Conflict Alert! Bunny Rabbits to the Rescue!

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-04-22 22:30:32 -0500
Started 2014-04-19 21:46:28 -0500

Why can’t we be nicer to each other? And why is it so easy to jump into an argument?

Maybe it’s just the timing. Maybe everybody’s tired and short-tempered from the long winter. But I’ve been having a lot of conversations with clients lately about conflict – okay, arguments – with their partners.

It seems like we all have good intentions, or at least we like to think we do, but then somebody says something that pushes a button. And we’re off to the races. And let’s face it. It’s not easy living with a chronic condition. And it’s not always easy living with someone who has a chronic condition. The challenges can leave everybody feeling on edge at times. Things build up. And boom!

I am probably dating myself but when I am listening to how an argument got started – or sometimes witness an argument when I meeting with a couple – I am often reminded of a scene from that old, old TV show, “The Three Stooges.” (By the way, it was an old show when I was a child, too.) One of them would say the word “Niagara Falls,” and another one would start reciting “Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch…” as a bad memory was triggered.

It was hilarious. But not so funny when I see something similar being played out with two people who care about each other but don’t always act like it.

What’s sad to me, and often to the two people involved, is that things just get out of control. The horse is out of the barn, and nobody knows how to bring it back. Tempers flare, hurtful words get spoken. It might even feel good to get it all out, at least for the moment. But afterwards, the damage has been done.

I recently wrote an article about “fuzzy bunnies” that seems especially appropriate at Easter time. The idea is kind of a variation of the Three Stooges and Niagara. You’ve already got the words that get the conflict underway. So what about a couple of words to stop the argument while it’s underway, maybe even before it gets underway?

Here’s a link:

You might want to check it out and give it a try at your house. Bunny rabbits aren’t only our friends on Easter!

But here’s the bigger idea. What if we all made it a point to welcome the spring with a new attitude? More patience. More compassion. And the decision to do at least one daily act of kindness for the people you care about.

What do you think? Are you in? Any ideas to share about halting those tense moments at your house?

I’m all ears (not quite as big as a bunny rabbit’s)!

24 replies

Poodle gal
Poodle gal 2014-04-22 07:13:07 -0500 Report

I think that, as humans, we can be super sensitive to our own situations and, sadly, we don't take a deep breath before we just spit something out. We have a tendency to view everything from our own perspective. For example, I just had a complicated surgery on my hip and am recovering in bed for the next six weeks—I am feeling sorry for myself and have been thinking about my sad situation and not as much about my caregiver (husband)—your discussion reminds me of the necessity to do so. Thanks Dr. Gary!!!:)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-04-22 22:29:52 -0500 Report

Hey Poodle gal,

Well said! We just spit those words out because that feels good at the moment. And deal with the consequences later. And boy, there sure are some consequences!

Sounds like you are going through a lot, my friend! No wonder you aren't always feeling so happy. You still get to be human, and that means feeling sorry for ourselves from time to time.

Glad you have someone watching over you.

Take care and keep us posted on how you're doing!


shoulders 2014-04-21 20:48:48 -0500 Report

As a young child, I was told to pick nice and sweet words…cause tomorrow I might need to eat those words. And its easier to eat nice kind words, to bad, mean, or bad words. Also, I never continue to fight or raise my voice, Tommy was injured at school and needed me to watch over him. And then my husband and I would get into a argument. We each had a statement to respond to the other. My husband, I'm going to take you to the daycare, to learn manners. My statement, I'm going to take you to the nursing home, so you can take your medicine to help you with your anger. See their is a good way to let your issues pass right over your shoulders. And enjoy a good laugh as well.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-04-22 22:27:01 -0500 Report

Hi shoulders,

Nice to hear from you, my friend. That's a good lesson, yes, we can end up eating those words. I think most of us have been in that situation at one time or another. I like the way you and your husband joke you way out of an argument. That's another version of fuzzy bunnies.

Thanks for sharing this!


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-04-21 09:26:48 -0500 Report

A man and his wife walked up to our tables at the Farmers Market yesterday morning and said, "we are Easter Bunnies" They were hilarious. In their 70's and dressed a like with rabbit ear headbands that had flashing lights. They were giving out little chocolate eggs to everyone they passed. He said with all the turmoil in the world today, we thought we would make people smile. They were very successful at it. The one thing they did that I thought was great was ask parents if they could give a child candy.

My sister and i had a major argument last Sunday and I refused to acknowledge her presence on Earth. I love my sister but I can't stand her as a person. She is highly educated but has no common sense at all. She cannot take any kind of criticism from anyone. She is exactly like our father who never in his life admitted to doing anything wrong. At any rate, she called her doctor for a prescription on Tuesday. I asked her everyday if she called the pharmacy. She said stop asking her. By Friday she is sick as a dog. She called the pharmacy Saturday only to learn that the doctor never called in the prescription. They never do and she won't do a thing about it. On Sunday she jumped on me because she was sick. When I got tired of listening to that. I told her since she is too stupid to call the pharmacy to see if her prescription was there. Of course now it is my fault that she didn't do it and told me she could die. I said then you will be dead and I will go on living and not have to be concerned with a person with no common sense and to much of an idiot to realize it and proceeded to not say one word to her for the rest of the day. She hates when I do that.

