When a storm hits, all of the elements of nature collide with one another to display their most aggressive, most chaotic sides, which can sometimes be dangerous.
The same applies to human relationships. We too can have emotional crashes and collapses through arguments, disagreements, and differences.
When that storm comes, it seems to bring everything together—exhaustion, anger, misunderstanding, and some casual trigger—and many people lose their patience to the point of saying things that they will later regret.
It’s not always easy to keep a cool head and a warm heart, but sometimes a storm can bring 10 years of regret. You must learn to remain calm and stay quiet during this time.
When the storm reaches your heart
It’s common to say things like “your heart is broken,” or “your heart was filled with anger.” But where you really feel the pain and shame is in your brain, and it is there where the real storm is unleashed.
Let’s look in more detail.
Arguments and psychological changes
When there’s no cure, when opportunity, a trigger, and bad luck collide in the midst of an argument, the first thing your brain perceives is a “threat.”
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- Something is attacking your belief system, your equilibrium, what is true.
- You are hurt because of someone you respect; they are causing you to doubt something that’s important to you.
- You feel threatened by certain words, ideas, or even a gaze that sometimes turns to you in a threatening or contemptuous way.
Your brain identifies these situations as dangerous and triggers an instinctive response by regulating your parasympathetic system. It prepares you to defend yourself and also to escape:
- Your heart rate accelerates.
- Nerve impulses are sent to your muscles to prepare you to move, although the first thing this causes is shaking and tremors, which you may feel in your hands, stomach, or legs.
- You will experience agitation, dry mouth, and a gripping anxiety that keeps you from thinking clearly.
During the “storm” your brain cannot think
When you’re arguing, during those highly charged emotional moments that characterize fights or misunderstandings, the brain thinks only of defending itself and activating your body to escape.
This makes you unable to think calmly, stay quiet, or speak clearly.
- But what could happen in the midst of an argument is that your defense mechanisms fail, and you no longer have that “filter” that keeps you from saying certain things.
- During this emotional storm you might let each and every emotion or thought you have loose.
- You are being completely honest, but be careful because anything you release at that point in time will be filled with negativity. That’s why it’s common to choose words that are full of anger, and that you later regret.
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While you might first experience some relief for having said what you were feeling, eventually you will realize that it wasn’t appropriate.
Stay quiet during the storm and speak in the calm
This is a tough strategy to implement, but if you stay quiet during the storm and reserve your energies for moments of mental clarity, it will always be the most appropriate response.
To do this, you can make use of the following strategies.
The defensive wall
When an argument arises and you find yourself suddenly in the awkward position of a fight or disagreement, imagine a defensive wall in your mind.
- Behind that wall you are in a palace of calm, but it is a palace that has windows where you can see and, of course, listen.
- Being in this relaxed and protected space should allow you to hear every word that the person before you is saying until later, when you can calmly analyze the situation with depth.
- While the other person is “fired up,” defending their point of view, you can position yourself in indifference, calm, and an attitude that is receptive but that does not lend importance to crying or negative emotions.
When the argument ends and a few hours or days have passed, you can choose a better time to talk to the person in question. You must make it clear that you don’t want to start a new fight or moments of tension.
- Believe it or not, speaking quietly and firmly with another person will cause them to be silent and observe you.
- Only then can you argue your position with poise and assertiveness, always demonstrating that you understand the other person’s point of view, but that you don’t share it.
- Don’t hesitate to make use of personal pronouns: “I’m sorry,” “I love you,” or “I understand you.”
- If the other person again insists on restarting the fight without understanding your point of view or focusing only on the differences between you, then it’s not worth continuing.
- It’s better to put some distance between you.
There are some fights that aren’t worth the misunderstanding and pain when one person has no desire for understanding.