing, and with an abundance of healing qualities is always accessible when you learn to access it and embody it.

IFS Therapists and IFIO Therapists for couples both coach and assist people to embody Self Energy - the vital nourishment and source of calm, to make a better way for Self Relational Leadership inside and out. This means, rather than, for example, acting merely from a particular set of ideas or a crystallised ego state, instead developing a relational position with the spirit, ego, body, and social embodiments, and being more with the whole system and a wider range of natural resources. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bristol BS2 & Cardiff CF10
Written by Martin Linton, IFS Therapy & Counselling for Individuals & Couples
Bristol BS2 & Cardiff CF10

My work is with individuals and couples from a Systemically-centred practice, I’m also fully trained in Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Intimacy from the Inside Out (IFIO) - ‘Partswork’ or contextual approaches to psychotherapy & my passion is healing trauma with mindful compassion.

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