Practical tools to keep your head on straight when you partner is emotionally out of control.
We are all human, let’s face it. We are all going to have freak-outs when we feel alone, pressured, frustrated or misunderstood. It is these scenarios that can bring out the worst in of all us. Some of us are more prone to freaking out than others and some of us may be with people who have the freak-out response as their status quo. Freak-outs are a desperate way to defend self-worth and stem from feeling a lack of power. To deal with partners when they freak out you have to expend conscious effort to deal with their behavior and to master, minimize or tolerate the stress that comes along with it. Dealing with someone who is over emotional can be draining.
Five Ways to Cope when Your Partner Freaks Out:
1). Remove Yourself: Anger is infectious, so it is best not add fuel to their fire. They also are not good listeners so not a good choice to try and rationalize them at this time either. If you allow your partner’s tantrum to infect you it may take hours or days for it to pass. Arguing leaves scars, so the more you say the more damage that will be done. Try not to be abrasive because it is not effective. Remember the freak out will pass but what you say to each other while arguing may leave scars forever, so do not engage.
2) Talk Slow or Stay Silent: It takes time for reactivity to settle within the body. Adrenalin is aroused for around 20 minutes so there is no way to get anything accomplished as long as adrenalin is present. In fact, people are so distorted when they are freaking out that they are only batting average, at best, on expressing what the truth really is. To cope create physical distance and give your partner space. There is no need to rush to a solution. It is best to talk slow or to just stay silent until they calm down.
3) Respect Your Self-Worth: Calmly state boundaries on what you are willing to tolerate during a freak-out and then stick to them. One of the biggest mistakes we make in relationships is we do not clearly define what we will and will not tolerate. You do not have to engage with someone who is treating you with a lack of respect. If they cannot respect your boundaries, leave the situation.
4) Be Decent: Conduct yourself with a sense of composure. The more calm you remain the less aggravated you will get. In fact, thank your freaking-out partner for sharing their feelings with you. Let them know you heard what they said and you will give it thought. This will abolish their ‘crazy’ quickly and efficiently.
5) Be Yourself: If you know your truth, do not compromise it. Be flexible enough to hear your partner and take in what they have to say, but you must stay to the truth of your feelings. You do not need to convince someone they are in the wrong. Communicate what is right for you and do it without being obnoxious. State your truth calmly and firmly. You do not have to let their emotionality pull you away from yourself.
It is very difficult to deal with someone in the midst of a freak-out but it is absolutely possible. It is all about self-knowledge and self-control. When you are in these situations, look at them as great opportunities to practice behaving in a decent and honest way. This is true power. We are all going to freak-out now and again and so are the ones we love, so expect it and do your best to practice being the highest quality you that you can be.
Little life message: Remember people only bark when they feel insecure and fearful. The tantrum is always an expression of feeling powerless.
Dr. Sherrie Campbell is an author and a licensed Psychologist with more than nineteen years of clinical training and experience. She provides practical tools to help people overcome obstacles to self-love and truly achieve an empowered life. Click here to get her free article on Five Ways to Make Love the Common Ground in Your Communication. Receive free insights from Sherrie and to be involved in her Facebook