Have you ever been in a fight with your loved one and said things you didn’t mean? I know I have. It feels right to say how you feel in the moment, but feelings are fickle and can wear off quickly. After the dust settles and the damage is done, you end up realizing that many of what you felt was said in haste, and oh, how you wish you could take it all back.
For those of us who can be hot-tempered and quick to react, those anger management techniques that we’ve tried over and over again just don’t seem to work in the heat of the moment.
When you become physiologically aroused from anger, the anger triggers adrenaline, releases cortisol (your stress hormone) in your body and works on overdrive to tap into your flight or fight response. Your prefrontal cortex (the decision-making, rationalizing and reasoning part of the brain) shuts down and is incapable of functioning properly. All of this happens within seconds of the external trigger, which set off the anger.
When understood this way, the ability to use all of those anger regulating strategies that have been told to us time and again just don’t work because we are inefficient in producing them.
My “personally-tested” and “partner approved” tactic is a surefire way to rid yourself of all those unpleasant comebacks you may have said to your spouse in a past argument. I like to call it the “Runaway Fighter.” And what it means is to literally…run from the fight.
A word of caution- It’s important to set this up IN ADVANCE of any foreseeable conflict with your partner so that they know what is happening and doesn’t take offense to your leaving. Sometimes you have to take drastic measures when desperate, and it is in these unpleasant moments where it is perfectly appropriate to walk, or run, from the situation…and take a much-needed break.
Taking a break allows your body to calm down and be able to regulate itself again. It becomes better able to function and process emotions with more rationalization and better clarity. It allows the conflict at hand to be dealt with intelligently and respectfully, without leaving any lasting scars.
The next time you’re in a fight with your lover and you feel your anger rise, run from the situation, cool off and come back to them with a better frame of mind.