What is your drama set point?
Most of you know that I just love Seth Godin. What he teaches about business is so true in the business of marriage as well.
Today, I was thinking about drama set points. We all have a set point for drama…you know, a threshold of how much we can take, how far we can push, how far we let ourselves be pushed.
I sat with a client yesterday who shared a bit about how it feels to go past this set point and enter the unchartered region of, “Holy shit did I really say/do that!?”And the post-drama agony of feeling the tremendous hurt, guilt, fear, and pain of having said too much, done too much, or broken some unspoken agreements around what is acceptable in arguing with our partner.
It is healthy and right for couples to talk about their drama set points. It is useful to articulate how the arguments will go…I know this sounds odd but think about it. You know that you will fight, argue, disagree and generally lose your mind periodically (or regularly) in your relationship. Why not determine the rules of engagement upfront to help create some safety and stability in these places of serious crazy.
Here are five questions to talk about with your partner to get the conversation going:
1) What are acceptable ways of losing your stuff? Name calling? Swearing? Yelling? Storming off? Throwing things? Tantruming?
2) Are threats acceptable? Threatening divorce? Moving out? Finding another mate?
3) Is shutting down acceptable? Walling off? Walking away? Slamming a door?
4) Do you WANT to try and stay connected in an argument? If so, what might this look like? Eye contact? Holding hands? Breathing with one another? Sitting on the sofa together?
5) What is usually going on when you argue? Is someone not feeling heard? Is someone hurt or feeling rejected? Do you have the same arguments over and over again? If so, have you not addressed the root issue related to the argument?
Bonus question #6) How are these tactics serving you? And if they are not, why do you continue to use them?
Some of you might be saying to yourself, “Of course name calling is not acceptable but when I get angry, I am not THINKING of what is the right thing to do! I just yell!”
It is much easier be unconscious with your partner when you are arguing. By bringing some consciousness to these aspects of your relationships and lives, they begin to transform.
Need some more support in sorting out your rules of engagement? Call me now at 720.457.3342 or schedule a free consultation online by clicking the red button. Today is always a great day to improve your relationships!
Jenny Glick, MA, MSC, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of the Counseling Center of Cherry Creek. Her job is to help transform your relationships. Why not transform today?