#GhostMode: Do You Shut Down After A Fight? Advice To Save Your Marriage
By Christine Wilke,Ed.S,LMFT, For YourTango
Being a Marriage and Family Therapist and being married can be a double-edged sword. You have access to cutting edge tools and techniques, so you are expected to always use them faithfully. Well, things don’t always run as smoothly as they should, especially in situations like the one that happened last night…
My husband and I were having a “discussion” about a heated issue, and I felt myself becoming really angry with him. Did I immediately use one of the techniques I teach in my workshop? Uhh, no. All I could think of were the many reasons why I had the right to be angry. I felt totally justified. To top it off, when we were “discussing” the situation, I heard myself uttering those dreaded words “always” and “never.” That fight or flight response was in full gear. I was stuck in my immediate reaction and struck by the realization that, in that very moment, I was doing none of the things I teach my clients to do—things I know really work.
This was a very humbling experience, of course, and it was yet another reminder of how very challenging it can be to have a great marriage. I suddenly felt an even more profound admiration and respect for my clients as they diligently work to make their marriages thrive.
My “Aha!” moment came when I realized that I have a choice. I don’t have to stumble down that rocky road of anger and unhappiness, AND I have a reservoir of the tools I teach my clients that I can use right here and right now. “The point of power is always in the present moment.”—that’s what I teach in my workshop. I know that the tools I give my clients to use really work. The challenging part is putting them to work when it matters the most, like when your emotions are running high and it’s hard to think clearly. I stepped back from the situation because I realized that what I was doing wasn’t getting me what I wanted. Then I gave myself that all-important time out. This respite gave me the opportunity to settle my mind and think more clearly about the situation, thus creating that crucial pause between the situation and my reaction to it. This is the fertile ground from which choice emerges.
Read more about fighting fair at YourTango.com