I know, you’re committed to this relationship, you love your partner but occasionally things get insanely out of control and the whole thing gets crazy and you can’t seem to help yourself in that moment.
What happens is your caveman or cavewoman danger chemistry is activated, you feel like you’re going to be some dinosaur’s lunch, and you’re fighting for your life. In that moment you’re out of control and incapable of rational thought because your amygdala has taken control and your rational mind is shut down.
This is actually an incredible opportunity to uncover buried treasure hiding beneath the surface, but we’ll address that later. For the moment, let’s just get you through this panic and irrational conflict, so that it doesn’t do more harm to the relationship than good.
First off, realize that if your partner is sounding off, like this, there’s something extremely ancient and sacred taking place and honor it and respect it. Understand that through this process which can look like outrage, your partner is trying to communicate something of importance to you.
The last thing you want to do is to take it personally, or get riled up yourself. If one of you is out of control, there is hope, if both of you are out of control, the relationship will suffer damages that may be irreparable. If you can, try not to lose your control, and if you feel like you’re about to lose your cool,
Call a timeout. Of course, you both have to understand and agree to invite the timeout process into your relationship in advance and you have agreed that when one or the other initiates a timeout, you both agree to stop talking for a period of time, no more than 20 minutes.
Those precious moments need not be wasted, take the time to center yourself. There are many methods to center one’s self. If you don’t have a method, you might consider this technique used on trauma patients. Imagine a copper cord that goes from the center of the top of your head, through your body to the center of your stomach. Then focus your attention as a small soothing electrical charge moving all the way up and down the copper cord. A few minutes of this and you’re centered.
Collect your thoughts about what you want to communicate and try to think of the best way to present it to your partner. It’s helpful to have something to write with.
Your brain has released a chemical cocktail that has put you into a state of panic. These chemicals are still moving throughout your nervous system, but their effects are dwindling during the break. About 15 minutes, or less is all it takes to return your body’s chemistry to a more normal state, without further stimuli.
After you have centered and gathered your thoughts you are ready to resume your attempt to communicate. If you were the one charged with unbridled emotion, you can return to that state if you feel it necessary to get out your pent-up feelings, frustrations or pain.
You’re in Good Hands
Your partner has your back. He or she has agreed to partner with you in this process to provide a safe and secure environment for you to express yourself and he or she will do everything he can to correctly understand what it is you’re trying to say.
Expect to be asked questions for clarification, and reiterate or rephrase your ideas so that your partner can correctly comprehend what it is your trying to say concisely.
If You’re Both Out of Control
If you’re both out of control, this is very unfortunate. Whomever has the first moment of clarity or consciousness must find the wherewithal to call for a timeout to stop the danger ahead which is waiting when both of you are out of control.
And you might have to take turns, following one’s rage, after clarity of the subject matter is clearly understood, the other partner may need to have a go at it. Now it’s your turn to hold the sacred space for your partner to freely express him or herself.
Rules of Engagement
You agree to following the rules to the best of your ability and they are
1. Don’t take it personally
Your partner must have the safe space respected and protected by you to express him or herself in any way necessary. Try not to take it personally, even if some disrespect might be directed to you.
2. Seek to understand
Separate any rage from the value of the message being communicated. While your partner may be over-reacting due to raging chemistry as he or she is in fight or flight mode, keep this in mind as you listen and ask for clarity.
3. No threats
Agree in advance that respecting and protecting the sacred space for your partner’s expression means that at no time will either partner threaten the relationship. Avoid using statements like, “if you keep saying that, I’m out’a here.” Don’t start throwing around statements inferring that either one of you will be bailing out, compromising or ending the relationship prematurely. If you are married, using the D-word (divorce) is strictly verboten and you are to refrain from accusing your partner of wanting to end the relationship when no such statement has been made.
Threatening the relationship will only threaten the relationship and is will cause mistrust and promote personal withdrawal and separation.
Honor the Relationship
Even when the going gets tough, and things get out of hand, you know you are together, committed and in a loving, supported environment, if you and your partner can approach potential out of control conflict in this manner.