Anger Management: How to Stop a Fight

By: Davine Holness

how to prevent an argument

Anger management tips: conflict de-escalation

When we get into heated arguments, we often find ourselves saying things we regret or things we don’t mean.  In addition to being unpleasant, arguments can chip away at the harmony in a relationship and even have deleterious health effects.  Thankfully, even those who have struggled with anger management in the past can take certain steps to deescalate a verbal conflict.  With a strategy called unilateral disarmament, individuals can stop at the peak of an argument and focus their own behaviors in order to approach the conversation from a more loving stance.

  1. The first step is to relax.  Anger decreases our ability to think about the effects of our words, so access a calmer attitude through deep breathing or by counting down from 10.
  2. Refrain from backlash.  If your partner is provoking you, don’t take the bait.  Remain in control of your actions and keep in mind that winning the argument is probably not as important as maintaining closeness in the relationship.
  3. Display warmth.  Rather than fighting to hold on to power, show vulnerability and affection.  You might take your partner’s hand, look them in the eye, and say something that comes from the heart rather than from the ego.
  4. Practice empathy.  Humbly put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  This does not mean giving up your point of view, but accepting that the other person sees things differently.  This way, you can each begin to understand each other’s viewpoints.
  5. Name it to tame it.  Articulate your feelings to yourself and then share them with your partner.  You can then identify what’s causing these feelings and work toward fixing it and avoiding it in the future.


If you are having trouble with relationships or anger management, feel free to contact the Manhattan or Bergen County, New Jersey offices of Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy to speak with a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist.  Call (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 for an evaluation.  Visit for more information.



Firestone, L. (2014, April 16). 5 Steps to End Any Fight. . Retrieved June 3, 2014


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