Book Review: Why We Argue And How To Stop by Jerry Manney
Can we avoid arguments totally in our lives? Probably not. If we are living in a family with kids and other adults, if we are working with colleagues, and for that matter if we are living in a society or community, we will at times have words with others. However, most of us find arguments unpleasant and disturbing. And some of us are in situations where we repeatedly get into arguments with a certain person, where the destructive and corrosive nature of arguments can threaten not just our mental peace, but even the relationship itself.
What if you could "get better" at arguing? By better I do not mean equipped in some way to win every argument, but have the tools to avoid arguments without being deprived of your voice. What if we can learn to be able to speak and respond in a way that does not cause bitterness, anger or hurt, when we do get into a situation with another person where we disagree. When we have a conflict or the other person does not do the things our way, what if we could get our point across in a non-combative way? What about with teenage kids, who just don't seem to listen? What about a spouse with whom the relationship has become strained with arguments. How about an escalating situation with a neighbor; what if you could have the tools to diffuse the situation or handle it better?
If toxic and bitter arguments with someone are a source of distress in your life, "Why We Argue And How To Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships" by Jerry Manney is the book for you. Jerry Manney is a writer, speaker, teacher and a counselor with more than three decades of experience. He has used his vast experience to create a handbook specifically targeting the issue of arguments. It is short book, just 150 pages long, but filled with insights and useful suggestions that can help you see clearer and deeper into why arguments happen, and how they can be diffused with positive outcomes for everyone involved.
The book gets straight to the point and offers a plethora of strategies that can help one to navigate the treacherous waters of arguments. It also shows why the way to handling an argumentative person who is causing one distress begins with understanding one's own mind and managing one's own emotions. The book offers a toolkit to gradually work on the various aspects of our thinking, speech and behavior that are in our control, to give us a better control over the situations that end up in arguments.
To really benefit from this book, it would be advisable to do the short writing exercises suggested in the book. Armed with this book, a diary and a pen, you can take up a self-directed 2-weeks program to stop letting arguments become a force of destruction in your life.
Jerry takes up many hypothetical situations and offers doable ideas. Most of these ideas will seem logical and common sense, but when our fight or flight response kicks in, how many of us can boast of hanging on to logic and common sense? But I believe, by reading, thinking and writing out such scenarios, by applying the strategies from this book, one can slow down one's knee-jerk reflexes and steer the course of an inevitable hurtful or angry argument into a more constructive experience. As your own emotional intelligence and self-awareness expands, you will find yourself able to improve your relationships with others.
In short, an effective and practical book that can help you manage your emotions and arguments better. Highly recommended!
Link to book details at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60625411-why-we-argue-and-how-to-stop
At the time of writing this review, the book is available for free on Kindle Unlimited.
Disclaimer: I do not have any commercial interest in this book.