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Are you reasonable when you’re upset? Most of us find that we can be fair and reasonable just about any other time EXCEPT when we are angry, hurt, or frustrated. At that point, our biochemistry puts us into survival mode where all we can think about is fighting or fleeing.
Have you ever been upset and said to someone, “I better stop before I say something I don’t mean?” We instinctively know that we get foolish when we get angry. So why do we choose to have so many conversations about important things when one or more of the other parties are drunk on emotion?
As a foster parent, Candace lived in fear that she would one day lose her cool and say something unkind to one of her foster kids. Thankfully, she worked on this skill often.
Some people find that they have better luck deferring intense conversations when they practice their way out in advance. If, before the confrontation, we repeat in our minds (or out loud if nobody’s watching): “I have better discussions when everybody is calm. I’ll be happy to discuss this later. Thanks.”
Of course, it’s wise to choose words that best suit our personality and that flow with maximum ease and sincerity. The key is to know our “escape route” in advance and using it if either party gets too upset to use the “smart” part (cortex) of their brains.
Candace became fond of “Respect you too much to fight with you” when her drama-addicted foster daughter tried to engage her in arguments. Even with “doozies” like “I hate it here!” and “You’re mean!” after about three attempts, the frustrated teenager would usually march away in a huff, eager to find somebody else to argue with.
Later, when both were calm and doing their best thinking, apologies, forgiveness, and laughter flowed.
It is amazing how much smarter other people can get with the passage of time. Some even find that their OWN parents get smarter if enough years pass.
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Jedd Hafer

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