It’s just that in our reactive, hurry up, competitive world people are so busy trying to ‘win the argument’ and be ‘right’ that they lose sight of the person at the other end of the conversation. In order to have a healthy conversation or disagreement both people have to be able to think AND feel and talk, AND listen. If you are getting reactive then take a ‘time out’ to calm yourself. During your time-out do things that will help to calm you and affirm that you are capable of listening and talking and thinking and feeling at the same time. It may be taking a deep breath, journalling or going for a walk. If you are really angry it may be running or punching a punching bag. It is not about leaving and not coming back or avoiding the issue. (That is equivalent to a *%#@ and prevents the building of trust.) And it is not spending the time coming up with better arguments. (Which, again, is not about building trust.) The goal of a time out is to get yourself into a state of compassion and connection with the other person. The message that taking a ‘time-out’ signals to your partner that you are working on being in control of yourself for the benefit of them, and the relationship.
When you do reconnect to talk, try repeating back what you think you heard and ask them if you got it right. People get into relationships to be affirmed and validated, not to be made wrong. Affirm that they have a right to their perspective before stating yours. If things derail again and you need to….. take another time-out and try again….and again….and again….and again!!! With practise it gets easier to focus on what you have control of, which is yourself, and not the other person.
Do you hear what I hear.. sung by Home Free