Yelling freely over minor disagreements or transgressions like sticky refrigerator handles can be cathartic perhaps in long-term relations where there is some grace, like money in the bank. I agree that we can continually aim to be our best. But can we chastise ourselves for not ever expressing annoyance? Can’t we yell a little? Idealists propose to constantly work on improving ourselves, and of course why not. But I also read the adorable Industrialist Ratan Tata from India giving couples advice to not take oneself too seriously, laugh fully and fight heartily in the spirit of living fully. I took it with the spirit that heated arguments bring out the real truth in what people are thinking and it is good to let out steam and our inner thoughts freely- where thoughts deep in the crevices come out. Some say respectful arguments are good as there is no negative connotation and only discussion on varying viewpoints. Yes, I think a random fight is not the end of the world.
If there is visceral anger, hate, and hurt in substantial proportions, people behave in an unintentionally mean way. On top of it, stress fans the flames of anger, hate, and hurt and vice versa. They are often sitting ducks of trauma in life or biologically irritable. Criticism, defensiveness, and aggressive attacking coming from that place are bundled into one big heap that needs to be definitely tamed. I am thinking that self-realization of what you are bringing to the table that is toxic would be so valuable.
Nothing stops you from being that leader in changing the route of where the fight is heading. Especially if you are caught up in a sticky fight, lighten up, agree, be amused, swallow some pride, compromise, and pour the water on the flames, as Dr.Gottman, the relationship expert would say. You have many good choices to manage. Use them. Everyone thinks they are in the right. You don’t have to be right. You have the agency. No one has power over you. Press the reset button. (I understand that resetting is harder and needs more intense help if there are irreconcilable differences and severe mental illness).
I used to say when I see enmeshed criticism in families, to treat each other as next-door neighbors. But now I shifted to calling the same idea as being “well mannered” with gravitas and poise. That allows each other to talk about all there is to talk, in other words, communicate. Open up and not pile up. Yes, ensconce the tone and delivery along with the content.
Be the best friend, have her/his back. Building on love is so much easier than cleaning up the mess!
Ultimately it boils down to being a good person. Without the mean streak. That is what I think when I read endless dialogues in any of the books on relationships.