think how Disagreements with your partner usually go away. If they often make you feel defensive, talk in circles, say things that make you feel sorry or put off, you may be dealing with an emotional flood.
Flooding “occurs when the nervous system detects a threat to defenses and signals the adrenal glands to release stress-related hormones, adrenaline and cortisol,” says Chicago physician Casey Tanner, of the queer-affirming practice The Expansive Group. The founder told HuffPost. This surge of hormones activates the body’s fight-or-flight response, leaving you feeling emotionally flooded.
“While early humans experienced more physical threats, such as predators or weather conditions, today the threats to safety are much more emotional than physical,” Tanner, who uses the pronouns he and they, said.
Tanner explained that a disagreement with your partner that doesn’t pose a risk to your physical safety can still be perceived as an emotional threat and trigger the same flood response.
“Feeling rejected, abandoned, criticized or unsupported are all threats to emotional and relational security, especially if these experiences bring up past trauma,” he said.
In flooding, your heart rate exceeds 100 beats per minute. You may start to sweat, your face may turn red, your hands may tremble, or your chest may feel tight. You find yourself unable to listen effectively or think clearly.
However, emotional flooding doesn’t always look the same from the outside. Some slip into “battle mode,” passing out verbally and taking fewer blows. Others go into “flight mode,” shut up or retreat, and they may find a way out of the conversation.
When you’re in a flood, the body is devoting most of its energy to protecting you, so less energy is devoted to anything that isn’t related to existence — like rational thought, Tanner said.
“This is why people who are experiencing emotional flooding may feel like they can’t think clearly or are more likely to make impulsive decisions,” she said.
Why emotional flooding is bad for relationships
When your nervous system is in turmoil, your ability to listen, process information accurately, and be kind is compromised. So “we may say hurtful things out of anger, fail to empathize or take accountability, and deeply hurt the people we care about,” Tanner said.
When you’re in this state, you’re not going to a place of understanding and resolution, Seattle therapist Zach Brittle told HuffPost. When this conflict pattern becomes deeply entrenched, it thwarts problem-solving, creates distance between partners and can even lead to feelings of hopelessness about the relationship.
“If I know what the pattern is going to do, I’m going to avoid conflict, I’m going to go around you or I’m going to the end where I automatically lead immediately,” Brittle said. Said, host podcast “Marriage Therapy Radio.” “If I already knew how this was going to end, I wouldn’t have as much patience to be with you in this.”
how to deal with emotional flooding
Flooding during a fight doesn’t mean you’re a bad partner or that there’s something wrong with you.
“We can think of it as an adaptive response to danger,” Tanner said, “and work with To regulate our bodies back into a ‘safe zone,’ where rational thought is more accessible.”
That said, this is something that needs to be addressed for the sake of the relationship. Here’s what you can do about it:
Learn to recognize how a flood feels you,
It varies from person to person, so when you start to feel overwhelmed, you want to pay attention to the cues your body is giving you.
“What are your personal signs that you’re feeling emotionally flooded?” Tanner said. “Maybe you notice sweat stains on your shirt or start breathing more quickly.”
stay away from conversation least 20 minutes – but not more than 24 hours.
Brittle said it takes at least that long for your body to reset once the stress hormones rise. In the meantime take a break and do something soothing Not there Reinventing the logic in your head.
“If you go for a walk for 20 minutes and you think about all the great things you’re going to say when you come back to help resolve the argument, you’re going to flood really fast.” Coming back,” Brittle said. “But if you go for a walk and listen to a podcast about weather patterns in South Africa and then come back and go, ‘Hey, what were we talking about? Are you still upset? Can we go ahead with this?’ Then you are more likely to be able to do so calmly and calmly.”
“People who are experiencing emotional flooding may feel like they can’t think clearly.”
– Casey Tanner, Physician
Some people may need more than 20 minutes to reset, and that’s okay. But don’t allow more than 24 hours before resuming the conversation. To make sure your partner doesn’t feel abandoned, make sure you agree on a time to check in in advance.
Regulate your nervous system.
Tanner said to start by prioritizing taking a few deep breaths, making your breaths longer than your inhales.
Then try meditating, hugging your pet, taking a bath, going for a walk, or doing some jumping jacks.
“You’re the expert in what you want, and sometimes it takes a little trial and error to find what works for you,” Tanner said.
Think about why you responded to the protest this way,
Tanner recommends asking yourself: Was the situation as dangerous as it really was? Or did it remind you of an incident in your past that was really dangerous?
“Remember, a perceived threat is not always a real threat, and distinguishing between the two can help you understand the way your body reacted,” he said.
If past traumas are contributing to your emotional flooding, reach out to a trauma-informed therapist who can support you and help you find soothing strategies when you’re in this state, suggests Tanner.
Remember that repair is more important than resolution.
Most relationship problems are not easily fixed. Solve resolvable people, Brittle said, who instill care and compassion around issues. Keep in mind that the two of you are a team, trying to break bad patterns together.
“I always tell my customers: Repair is more important than resolution,” he said. “It’s more important for both of us to feel connected and still don’t know what to do with this problem than to beat each other up trying to figure out what to do with this problem.,