What's the best way not to fight the emotional fire with emotional fire?
Last Updated: 04/17/2018 at 11:58am
Claudette Pretorius, MA Counselling Psychology
Licensed Professional Counselor
I know how overwhelming it can feel when you're having a tough time. I offer clients a space that is non-judgemental and empathetic whilst navigating these times together.
Top Rated Answers
Take a deep breath and take a step away from the situation for a moment if you're starting to feel angry. Sit down, close your eyes, and just focus on breathing. Notice the way your chest rises and fall with every breath. Sit like that for a few minutes until the anger fades. Now, try to put yourself in their shoes, feel how they feel. Seek to understand, not judge. Empathy can work wonders. If you feel yourself getting angry again, then repeat the earlier steps.
From my experience, when emotions are running high between two or more people, these emotions can fuel the rest, and things can quickly get out of hand. My suggestion is to create some distance if possible, i.e. take a break from the situation and readdress it at a later time when emotions have cooled down a bit. During this time away, both parties can allow their emotions to cool and recollect their thoughts. Ideally, you should then try to reanalyze the situation for such things as what your concerns are, what the other people's concerns are, and try to see things from their perspectives as well. You can also try to recollect your thoughts by writing them down, so they don't continue swirling around in your head. Once everyone feels ready, try to re-approach the situation. Avoid accusatory language, e.g. "You always do this", "You never do that", name-calling, bringing up the past, etc. Be articulate, stick to the facts, soften up your language, e.g. "Sometimes I feel you..."
Because when you are in a highly emotional situation with anxiety especially, your brain goes into fight or flight mode and you will do anything to make the emotional fire stop. The first step is realizing that this is happening. The second step is using strategies to help calm and self-soothe yourself. Next, I would suggest reflecting on what happened and how you handled it and last practice self-care. Take care of yourself as you would a good friend. Hopefully, all of these things will help you get some control over you emotional fires. You can also try writing down your feelings in a journal if you think this might help.
By taking a deep breath, staying calm, confident, and in control. Be objective, not subjective, about how you feel. Don't use profanity and don't shout. If you're very collected, people are more likely to realize you're the one who's in control and not going off the rails. If someone's completely refusing to listen, then there's no reasoning with them. Trying to argue with only light the fire even further. In these situations, it's best to walk away until later.
This is what we are trying to do here on 7 Cups I believe. Active listening, patience, mindfully observe what the other person is saying are all keys to improve your way to solve the emotional fight. It all comes down to how much you are willing to let go of your ego and start to care for the greater good.
Fighting fire with fire is just one way of comprehending emotional hurt. It's not the best way to deal with it because you are just harming someone when you specifically are dreading the fact you are being hurt yourself. Look after you always. So shift your thought patterns into thinking about "how I can be at my happiest in this situation". You'll be surprised, you won't think revenge is the best way!
Realising, that it will not provide anything positive for you, or for the other part. Staying calm, and analysing, to come up with a proper and calm answer, will yield great results.
Take a step back from the situation and try and look at it from their perspective. Be respectful to whatever they need at that current time, and try to understand before reacting.
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