Book Review: Why We Argue and How To Stop – A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships by Jerry Manney

Why We Argue and How To Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships by Jerry Manney

Arguments, most times, lead to hurt and pain.

This book is intended to make that a peaceful and amicable experience.

The pages are filled with practical examples that are engaging and interactive, on how to handle arguments and come to an amicable conclusion or acceptance of a truce by both parties.

In its 178 pages, the book starts by dissecting the reason we argue. It gives a list of 20 reasons why we argue, but the major conclusion made is that ‘We often argue because we’re trying to change the thinking or behavior of someone else’.

Exactly, and since everyone has their point of view, their perception, it is not easy to come to a conclusion.

By being interactive, I mean the book requires the reader to do some practice. You have to take a pen and paper to do some great exercises.

In arguments, the book chastises one that, “to get a better understanding of why people don’t always
respond the way you’d like them to, try thinking about things from a different perspective”.

Some people might find the act of doing exercises a little bit cumbersome but what is self-help without practice?

But don’t worry, Jerry Manney in Chapter 2 titled, Put the brakes on heated arguments’ even suggests that if you are of a particular mindset or have encountered a certain type of argument, to skip several chapters and go to a later one. The author is very serious about solving the issues of arguments.

There’s a concept of time-out in arguments, where both parties agree to resume the debate later on.

Other important tit-bits I found great in the book is the art of emotional control during arguments

Be proactive instead of reactive – “focus on what you want to say and how you can communicate it so that it will be heard by others, you gain control of yourself, your emotions, your thoughts, and your actions. You’ll also gain self-respect”.

The above is thoughtfully suggested in line with the fact that ‘no one really wins in a heated argument’. That’s why in most cases, it’s better to concentrate on working together to resolve a disagreement rather than to fight, the author advises.

Arguments cause frustration and emotional pain that can have negative effects, but how do we deal with that?

The issue of how one puts out their words, in order to have a pleasant experience after the argument, is also covered.

The author has not filled the book with intellectual posturings on how to deal with arguments, Jerry Manney uses practical everyday stories and experiences to pass the message across. He shares his personal experience as a counsellor too.

Need I stress the issue of sending mixed signals during arguments? You know that one can be saying one thing but their body language signals another. This is a big-no in arguments.

Manney covers how men’s and women’s brains are wired differently.

For parents who have to deal with teens, mood swings and all. Manney advises that, “Remind yourself not to take it personally; this can help you to resist reacting to every sound that comes out of their mouths”.

Don’t neglect yourself though.

This book seems small but it is big on both the practice it asks one to engage in and its impact on relationships. Relationships with friends, strangers, at the workplace, in the home set up with spouse, brothers, daughter or son.

Without practice, he warns there’s no progress.

So if you want to become a champion in the art of arguments, I suggest you buy this book.

The book is imperative for business leaders, salespeople, and negotiators at large.