Yes even my partner and I fight sometimes. I am always fine-tuning what works and what doesn’t work, so I can save you the time and heartache of figuring it out!
Last week, we were arguing and I was feeling rejected, and I started complaining about all the things that weren’t working between us, all doom and gloom (yes even I do that sometimes…)
He felt overwhelmed and abandoned, and then no matter what we tried to say to each other, it felt like there was an un-crossable chasm between us.
We tried to listen to each other’s feelings, but we were both feeling so depleted and hurt that it didn’t work. We just felt disconnected.
So he told me he needed space so he could focus on needed work, and I was feeling hurt all day. I tried all the self-soothing tools that I know (and teach) but I still felt like someone was taking a meat tenderizer and pounding it into my heart…
…and then my intuition told me what words and actions would soothe me and help me feel better.
Self soothing is important, but our nervous systems are actually designed to be soothed by another person.
When we are triggered, the blood drains out of our thinking brain and we only have the emotional resources of a 2 year old, which is why we say some pretty dumb things when we’re upset! So we actually need what a distressed child needs: to be held and comforted, to regulate our nervous system.
If we notice we’re getting upset (shallow breathing, tightness, judgmental thoughts) and we know how to ask for and receive this kind of soothing from our partner, it can nip a fight in the bud in seconds.
There are specific actions you can take that speak directly to your and your partner’s emotional center and bypass the logical mind:
- Soothing Touch, such as placing your hand on their shoulder, or hugging
- Looking directly and softly into their eyes
- Speaking softly and slowly
- Saying short, reassuring phrases like, “We’re okay” or “We’ll work this out.”
Research has shown that if couples give each other this kind of reassurance on a regular basis, then it changes the way our brain is wired so we get triggered less often!
Of course, I didn’t realize what I had needed until I came out of my upset!
When he and I talked again, we agreed that when one of us needs space, we would at least look each other in the eyes and in a soft voice say, “Your needs are important, and we’ll work this out soon, together.”
The other day I wanted to talk about my feelings and we didn’t have time, and he looked me in the eyes and lovingly said that. This could have escalated into a fight, but instead my whole body felt like it was melting into a space of safety and care, and my heart felt restored, in seconds.
Later he said, “I feel a deepening, a joy, and relaxation with you, that’s possible now that we’ve passed through the processing and come out the other side.
What words and actions would soothe you when you’re upset? It usually has to do with your deepest emotional needs. I can help you discover what specific words that your partner can say and specific actions that they can take to instantly and magically soothe you, so you melt into connection and feel all the love sink right back in.
If you are fighting or feeling distant, or if you want to learn the tools to attract, re-ignight, and sustain lasting love, I invite you to schedule a free “Back To Love” Strategy session with me, where we create a custom-plan for your relationship! I’m here for you as a resource, so let’s chat 🙂
Try giving or asking your partner for this kind of soothing when you’re getting triggered, and make a comment: how did this work for you? Where do you get stuck? I’m here to help 🙂