One of the three necessities for a healthy relationship is emotional regulation. When one is being triggered into an escalated state of fight, flight, freeze or fix, one is not capable of being relational. In fact, when one’s amygdala has taken over due to a perceived or real threat, one is anti-relational. It is all – and only – about personal survival.
During this phase, it is best to give yourself and your partner time to cool down or de-escalate. Because if either or both of you stay engaged, it will get ugly. And relational connection erodes with chronic and unchecked injuries.
Do you know when you are flooded or escalated?
- Heart speeds up to more than 100 BPM;
- Adrenaline starts to pump;
- Unable to focus on the issue;
- Speech becomes pressured and volume increases;
- Non-responsive to your partner’s questions or commentary;
- Tunnel-vision and/or tunnel-hearing;
- Breathing becomes rapid and shallow;
- Either/Or thinking;
- Muscles tense or tighten;
- Feeling hot, flushed, dry mouth, shaky or sweaty.
Study yourself and study your partner.
The more one can know when you and your partner are getting triggered, the better you can protect your beautiful, co-created relational space. It might feel “good” to react, act out or rant, but once your adult functioning self is back in the driver’s seat, you will regret your recklessness. Emotional regulation protects your intimate investment for the long haul.