How Should I Deal with a Partner Who Always Needs to have the Last Word?
Adults who cannot drop a conversation without inserting the last word usually do not have a clear but rather a fragmented sense of self. They tend to experience significant anxiety and attempt to manage their stress by being “right” and winning every argument. They are not sufficiently grounded in their identity and tend to define themselves through reactivity and combativeness. It may feel counter-intuitive, but the best way to “win” an argument is to “lose” it. Think about it, has anyone ever received a prize for beating their partner in a spat? A healthier, less stressful, approach to conflict is to own and articulate your part of the problem and say how you feel. It is reasonable to point out the impression that your partner seems to need the last word, but don’t take the bait and rally back and forth in an endless loop of animosity. The interesting twist is that if you continue to take the emotional high road and let go of the desire win each argument, you are likely to experience less anxiety AND your partner is likely to chill out a bit and become less of a last-word-grabber. If this strategy does not inspire a shift, it is time to think seriously about why you are continuing in a one-sided relationship.
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