Conflict Resolution is the greatest issue in relationships. Have you ever had an argument and wished you had not reacted angrily? I know that I have.
Someone cuts us off on the freeway nearly causing us to hit another vehicle. The natural response is one of anger, fear and retaliation. We have experienced road rage, or parking lot rage, when someone takes the precious parking space in the crowded lot. Our turn signal was on, we were poised to drive into the perfect spot close to the door. Yet some ill tempered person snagged it first! We all know the feeling. Our buttons are being pushed.
When faced with conflict, our defenses rise, we become angry or afraid. It is a natural animal response of flight, fright or freeze. Meeting someone’s anger with an equal or stronger emotion only causes more strife, and makes conflict resolution impossible. When we raise our backs up and become angry, nothing is resolved. We are acting out our animalistic auto response to aggression. Moving beyond that automatic programming can be challenging.
No one knows better how to push our buttons than our family. A trip home for the holidays can be rife with stress, anger and upset if we allow others to push ours. In a love relationship, conflict arises frequently, from the most innocent situations. Our partners push our buttons often, unintentionally. Your partner beats you into the shower when you were gathering your clothes and about to shower yourself. Dishes are left sitting in the sink when you come home from work, tired and stressed. We often say things that we don’t mean when we are pushed beyond our limits. Those buttons can be red and touchy. Once those words are spoken, recovery is difficult.
Here are ten ways to stop button pushers or the fight or flight response that is innate within us.
1 Stop and think. Count to 10 slowly.
2 Don’t react.
3 Breathe in and out three times slowly while you count.
Breathing helps you to become grounded and moves you
out of an emotional reaction.
4 Ask yourself: “Is this worth fighting about? Was this intentional,
or accidental? Are you feeling emotions from an event long since
passed unrelated to this moment now?”
5 Most likely your reaction is being governed by events long ago,
with NOTHING to do with what is going on right now.
6 Remember you are NOT A VICTIM! No one is doing this TO YOU.
7 If you are still feeling reactive breathe three more times.
8 By now the angry response has subsided. Be present with your feelings. This is all about you, not the other person. Your feelings are coming up because you are feeling a reaction of a long ago issue.
9 Spend some time reflecting on the button (trigger) being pushed.
What was the thing that triggered you? A trigger is an invisible button that gets pushed. When you no longer have a button you have cleared the issue.