In a relationship, there are few things that feel as low as waking up the morning after a blowout fight. What's the aftermath? What happened? Where are we at? How did we get here? Why did I say that? Did I mean what I said? Did he mean what he said? How do I feel about it now? Where do we go from here?
Do I want to work through this?
Furthermore, if drinking was involved...it was likely more emotional, dramatic, illogical, and blurred than had the subject been discussed otherwise.
However, regardless of the circumstances, it most likely hit an unconscious trigger point. Even more so if drinking was involved...seeing that it suppresses the conscious mind, which prompts the sub/unconscious to take over. We can discuss that in a future post. So for now, let's focus on what you know triggers you. Or, if you're not exactly sure, start with taking inventory...when was the last time you felt emotionally triggered? Is there a pattern you recognize over time?
Unfortunately, it wasn't until after my last relationship ended that I learned about the unconscious drama (or dance...depending on the day) that creates the underlying dynamics between a couple.
Getting into a relationship with someone brings up all our stuff. There's no better way to get in touch with our deeper thoughts and feelings than embarking on the process of getting to know someone new, becoming close, learning about them, sharing about ourselves, and here's the big one...seeing what comes up when we feel vulnerable with someone...especially in a romantic context.
Let's also add that falling in love chemically mirrors a drug high that has potential to form an addiction. Oh, the beauty of neuroscience. Not only are we experiencing all these things, but the other person is going through a similar process with all their own thoughts, beliefs, and triggers too. (Yay!) This is where things can get convoluted. Is this me, or is it them?
In the past, had I known what was happening as it happened, high stakes conversations would have gone quite differently. Now that I know what to look for (clues such as heightened emotions, reactive behavior, etc.), my mission is to work with as many individuals and couples as possible who want to incorporate higher levels of awareness into their lives, and therefore consciously create more fulfilling, meaningful relationships. If you're like me, you'd prefer to understand what's going on, and learn how to do something differently next time to make it better. Let me share a few things I've learned, and how I've opted to approach these conversations moving forward.
What I Wish I Would Have Done Differently:
- I would have asked, "What happened?" rather than "Why did you do that?" The first question seeks to understand, while the second assumes judgement or blame. If someone feels judged or blamed, they're much more likely to feel attacked, and shift into defensive mode...no bueno.
- I would have held more space for my emotions. I didn't think anything good could come from voicing my doubts or concerns in the relationship, so I simply didn't share them. My bad. What we avoid gets harder to ignore until we decide to take it on, and deal with it. The sooner we take it on, the less intense it is, and the less time it takes to work through it. If I would have shared my concerns earlier, they wouldn't have been accompanied with resentment, and so emotionally charged, once I finally did share them.
- I would have asked, "What I am to learn here?" every damn day. It shifts me out of being annoyed about things that are happening, and allows me to recognize that I can choose to believe that things are happening for me, not to me.
What I Do Now Instead:
- I seek to understand rather than to jump to conclusions.
- I understand the difference between honesty with an intention to connect and honesty with disregard. The first can foster trust and connection, while being honest without consideration of the other person can be hurtful and damaging. The second part of this equation is to be able to listen and acknowledge the other person's thoughts and what's true for them, without taking it personally.
- I share how I feel. Not super effective: "You're an asshole." Rather: "I felt disrespected when I was waiting for you, and I hadn't heard from you." This goes back to phrasing something in a way that expresses your truth without throwing someone into defense mode.
- I approach a conversation with the intent of finding a way to do it differently: "What can we do instead next time?"
- I recognize the difference between who my partner is, and what it is he does. Taking one action and blowing it up to signify who he is, isn't playing fair.
- I always ask myself, "How significant is this?" I've come to live by the belief that life is a gift and spending it negatively for any longer than necessary isn't worth it to me. If it's not that significant in the big picture, let's address it, and move on. If it's life-altering, give it the time and consideration it deserves.
- When in doubt, I take a EDM dance break. Physical movement shifts our energy. Jumping up and down, getting into a rhythm, being silly, and having fun never fails. If you're somewhere that isn't conducive for 5-minute dance break, take a walk, and listen to a song (or two) that makes you feel good. I feel like being in a heavy or low energy state for too long can become a downward spiral. The only way out is to spiral upward instead, so get to know the things that are upward catalysts for you.
As we start becoming more curious about who we are and what we do, we pay more attention, make more observations, and consequently, expand our personal awareness. As our awareness expands, we begin to realize that things can be different, and if things can be different, we now have choices we didn't see before. Do you tend to feel more motivated when you feel like you don't have a choice, or when you do have one? I've found that the feeling of not having a choice can be quite a motivator to find another way. However, feeling like there are no other options can lead us to feel stuck and paralyzed. What's most important is to find what works best for you.
Take a few moments today to take inventory of what works well for you, and where you'd like to redirect your energy. If you're curious about what comes up for you when it comes to relationship dynamics and would like to work with me, check out my private programs, and schedule a consultation with me here.
Love + light,