Overreacting is something we’ve all done before. Someone says something, or doesn’t have the right tone of voice and we get all bent out of shape. We’ve all done it. What was the reason you got upset?
Imagine this scenario. You’re enjoying a nice time with your partner, cooking dinner together, out on a date, or just spending time together at home. The conversation was going well and everything was flowing smoothly, when suddenly – the two of you went at it and you found yourself in the middle of an argument! Your feelings had been hurt or you’d become angry. Then no one was talking, and it got really uncomfortable. The argument was over, you looked around, and saw the rubble and wondered what just happened! Everything was a blur…
Why Do We Overreact?
I think I can safely say this has happened to many of us. How many times have you become upset, hurt, angry, uncomfortable, or any other negative emotion, because of what someone said to you? When you think back, was it actually because of what they said to you that caused those negative emotions, or was it because of the way they said it?
Usually these types of misunderstandings occur because we’re not listening to what’s being said, we’re listening to our partner’s physiology; their facial expression, their tone of voice, or their body language. When this happens, it’s an indication that you’ve been triggered by a look, a tone, or a gesture.
Understanding Your Triggers
According to Psych Central, “a trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma. Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. The survivor may begin to avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks triggered the flashback.”
When we see something in our partner that reminds us of something that didn’t make us feel good, we tend to react in an unpleasant way. But by understanding that what happened then has nothing to do with what is going on in your life now, you can make a positive difference in your relationship.
When you’re aware of your triggers, you’re free to choose the emotions that are most beneficial to you, and those around you. The emotions that no longer serve you are the ones you need to release. The tips below will help you listen without overreacting, and if you feel the trigger has been activated, you’ll know how to contain your composure.
Tips to Prevent Overreacting
- Breathe deeply to regain your composure
- Acknowledge your past has nothing to do with your partner.
- Listen to the words being said.
If you have overreacted and now want to make up with your partner without causing more pain, then enjoy this free gift: The Power of Touch. Just like a trigger can cause you to overreact, the touch of another person can calm you down. Download this assignment to learn more and see if this will work for you.