How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

We can all flash back to our version of The Terrible Fight. In fact we can remember every painful detail because of how our body and brain shift into danger mode. There is a pivotal moment where we get stuck and the conversation goes from gentle and interesting to tense, or loud, or accusatory; or all three. It’s like getting caught in a snowbank…you think you’re all set to make it through and all of a sudden there you are, wheels spinning and you don’t (even though you told yourself you should) have a shovel in the car. Couples go into Arguing Autopilot.

When couples are in the thick of it, Arguing Autopilot can cause temperatures can run hot and heat up fast. When our connection with our person, our love, feels threatened, it can literally be a matter of seconds before we are feeling a cascade of changes- changes in body sensations, going from relaxed to tense, changes in how we perceive our environment, going from safe to unsafe.

Being in the hotseat  with your partner means you are getting a real-time danger cue, and our nervous system does not take that lightly or know the difference between a relatively small threat (an annoying glance from him/her) to an all out door slamming, “I’mgoingtotakeadriveNOIdon’tknowwhenI’llbeback!”. Both can send our emotional center reeling and hearing one thing: “I’m not going to be there for you.”

Emotionally Focused Therapy, developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and expanded by countless others who help relationships with an attachment focused lens taught me we can turn Arguing Autopilot off when relationship drama gets too hot. Here’s how, with some helpful phrases you can copy word for word:

  1. Seeing and Stopping The Dance: “I feel scared. I don’t like it when you are attacking me, it hurts”, or “No, you are not letting me in, you are dismissing me”, or “We are caught again in our stuck cycle and I am feeling disappointed, scared, angry”.
  2. Take responsibility for your part: “I am feeling so angry that I blamed you/shut down/kept at you, like I have done before. I don’t like it when I do that, I was feeling so caught and hurt by you”.
  3. Ask for help: Our partner has an ENORMOUS impact on how we recover from an argument, as we do on them. “I can’t guess at what you are thinking and why you are acting this way; can you please tell me?”
  4. Ask about Deeper Emotions:  “I can tell by how you slammed the door/rolled your eyes/got quiet/made fun of me to the kids that you are upset. What’s happening?” You need to be able to really listen here; if you ask this question and then go on to blame, you will be poking a big hole in your attempt to get your partner to trust you with their vulnerabiliy.
  5. Share your Deeper Emotions: Take a deep breath and prep for getting more vulnerable. Each time you take the big leap of sharing your emotions you make it easier for your partner to as well. But ask for acceptance beforehand to cue your partner you need it: “I want to tell you what I’m feeling right now so you can understand why I did what I did. Can you listen to me for a sec?”

Watch my Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy trainer Dr. Scott Woolley here as he gently and safely draws deep emotion out of the couple he is working with. He knows how powerful their emotions are in guiding them back into their secure and loving bond. The steps I share above can help you do the same with your partner!

Here are some options for next steps:

-Read more about creating connection through other blog posts I’ve written here.

– Check out the Hold Me Tight Workbook by Dr. Sue Johnson, where you can use the pages to create your own solutions for arguing.

– Call us at 775-450-8339 and ask for a free 20 minute consultation to talk about how Emotionally Focused Therapy helps couples reduce their arguing.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

How to Bring the Relationship

How to Bring the Relationship

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.Restoring relationships
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