De-escalating your distress during a break

We take breaks when we are very upset to down-regulate our emotions. The whole purpose of the break is to reduce the intensity of your emotional activation because that makes it much more likely that you can have a constructive conflict with the other person. Unfortunately, lots of us weren’t taught how to do this … Continue reading De-escalating your distress during a break

Communicating around breaks – Part 1 – making agreements about breaks in conflict

As I said in the first post, breaks are a controversial topic. That means that lots of people have really different views on whether or not breaks in conflict are even an OK thing to do. That means that there are two parts to communicating around breaks – the first is about having conversations that … Continue reading Communicating around breaks – Part 1 – making agreements about breaks in conflict

How do I notice whether I need a break?

I’ve already admitted that this is one of the relationship skills I struggle most with, but on the plus side that means it is one I’ve given a lot of thought to. We all have a default when it comes to breaks in conflict. Some of us default to thinking that breaks are an excellent … Continue reading How do I notice whether I need a break?

What fears must I face to take value-based actions rather than coping behaviours?

There are often legitimate fears that make it hard to act in line with our values. Afterall, we develop coping behaviours for a reason. It is usually because they were helpful to us at some time in the past. Perhaps we didn’t have control of a situation and withdrawal was a sensible solution in order … Continue reading What fears must I face to take value-based actions rather than coping behaviours?

What value-based actions would you like to be able to take in conflict?

If you have worked through the last few posts you will have identified your values, checked that they really are values, worked out how effectively you act in line with them in conflict and figured out how you behave in conflict when you are really not doing well. As you have probably guessed by now, … Continue reading What value-based actions would you like to be able to take in conflict?

What is your go-to coping behaviour in conflict?

Conflict is awful, and we all find ways to cope with it. Many of us saw poor role models in our family of origin, and struggle to have healthy and productive conflict with our closest people. One of the reasons for this is that we have these inbuilt mechanisms for dealing with conflict that were … Continue reading What is your go-to coping behaviour in conflict?

Take stock of where you are now in relation to values

Today's exercise is a brief one. It is about working out which values are relevant to conflict, and establish how effectively you currently live by your values in conflict situations. Many people, myself included, find it hardest to live by their values in situations of intense stress, distress or anxiety. It is much easier to … Continue reading Take stock of where you are now in relation to values

Do your values open you up or close you down?

One of my favourite things on Meg-John Barkers blog is their work on opening up and closing down. They talk about lots of different topics in relation to this, most recently new relationship energy, and I think it is a great concept for thinking about what is going on in lots of different parts of … Continue reading Do your values open you up or close you down?

Working with your values in conflict

Many forms of psychotherapy suggest that people work with their own values to build a fulfilling life. Both Acceptance and Commitment therapy and Existential psychotherapy are particularly built around the idea that your own core values form an important foundation to creating a life worth living. Despite having a lot of time for these approaches, … Continue reading Working with your values in conflict