Couples argue sometimes. Fact. But learning to recognise some signals your body is throwing out can change everything.
This is something I see a lot – it happens with so many couples. But it can be avoided – it’s when a man becomes defensive in a discussion with his partner. If that defensiveness leads to him getting angry then he often enters that fight, flight or freeze response. His brain is shutting down, he’s not engaging with her anymore.
All the time this is happening his body is giving out signals that if he just listens to, he can change the outcome of the argument.
Most men are unaware of this but his body will be sending out signals that he is getting angry. I had one client who said his hands would get sweaty, some people’s nostrils flair or the hair on the back of their head stands up.
What you may try to do is ignore it but you don’t recognise that your body is telling you you’re getting angry.
So, you are talking with your partner and feel yourself getting annoyed with them pay attention to what your body is saying. Then you’ll know when you’re feeling angry and when it’s time to go and cool down.
A lot of people have trouble walking away because the other part of the equation is the partner saying, ‘why are you walking away from me?’ So, she will want to pursue.
But if he firstly says ‘I can feel myself getting angry here. I need to calm down’ he knows he needs to walk away, take a deep breath and cool down.
Before all of this, you need to have an agreement with your partner that says ‘when I am getting angry I’m going to walk away and I’m going to come back later so we can engage.’
It’s very effective
So if you’re sitting with your partner and having a coffee you can say, ‘you know if I do get crazy, because I know it’s upsetting for you, I’m going to tell you that I can feel my body getting ahead and I’m going to move away. And we can revisit it when I’ve calmed down’.
The key is paying attention to what your body is telling you when you are starting to get angry.
Dan Siegel, author of Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, talks about this. Remember Maxwell Smart? And all those doors closing? It’s like all the departments in our brain closing in this situation – you stop to empathise, you’re not attuned with each other, you stop identifying who they are… all these things shut down in our brain and we are unable to talk and we know we’ll get angry.
It happens to all of us.
But the most important thing to remember is just pay attention to your body and know when to walk away.