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I'm [stressed, mad, scared] and I lashed out at my partner, again.

It's a reality that if you've been in a relationship (and even if you haven't) you've also likely experienced what it's like to fight with a partner.

Unfortunately, those who we're closest to, also often end up being the ones who we take things out on. Why do we do this, you ask? Well, it could be a myriad of reasons, including but not limited to

  • This is how handling conflict was modeled for us growing up

  • We never learned how to properly process our emotions

  • We lack the ability to self-soothe or don't have access to healthy coping mechanisms

  • We have an especially hard time saying no, voicing our needs, or setting boundaries

  • In the past, this is either how we were treated or how we received attention...

...and the list goes on.

So you're upset, your partner asks you a normal question, you lash out, and [although it might be alright in the moment] afterward you're flooded with regret/guilt.

Luckily, this is a cycle you can break and you've already taken the first step, which is recognizing it.

The next time you're having a conflict (or if you can sense one coming), avail yourself of some of these tips.

1) Start by availing yourself of the following acronyms:

  • H.A.L.T. Are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? If yes, deal with accordingly.

  • S.T.O.P. None of the above? Well then, Stop. Take a step back. Observe. Proceed mindfully.

2) Take a moment to self-soothe.

Ground yourself through deep breathing, a mindfulness exercise, an anchoring phrase, etc.

3) Pay attention to how you're feeling.

Recognize, name, and accept your feelings. Pause to think about why you're affected and where you might be getting triggered.

4) Put yourself in your partner's shoes.

Practice perspective-taking to understand where your partner is coming from.

  • How would I feel if I was in their position?

  • From their perspective, what would I want to happen?

  • How would I have responded if my partner behaved how I'm currently behaving?

5) Take accountability and remember you're on the same team.

Reflect on your role in the situation and focus on your mutual goals. Think about what you really want to come out of the conflict and the best way to get there.

6) Respond, don't react.

Plan what you want to say via clear, concise communication or create actionable steps.


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