I want to start this blog post by stating that this is a quick glimpse into processing a past emotional injury or argument. These tips and resources are valuable tools to keep in mind when you are processing with your partner. However, how effective these tools are in the immediate sense will truly depend on the emotional injury, the context, and the intensity of the argument. Do not hesitate to reach out if you feel you need more support or a larger box of resources. Individual, couple, or family therapy may be needed to help you find the emotional healing you are seeking.
Before beginning any conversation that revolves around processing a past argument, you must keep in mind that the GOAL of the conversation is greater. When you have this conversation, you want to ultimately address the process that surrounded the argument and how the issue was handled without getting back into the fight. For this to happen make sure that:
You are both calm.
You do not focus on the “facts.” You must assume that each of your realities has validity. Perception is everything so facts can be subjective to each person’s perception.
Once you’ve agreed to both of those things….you’ll want to work through these five steps. Again remember, this is a brief overview, and you may want to seek the help of a counselor to dig into each step a little deeper. After each of these steps, let your partner also participate and then move on to the next step!
Step One: Share how you felt with “I” statements. Do not go into details on why you felt that way, and do not comment on your partner’s feelings. This is just you, sharing how you felt.
Step Two: Describe your “reality.” Explain how you felt but do not make comments about what you believe your partner felt. Pretend you are a reporter and describe the reality of the scene you say.
Step three: Identify your triggers by sharing experiences or memories you’ve had that might have escalated the interaction. Take some time to share stories of why these are triggers for each of you.
Step Four: Take some responsibility by acknowledging your own role in contributing to the fight or regrettable incident. Maybe admit that you have been tired or feeling frustrated or feeling overwhelmed.
Finally, Step Five: Plan together one way that each of you can make it better next time.
Hopefully these steps provide a foundation for processing past arguments and emotional injuries. Never hesitate to contact us so that we can provide more resources or help for you.