How well do you know how you react when conflict arises while talking with your spouse or partner?
To what degree are you aware of when you get angry?
How do past unresolved pain and resentment show up in your day-to-day communication with your significant other?
Are you constantly thinking about what your partner needs to change?
Commonly, I see married and unmarried couples repeat highly fatiguing and painful communication patterns right before my eyes.
Chronic communication problems slowly and progressively worsen over months and years and in turn contaminate emotional and sexual intimacy.
Casual conversations quickly deteriorate into arguing with little resolution, while vital conversations become more reactive and bitter.
Universally, it’s difficult to see ourselves accurately or understand how we truly react when we are emotionally triggered.
These problematic emotional reactions in interpersonal and committed relationships can be automatic and invisible. Additionally, many individuals lack the self awareness to see how their emotional regulations (automatic and invisible) can be a fast track to relationship breakdowns.
What do you know about YOU when you get emotionally triggered by conflict with your partner ?
Are you more laser focused on what you perceive you partner did wrong rather than what you did wrong?
Do you become more aggressive, passive, or avoidant when you get angry?
If you answered “yes” to any of these three questions and you are tired of feeling angry, discouraged, and frustrated with fighting instead of talking constructively, here are some tips for you:
1 – Notice when you start to feel physical or emotional tension while interacting with your spouse or partner.
2 – Listen to what you are saying to yourself about your partner: “She’s lying again” or “Here he goes again” or “She always attacks me”
3 – Start monitoring your body and its physical signs of tension. Notice when you start to feel negative about your partner and what your thoughts are.
4 – Practice strengthening your skills at regulating your emotions and focus on keeping the conversation productive and respectful.
These are 4 fundamentals to healthy communication and intimacy in your marriage or committed relationship.
Debra Neal LCPC