RESPECTING YOUR PARTNER “SPACE”
Every week I see clients who volunteer to work with me in Private Sessions
to resolve conflict and anger in their personal relationships.
Couples Conflict composes about 80% of my work. Helping one or both present to create new relationship patterns replacing old ones that are not working.
This post is about respecting your partner’s personal “space” that is often requested but not honored. Almost always this comes up in the Session.
Imagine: You are beginning to argue as usual (lately more than ever) and one person gets emotionally charged by the discussion and your partner withdraws as they do not want to continue to argue. They FLEE and you chase them around your house or apartment to continue the argument. They sometimes lock themselves in a room and you find yourself banging on the door shouting at them. “Come on! We need to discuss this NOW!”
Their disengagement really triggers you into an aggressive anger mode. We say that AVOIDANCE is destructive as the FIGHT-FLIGHT RESPONSE ¹ has kicked in. Our brains get hijacked by this and we want push back. We want engagement NOW! We might even name call, badger, get nasty vocally trying to be fulfilled. We actually want a fight.
Our partner does not want a fight. We cannot see that. We just want to be able to continue to express our hostility. We think “Weasel.” The reason this occurs is that our amydala in the limbric part of our brains gets stimulated launching the Fight Response. We want engagement.
For WITHDRAWAL or AVOIDANCE to work when things are calm between you have a discussion and agree to below formula.
- When a person calls for “I NEED SPACE” or “TIME OUT” or ” I NEED A BREAK” both immediately acknowledge it, and person tells for how long. For example: “I need space for 20 minutes for things to cool off.”
- Decide ahead of time location for each person to retreat to. One to the bedroom. Another to the porch, or man cave etc. No one leaves the premise.
- Use DISTRACTION TOOL. Both people do not think of the impasse or topics being discussed. Refocus your attention to something else. Think about someone you love, your next vacation, a hobby, what you have to get done today, think about your goals you want to accomplish in the next few months. By distracting yourself you allow the hormones to dissipate and rational thinking returns.
- When time is up, check in and see if both are now back to more normal emotional state. If one is still very emotional, continue break for another 20 minutes.
- Upon resuming discussion, both ask together: ” Are we going to remember this argument in a year?” 80% No. 20% Yes.
- Easiest for one to say ok lets do it your way. Or You are right. If you start getting emotional again. STOP. Postpone for a day.
- OR Get paper and use Problem Solving Technique we will discuss in tomorrow’s blog.
The Fight or Flight Response¹
The Fight or Flight Response
The reaction begins in the amygdala, which triggers a neural response in the hypothalamus. The initial reaction is followed by activation of the pituitary gland and secretion of the hormone ACTH. The adrenal gland is activated almost simultaneously and releases the neurotransmitter epinephrine. The release of chemical messengers results in the production of the hormone cortisol, which increases blood pressure, blood sugar, and suppresses the immune system. The initial response and subsequent reactions are triggered in an effort to create a boost of energy. This boost of energy is activated by epinephrine binding to liver cells and the subsequent production of glucose. Additionally, the circulation of cortisol functions to turn fatty acids into available energy, which prepares muscles throughout the body for response. Catecholamine hormones, such as adrenaline (epinephrine) or noradrenaline (norepinephrine), facilitate immediate physical reactions associated with a preparation for violent muscular action. These include the following:
- Acceleration of heart and lung action
- Paling or flushing, or alternating between both
- Inhibition of stomach and upper-intestinal action to the point where digestion slows down or stops
- General effect on the sphincters of the body
- Constriction of blood vessels in many parts of the body
- Liberation of metabolic energy sources (particularly fat and glycogen) for muscular action
- Dilation of blood vessels for muscles
- Inhibition of the lacrimal gland (responsible for tear production) and salivation
- Dilation of pupil (mydriasis)
- Relaxation of bladder
- Inhibition of erection
- Auditory exclusion (loss of hearing)
- Tunnel vision (loss of peripheral vision)
- Disinhibition of spinal reflexes
Function of physiological changes
The physiological changes that occur during the fight or flight response are activated in order to give the body increased strength and speed in anticipation of fighting or running. Some of the specific physiological changes and their functions include:
- Increased blood flow to the muscles activated by diverting blood flow from other parts of the body.
- Increased blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugars, and fats in order to supply the body with extra energy.
- The blood clotting function of the body speeds up in order to prevent excessive blood loss in the event of an injury sustained during the response.
- Increased muscle tension in order to provide the body with extra speed and strength.
- Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight-or-flight_response
Are you in constant conflict and never ending arguments?
A few Private Sessions on a Monday Evening will give you the tools to live better and return yourselves to your old loving selves. Your life deserves better that how you are living. You are killing yourselves with stress, coronary heart disease. No joke.
Call Richard Taylor at 678.576.1913
Director Richard Taylor BS, CAMF
Certified Anger Management Facilitator
Diplomate American Association Anger Management Providers
Atlanta Anger Management
5555 Glenridge Connector
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, Georgia 30342 USA
Linked in: http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardtayloraam
#1 Certified Anderson and Anderson™ Anger Management Provider
The Best Of The Best In Anger Management & Emotional Intelligence