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Curb the Arguments That Only Happen in Your Head

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When I say ‘head argument’ I’m sure you know what I'm talking about. It’s when you are pondering a certain issue/relationship/conflict/situation and you start arguing it out with the person concerned in your head.

Some people can really annoy us, so we keep pondering these outrageous things to ensure we stay one step ahead of them. You may find yourself going off on many tangents, exploring all possibilities so you are ready for any real arguments that arise.

I've started being able to identify a head argument early. Anytime I find myself drifting into one I notice it, label it 'head argument' and instantly I realize I’m doing negative, ridiculous thinking.

It is a waste of time and energy, and puts your body in a state of stress and adrenaline (and anger), which over time actually physically harms us. Since your mind doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined things, your blood pressure will rise, your heart will race, and you will get really mad.

These arguments are nothing more than a way of ‘visualizing’ tension that you don’t actually want – which means, spend enough time visualizing it and it will happen exactly as you don’t want it to.

You may wonder if you benefit by preparing for potential tension – giving you a ‘stronger case’ since you’ve thought it through already. But I think it’s a pretty fine line between preparation and craziness.

Often we may be considering the situation and just processing our thoughts about it, when suddenly a dreaded head argument starts. In fact, it could happen a million times in the ten minutes we are pondering it. If you keep stopping yourself and focus on the real issues, you should gain the clarity you are after.

There is no point pre-pondering what someone may or may not say. It doesn’t help us at all and simply attracts negativity. I bet it makes our relationships more troubled than if we didn’t have such thoughts so regularly in our minds.

The biggest problem I see with head arguments is that we well underestimate how many we actually carry out. We may think we have one or two a day, but I'd guess it is probably more like 40. Actually, how do we not know it's not more like 200?

Add a Comment3 Comments

Hi Diane, you raise great points. Some 'rehearsal' can give you clarity about what you feel about a situation, and even make you change your tune a bit - perhaps gain some different perspectives. All positive when it comes to resolving conflict :)Yes its definetly the pointless chewing over and over of silly going no where debates that we shouldnt allow.

May 7, 2009 - 1:23pm

Great post, Allison!

Lots of food for thought there. Yep, I'm guilty of head arguments -- I think we all do it. I can have an imaginary argument with another driver on the street, the clerk at the post office, or someone dear to me. And you're right, most of the time they're useless and serve only to distract and annoy me.

However, I have to say that I think there is a good time and place for working through a conflict in your mind ahead of time for the workplace. In the workplace, often a conflict arises with a co-worker or with a boss, and we simply don't react as well when we're talking off the cuff as we do if we've thought it through or even rehearsed. I find that if I think about the conversation ahead of time, I handle it much better. I say the things I want to say, and I don't say the things I don't want to say.

I don't have a huge temper, but I imagine this is even more useful for those who do. If you are a person who wishes they would think before they speak, this is a helpful skill.

Perhaps the difference is whether a head argument will really help you work out an actual problem that you need or plan to discuss with someone, or whether you're just turning it around and around in your mind in order to make yourself appear right.

May 7, 2009 - 8:07am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Could you tell me what to do wlwhen they reach that point you dont want them to? I read this and am worried. I feel im going through this and afraid to speak my mind at the same time so i say what i feel in my head. Am i screwed. I think it got to a point where i called the person but was not able to say how i feel.

November 26, 2015 - 10:17pm
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