We’ve all heard it…the relationship advice “never go to bed angry.” It seems like good advice, right? Well, yes and no. Mostly no. The only reason I say yes is because it’s possible to go to bed without resolving an argument and NOT be angry. If you know the problem is going to be resolved eventually and you remember that you and your partner are on the same team in life (yes, even when you disagree), you can let go of that anger and sleep like a baby. Though I guess technically you still aren’t going to bed angry. You are just going to bed with an unresolved issue with your partner. However, I digress and that is not really the point of this article anyway. What IS the point is that it’s actually better NOT to try to resolve a problem when you are both angry to the point where you are flooded.
Being flooded is a physiological response to danger that occurs during emotionally charged conversations. During this response, your brain sends a signal to your body that danger is near and to be on alert in case you need to fight or flee. As a result, your heart rate increases and your blood starts flowing to your muscles to increase strength and reflexes. However, this also means blood is flowing away from your brain; reducing your capacity to modulate your emotions and think clearly. Now does that sound like a good time to have a fight with your partner when you can’t control your emotions or make rational, logical decisions? Probably not.
If you’ve ever wondered how your fights escalate and get out of control so quickly, you are probably continuing to fight past the point of flooding.
The solution to this problem is the structured timeout process. Check out this video I made describing more about how to recognize when you are flooded and how to stop your fights from getting so out of control.
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