well-selected couples, 85% were judged by Bach to benefit from the
fair fighting training. Bach concluded that certain types of couples
were not well suited for fighting: those who can't be honest with each
other; those dependent on drugs or alcohol and, thus, aren't in touch
with feelings; those scared of intense emotions; and those who are
continually angry. Although many writers have recommended "fair
fighting," there is no well controlled research of the method. The
recommendations are based on theory and, I assume, on testimony
from clients who have tried the method.
The advantages claimed by Bach are listed in section a above. The
greatest danger is "hitting below the belt" and setting off a brutal,
harmful battle. As mentioned in chapter 7, once lingering bitterness
preoccupies one partner, the relationship is often doomed or, at best,
headed for hard times. It is possible that the method would be used
excessively, either with insoluble problems or in situations where
professional help is required.
McKay, M., Davis, M. & Fanning, P. (1995). Messages: The
communications skills book (2nd ed). San Luis Obispo, CA: New
Hough, A. S. (1993). Let's have it out: The bare-bones manual
of fair fighting. CompCare.
Lembo, V. (1975). Help yourself. Niles, IL: Argus.
Self-Disclosure and Openness
Self-disclosure, emotional openness, and effective
Self-disclosure is telling others about yourself (see chapter 9). It
includes all kinds of information: life experiences, personal
circumstances, feelings, dreams, opinions and so on. But most
importantly, self-disclosure is sharing how you are reacting to the
other person and the current situation. It is telling the truth, not just
presenting your good side or your social mask.
Why tell others about yourself? There is a wholesome cycle
involving self-disclosure, friendships, and self-acceptance. First, it is
usually helpful to tell the person you are interacting with how he/she is
affecting you because sharing your intimate feelings and thoughts
usually deepens friendships. Secondly, acceptance by friends and