It can be challenging to keep our emotions in check, especially when they are running high out of frustration. The heightened emotional energy can feel intensely overwhelming, making it hard to think logically in the best interest of your relationship or romantic partner.
It's very important to learn how to manage our emotions, especially if we want to have a meaningful, loving relationship full of compassion and respect. By simply regulating our emotional state, we can prevent a microscopic problem from getting out of hand and damaging the relationship altogether.
While emotions aren’t facts, they typically come from one’s belief system and can be perceived by your partner as one-sided. So while our emotions may be very real in the moment, they will not be necessarily understood or received well by a partner if they lack a shared experience, meaning, or core value.
There are a few things we can do to help ourselves regulate our emotions. This will allow you to remain calm and collected during times of distress so you can articulate what is upsetting you. The more you can logically express your emotions and needs, the better chance you have of your partner hearing you out.
1. HavIng Awareness Of Triggers
One of the most important things you can do for your emotional health is to become aware of your triggers. A trigger is anything—a person, place, thing, or situation—that sets off a negative emotional response. This trigger has usually evolved from past childhood experiences or past relationship wounds that are currently playing out repeatedly because they haven’t been healed. Triggers that are left unhealed can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies of a false expectation that gets displaced onto the connection until it becomes true. This is a form of self-sabotage and can be unconscious.
For some people, triggers can be relatively harmless, like a certain song that reminds them of a break-up. For others, triggers can be more serious, like being around large crowds of people if they have anxiety. Or, if you had a partner betray your trust in the past, it can make it hard for you to trust your partner today. The key to managing triggers is to identify them and then develop a plan for how to deal with them when they occur.
2. Managing Triggers
Everyone experiences emotions, but for some people, emotions can be very overwhelming. When emotions become too strong, they can be triggersome for you relationship. For someone who may live with anxiety or post-traumatic stress, triggers can cause feelings of panic, fear, or helplessness. While it is not always possible to avoid triggers altogether, there are some things you can do to manage them and live a fulfilling life.
By learning to identify your triggers and developing coping strategies, you can reduce the power that they have over you. Once you know what sets off your emotions, you can begin to plan ahead. If you know you will be in a situation where you might experience exposure to a trigger, take some time to think about how you will cope.
It may help to practice deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or journaling for five minutes a day. These techniques can help to calm your emotions and give you a sense of control. If you find yourself in a situation where you are feeling paralyzed by emotions, it is important to remember that you can get through it. Take some deep breaths and focus on the present moment, not the past or a futuristic outcome. We only have control over what is right in front of us.
3. Knowing Your Values
Knowing your values is an essential part of living a fulfilling life. Not only do your values help you make important decisions as you navigate through different situations, but they can also help you better understand your emotions and triggers to various experiences of events. Your values meet your emotional needs on a deeper level so you can find alignment and inner peace.
Whether it's communication, trust, loyalty, growth mindset, or family, knowing your values can help you get your emotional needs met effectively. By staying true to these values, you can live each day knowing that you are living in accordance with what matters most deeply to you. If we don’t live with integrity to our values, it can make it challenging to ask a partner to meet us according to our values.
When a trigger pops up having the ability to connect it to one of your values, an emotional need, can allow you to logically express to a partner what you feel is missing at that moment. For example, if your partner tends to shut down when you’re asking for accountability, then ignoring you may trigger a deeper rejection wound from the past. Letting your partner know that you value communication and would like to better understand their perspective of situation, while also expressing yours, and help reduce the occurrence of stonewalling. However, if you find yourself lashing out at your partner when they trigger you, then tends to only make the conflict worse.
4. Following The 3Cs Of Communication
The 3Cs of communication allow you to express yourself constructively in order to get your needs my by a partner.
Calm - Keeping a calm tone of voice can let your partner physically hear what you’re saying. If you find yourself raising your voice or yelling, this tends to make people tune out. Calmness is also a sign of confidence, whereas screaming is a sign of insecurity.
Concise - Being brief and to the point makes it easier to be heard and understood by a partner. The less emotional we are when trying to resolve the problem, the quicker it can be resolved and a solution put into place. Long-winded rants and text messages tend to turn someone off and it goes in one ear and out the other.
Constructive - Approaching the problem with positivity and compassion can allow for each partner to find a win-win outcome. If the problem is approached with heightened emotion or negativity, this most likely won’t result in an outcome you desire.
5. Setting Boundaries
When it comes to managing emotions, setting boundaries is the simplest way to prevent triggers from happening again. Understanding our emotions is key to being able to set healthy boundaries and respond in healthy ways when faced with emotional triggers. By practicing self-awareness, emotional regulation, seeking external support when necessary, and making conscious choices about how we respond to emotions, we can become better equipped to manage our emotions in a way that is authentic to who we are.
Boundaries are set using your value system so your partner can logically understand your emotions and know how to meet your needs. Healthy boundaries are part of a respectful relationship and whether you’ve been dating for a few months or married for over twenty years, they are essential to success.
If you or your partner are in a continuous cycle of triggering each other, let’s chat! It’s time to rescue your relationship before it’s too late.