Like most relationships, there will usually come a time that ruptures will occur in relationships. A rupture is a form of communication that can result in an argument, misunderstanding, and/or disagreement. For example, there may be miscommunication resulting in an argument. There may be a falling out due to not hearing, listening and/or misunderstanding the other person’s needs or wants. Sometimes the language we use, does not resonate or make any sense to the person we are trying to communicate with or convey our message to. It can feel like talking in a foreign language even though both persons are figuratively speaking the same language.
What exactly is taking place here?
When there is a rupture in a relationship, we can walk away feeling defeated, unheard, unloved, shut down, beat up, mad, angry, sad, numb, frozen, shaken, confused, frustrated, lost, and so on. Our mid-brain—known as the emotional brain, and our upper brain—our decision making brain, get turned off and shut down very similar to turning off or shutting down a computer while our lower brain or survival brain kicks in and turns on. This is when you experience the survival response of fight, flight, freeze, or faint. Our bodies know how to do all four of these responses, but there is usually one that we do very well. A way to find out which one you are is when you are in a crisis situation. How do you react in the moment?
How to get out of the Rupture and into Repair
After ruptures occur in relationships, It takes at least 20 minutes to return to a steady state or resilient state of allowing the emotional and decision making brains to comeback online to make those rational and calm decisions and responses. So when you find yourself in the heat of the moment:
- Go take a walk, remove yourself from the situation even if the other person wants to keep at it. It will do both of you good to cool off, stop the ferris wheel from repetitive looping of unproductive bickering, arguing, complaining, destructive language, etc.
- Allow yourself to return to a state of centeredness, calmness and understanding. A place where you will feel better about yourself and better about the choices you are making.
- You can do this by taking deep breaths by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Do this as many times as you need until you feel more calm.
- Placing one hand on your heart and your other hand on your stomach can help calm your breathing, lower your heart rate, and clear your mind.
- The best way to try this technique is to practice it when you are not in the heat of the moment, but when you are in your steady state, calm and relaxed.
- When you feel at your best self again, then let the other person know that you are ready to talk and repair the rupture. They may or may not be ready, but that’s okay. Ask them to let you know when they are ready. Asking for a time frame is helpful, so the situation doesn’t get swept under the rug or forgotten about which can build to resentment and anger.
- Remember to use “I” statements to take responsibility for your part in the situation. For example, “I feel…” I need…” “I would like…” This can help lower any defenses and lead to a place of openness and better communication.
- Give it a try. And let me know how it goes!