We have all been there. We get to the point of frustration that we can’t see anything the other partner contributes as good or effective. We become blind to their presence, skills, and their efforts. We turn to the bad side and rip them up and down for being whatever we want to blame them for.
Now, typically these statements and feelings simmer for awhile then stir and then explode. And usually the other doesn’t even know the trigger except that they are the target of every emotion imaginable. They are shocked and are on the defense trying to weather the storm.
This is not new. This is probably something even cavepeople had to encounter.
The issue usually is one person feels they are taking on everything and the other is lacking in support. This could be true or a perception of one person to the other. Or the person hasn’t asked for help or given direction. Somewhere in the mix, something is lost and one partner feels deeply overwhelmed and now at the point of storming at their partner and the world.
How to Weather the Storm? (Partner #1)
- Recognize why you are feeling overwhelmed, list 3 specific reasons.
- Try to list them on a sheet of paper or type them into your phone.
- Analyze why you are feeling overwhelmed (What prompted the emotions?).
- Problem-solve how you will talk about your concerns. Timing, place, and situation must be taken into consideration.
- Approach your partner with thought, calmness, and clear statements. Stick to the facts and avoid becoming wrapped into your personal emotions. If you remain calm and collected your partner will read this as a positive and communication can begin.
How to Weather the Storm? (Partner #2)
- When you see your partner upset, don’t dismiss but listen. Listen without interruption. Being silent actually, really helps Partner #1 feel like they are being heard. Put the phone down, turn the TV off, and focus on them. Many times that is all they need. They just need to be heard.
- Think of a follow-up statement that supports their sharing. Like: Thank you for sharing. I am here to listen. This may be uncomfortable but it is a healing practice and it works so well.
- After you shared that you have listened, you have to options. You can fight back or calmly listen some more. Usually, Partner #1 has plenty to say so let them say it even though it may be hurtful and you want to interrupt. No matter what, let them have the talking stick. You will get the chance later but not when they are upset.
- Try to keep calm and response as not to disturb a sleeping baby.
- You can close the conversation with the thank you for sharing or I would like to discuss this further. Offer a glass of water. Water not always but sometimes soothes emotions. Remember your attitude and reaction to the conversation will set the tone going forward. Partner #1 is probably looking for a reaction from you. No partner #1 wants a reaction from you but if you stay calm and there is little to no reaction to stimulate them then the fight seems pointless and their emotions slowly decrease. Truthfully, your ability to control your emotions will help your partner move through their emotions. It is weird but totally true and works.
If you weather the storm together then you can begin having a positive conversation about whatever partner #1 wanted to discuss (yell). During the time, you are listening you may think of ways to de-escalate the situation and comment on the points in a more rationale way. Use the time to your advantage and plan a positive strategy to continue the conversation in a more rationale way.
Remember during partner #1’s time, listen and think of ways to de-escalate the situation. Use the time to your advantage and plan a positive strategy to continue the conversation in a more rationale way.
This practice may take time because people are programmed to fight when being attacked but changing your behavior will greatly impact your relationship and how you problem solve your issues and communicate with each other.
Again this may not be easy the first or second time but with some practice, you will find your behavior will change your partners or vice versa. You never know if this suggestion will help you until you try. So give it a chance.
Maybe they blame you for the everything but then you can say: I can listen, calmly response, and communicate with you to help your emotions feel like they are valued.
Oh yes, I love you.