John and I have never really had an all out war argument. At least not the type I am accustomed to. However, we have had some severe disagreements about some major issues. Usually right before it spirals out of control or when it appears as if no solution is evident, something happens on my end. Its called the "shutdown". I just stop. I stop talking, I stop thinking, I stop manuevering, I stop internalizing, I just stop. Just like a computer, any work in progress will be lost. I won't want to bring it up again. John usually doesn't notice the shutdown right away because it is subtle and unannounced and he is usually talking or finishing his point and its happened and it slips right pass him.
The shutdown has probably prevented many of our discussions from escalating into arguments. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to discuss the same thing over and over again and since there are 178 other things on my list to contend with right now, I will just drop it and in mind move on to the next thing. But the down side is that it also prevent many issues from being settled and dealt with. Once I stop communicating, that's it. Discussion over, whatever you want- fine, I'm done with it. So, all of these unresolved issues just broil internally, constantly over and over again and nothing gets moved to the next level.
Well, somewhere in there it got noticed and John and I decided that we would work on it. It falls under our communication pillar of the relationship, but the strategy we use to work through this will give us a blueprint as to how to ( and how to not) handle future issues. What was interesting is the way John approached it. He asked me "what is it that I do that causes you to shut down?". I found that to be very comforting, why? Well, because even though it is I that does the "shutting down", he took joint ownership and repsonsibility of the issue. He didn't shove the problem in my lap and say "just fix...that thing you do."
In Blended families like it or love it problems in his family is a problem in your family. An issue with his kids, means an issue for you. A problem with your mom is a problem for him. The joys are shared but so are the problems. The shutdown issue is still a problem (hey we've only been on it two weeks, give us a break:-) But somehow it doesn't seem as hopeless as it once did, all because my husband turned the situation inward to correct himself first.
What things do you need to correct in you first? What problems are coming up over and over again that you know you play a role in that you don't want to deal with? Start inward and let your spouse know it (No matter who started it). You will gain a new respect from them and break down another layer of the barrier to your oneness.