You can't always avoid conflicts. The best thing to do is not allow yourself to buy into someones anger. People create their own problems and have expectations of others that others know nothing about. When people don't get the attention, sympathy or hear what they want to hear, they get angry. Later that day, my sister asked if I was still mad at her, I told her I wasn't mad, I just wasn't dealing with her and her stupidity. I was mad earlier but then realized, she created her problem and instead of handling it, she tried to blame her problem on me. Life is short, I am not going to live up to anyone's expectations but my own. I will speak my mind and if people don't like it, too bad. I think people really need to look at why they are angry because someone said what they said and what I have learned the most is people are angriest if you tell them the truth.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-04-22 22:23:28 -0500 Report

Hi Joyce,

Two really interesting stories, and related in a way. One is about unconditional positive regard for other people, and the other is about needing to be right even when you place your own health at risk, as your sister did.

I agree with you. We don't have to buy into someone else's anger. We can make the choice to walk away. (Or to hop away if you are a bunny.) We can save so much valuable energy and pain for ourselves.

Thanks a lot, as always!


Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-04-20 14:55:16 -0500 Report

I was looking out my front window when I saw Peter Cotton Tail in my front yard. My pup was wanting out but I told him wait just a little bit. After Peter had left me and my pup went out. We proceeded to look for the Easter eggs Peter Cotton Tail would have hidden. Alas we didn't find any. When I told my husband this he just looked at me funny and said " Your silly Easter eggs and Trix are for kids, besides that was just a rabbit and his name wasn't Peter" We both laughed really hard. ( just a fuzzy bunny tale)

GabbyPA 2014-04-20 10:25:23 -0500 Report

I absolutely love the fuzzy bunnies idea.

We don't get into big fights too often, but like you said, it is usually just one button push away. I usually try to talk myself down before harsh words get said. They echo in my mind too long after and really hurt me as much as the other person, so I try very hard to calculate my words. But I do like the fuzzy bunnies when I loose that control.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-04-21 09:19:04 -0500 Report

HI Gabby,

Thanks for your reply. There is a lot to be said for being self aware, and doing what you can to consider your words and avoid that slippery slope. It's the best way to avoid the results of angry words.


GabbyPA 2014-04-21 09:28:17 -0500 Report

I have 3 instances that come to mind of when I could not talk myself down and those times haunt me. I hate that feeling. I sure needed fuzzy bunnies at those times.

2014-04-19 23:08:21 -0500 Report

I can't help myself, with bunnies and Easter
a friend of mine was driving
down the road today and there was a bunny rabbit on the road. My friend has a big heart and animal lover. My friend swerved to miss the rabbit. But the rabbit jumped
And my friend run over the rabbit. My friend stopped and got out to look, to my friends horror, he looked, and it wasnt just any bunny, but it
Was the Easter bunny. He stood there crying about what
He had done.
a lady come by and stopped. She asked why are you crying, my friend said he killed the Easter bunny.
The women. Run back to her car and come back with a spray can. She knell over the bunny and sprayed. The bunny all over.
They both. Stood there and. Suddenly. The rabbit twitched, then got up, the hopped 10 foot. Stopped turned. Around and waved. Then hopped another 10 foot, stopped. Turned arouned and waved. The bunny kept doing that untilled they could not see him anymore.
My friend. Was dumbfounded, he asked the lady what she sprayed on him.
She showed him the can and the can said

Hair spray. Revives dead hair and gives permanent wave

robertoj 2014-04-19 22:19:36 -0500 Report

I was born into a large family. Conflict and argument were a constant. Although I hated it I also was cursed with a short fuse and the need to be right. It made an otherwise decent life seem almost unbearable. I would never admit it but I was arrogant, judgmental and self centered. Things got better when I bought a house and lived with my girlfriend and her daughter. I argued about politics, religion and sports until either my friends or I were offended. It wasn't until I had a change in attitude about 14 years ago that I learned the futility of argument. I began to work with others with the same problems as I had. One must be trustworthy to be useful. That means, nonjudgmental, anger free and humble (as much as is possible). Once you identify your character defects and make amends it isn't to difficult.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-04-21 09:09:28 -0500 Report

Hey Roberto,

Really nice to hear from you on this one. There is a lot to be said for being self-aware, knowing what you hot buttons are, and knowing the hot buttons of the people around you. Tat way you can catch yourself in the act or, even better, avoid getting there in the first place. And as you said so well, the starting place is to be nonjudgmental and humble, and to be willing to admit a mistake.

Thanks for sharing this.


camerashy 2014-04-19 22:14:36 -0500 Report

I can imagine Don staring at me like I'd lost my mind if I said "fuzzy bunnies" in the middle of his explosion. Matter of fact, being diabetic isn't half as hard as knowing that he's going to explode without reason. He has Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and I wait until he calms down. It actually hurts him to explode like that. I mean, there's nothing I can do, really. He doesn't take his medication like he should, and I can't force him. So, in fact, I can't help answer this one.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-04-21 09:03:09 -0500 Report

Hi camerashy,

I am so sorry to hear that. your husband has this condition. Have you been able to see a counselor with him? It might help to work together on some strategies to help keep peace at home. I know this must be very hard on you.


camerashy 2014-04-21 14:55:53 -0500 Report

It's not as hard on me as it is on him, truthfully. I usually just walk out - and when he calms down he apologizes. And, in fact, I sometimes have a hard time not laughing at him. He occasionally acts like a ticked-off 4-year-old. By the way, I've got a much better handle on my BG numbers.