#1 Key to Fixing A Shit Fight
What does it take to go from screaming rage (or silent resentment) to loving hugs? Sometimes it seems like the most difficult journey to find the courage to really connect and open myself up to my partner. Sometimes I WANT to fight and stay stuck and in pain. Yet the pain of being in disagreement with him is the worst. Have you ever experienced this?
I feel like I often choose the more difficult (aka interesting) path, and as such within 2 months of dating eachother Max and I decided to start doing business together. On top of traveling the world. On top of him figuring out how to be a parent to a (sometimes mouthy) 5 year old. On top of being pretty darn broke, and dealing with my sometimes pretty emotionally broken self (aka I used to be an abusive relationship and forget people can be nice when they love eachother)
So.. with all of that together.. There are at least 6 different kinds of relationships we are in together (work, parenting, travel, love relationship, lovers, friends). There are a lot of different points where things can get derailed. Not making love in the morning can throw off our whole work day, and we have moments of chaos and pain fairly often (on days like today it seems like more often than not.. which my rational brain says isn’t actually true). I’m also more fulfilled an happy than I have been in years. It’s a delicate balance every day.
Today I came upstairs with an offering of food an hour or so after we’d argued on the balcony about something work related. I thought only to bring a peace offering, but apparently it was actually only to continue the argument. An hour later, I realized that we were getting nowhere, my heart was closed, and it wanted to stay that way. There was probably not going to be a resolution to this moment, and I shared it verbally with him. I had completely forgotten that it’s in our relationship contract to “never go to bed angry”, and he reminds me. I’m going to HAVE to resolve this before bed. Shit.
“I don’t want to open with you, I want to stay angry.” I almost spit the words at him. Amazingly, this gives me space to open. “Tell me how you really feel” he says.. “I’m so mad, I want to F*ing drop kick you and run away” Comes out of my mouth. (I’m such a lady). “You have permission to hit me and run away.” He says. This may seem like a strange thing to say, but it’s one of our ways of loving eachother. Not that I ever ACTUALLY do it!!!! But the permission to, seems to calm me down, and realize I’m freaking out.
In a previous moment, someone guided us to find out what we felt we needed to “fix it” when we’re triggered, what we MOST want to do to make the problem of a massively triggered heart and fight/flight response clear it’self out. For me that looks like a savage kick to the head, and bolting. For him it looks like a hug and being told “it’s okay”. MASSIVELY different needs for the resolution of our stress from a moment like the one above.
I recognized years ago that the violence of my heart is too much for my action to match it. My rational mind gently tethers “raging Elena”, my feminine emotions far to strong to let them move my fists to action. Cities would have been decimated, and men torn to shreds if I truly let the Kali inside of me out. But the permission, the permission to hit and run gives me space to realize he does care about me, and to say “I’ll be back in 5 minutes” and run downstairs (without punching anyone) and bawl in the bed for a bit. I realize I love myself enough to give myself this moment of expression, which is what I really need.
I come back, slightly better, but atleast I’ve broken the seal. I find that once I start crying in any argument it usually gets resolved shortly, because……. (THE ENERGY STARTS MOVING)……
We talk and I cry on my own. (Don’t touch me!). I realize there are parts of me which DO NOT want to resolve this.. want to stay angry and stay justified in their fearful actions. We talk more openly and I cry, but lean forwards this time.. As my forhead touches the cold tile his hands reach out and rest on my head, softly stroking my hair.. I’m releived to feel that I don’t pull back. I am now more open, maybe I will be open to resolution. I can feel the desire brew within me. We talk more, and I can feel that the resolution is near. My voice finds the deep truth of this disagreement, why I have been pushing away from him. “I don’t feel like I deserve to be loved by someone who is as kind to me as you are. I don’t deserve this kind of love.” He holds my gaze and I can finally look back at him after avoiding his eyes all day. The compassion is obvious, and I keep crying, I can see the spot on the tile where my tears have made funny shapes when my hair brushed it. I try not to sit on them as we move closer, and I lean into him as I cry. Our hearts both soothed by eachother, and the feeling that we are in harmony again. The discomfort and disagreement of the day has transformed and transmuted.
As I lean into him I feel held and loved. I realize that through this moment (yet again) I have been given the opportunity to face the wounds of my past, to open my heart, (to him, and to myself) and to love myself even deeper than before. Not only that, but navigating each of these moments (and we know this deeply though we forget in the moment often) brings us closer and more in love with each other than we’ve ever been. The challenge IS the food of our relationship, and the catalyst for our growth.
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