Fighting for Love
It happens to the best of us . . .
Something comes along that triggers us to feel disrespected, embarrassed or hurt and we want to lash out and make our partner feel guilty for what they have said or done. Our list of past grievances comes out and before we know it we find ourselves engaged in a one on one war to win love and respect.
We think, “If only I could show them how wrong they are and how bad they have hurt me, they will feel guilty and sorry for what they have done and want to make me feel better.”
It seems logical at the time – but of course it never works out like that.
Victory at the expense of another is a hard task master.
Next time you feel hurt or offended by something you partner does, I dare you to take the best advice brain science and emotional intelligence training has to offer and . . .
- Decide to keep your mouth shut.
- Write down what triggered your negative emotional response.
- Go cool your heels.
- Do something to cheer yourself up.
- A few days later come back to what you wrote down and see if you can’t come up with a solution to the problem that sees two winners and less blame.
When our emotional brain triggers it is like our car flashing a warning saying, “watch out there might be a problem with the engine”, but this shouldn’t make us panic and drive wildly all over the road. Instead we need to take note of the warning but stay calm and relax until we find a place we can pull over.
Then we might need to distract ourselves and check out the scenery while a mechanic looks at the car. Only when we are calm and able to assess the situation with all the information at hand can we decide what needs to be done.
In the same way when we feel hurt and emotional we need to take responsibility for keeping control of ourselves, just as we would be responsible for keeping control of the car.
That voice in our head that says things like, “I am not going to let her get away with that!” or “How dare he speak so rudely to me” is part of a warning system that is lightening fast and very good at sensing disrespect.
It is not our best brain however for deciding how to best deal with the situation.
This Christmas Season give yourself love and respect and don’t let the worst in others bring out the worst in yourself.
Put down that list of past grievances your emotional brain wants to hash over and do something much smarter instead. Write down the trigger and take a time out. No matter how bad you feel, as long as you don’t add fuel to the fire, it will pass and there are always things you can choose to do to be kind to yourself.
Please remember these words of wisdom this Christmas as families coming together can be a time when emotions flare.
PS. Looking for a Christmas gift for yourself or your partner with meaning? The Love Safety Net Workbook will teach you both the practical skills that make up the 4 pillars of a stable and happy home life.