“Infuriate me gently”: why so many conflicts in relationships are so urgently needed

 Sometimes it seems that some people are specifically "asking" for a quarrel and literally drag you into a conflict. What is behind this and why the reason may be ... in you. We deal with the psychologist Maria Dombrovan.

“Infuriate me gently”: why so many conflicts in relationships are so urgently needed

Many consider conflicts an obstacle to productive communication, and try to bypass them by any means. And some create the impression that they cannot live without disputes and that they are specifically looking for a reason to quarrel.


Of course, conflict situations do not arise because we are so unfriendly. Just there are no two people on the planet whose interests, needs and lived experiences are completely identical. Even if we are talking about the two most harmonious partners, sooner or later a discrepancy in expectations, mood, desires, feelings will come out in communication.


Conflict saves the psyche

Most often, people do not want to conflict intentionally, but from the outside it seems that they deliberately begin to unwind the dispute, provoke, fight, prove something. But when you talk to them later, they regret and admit that it was not the opponent, and in general, all this has nothing to do with the situation. Tension, fear or anxiety just accumulated , and it didn’t work out in a different way.


This may not be perceived by the person. - the psyche naturally seeks an opportunity to discharge emotionally, so it seems that a person deliberately starts a conflict.


It all starts with a trigger

Trigger is Dutch for "pull" and is an event that pulls you into an emotional experience. In ordinary life, it looks like this: your mother did not thank you for something - you were offended and indignant, your beloved did not discuss a major purchase - it became painful and anxious for the future, at the general meeting they pointed out your mistake - I wanted to burn with shame and leave the project.


The human psyche, unfortunately, does not have armor from the impact of certain events on our emotional state, and the reaction occurs instantly. We are “led” to provocations, and even the most harmless word can evoke strong feelings: pain, grief, anxiety, a feeling that the earth has left under our feet and the world has collapsed. Each person has their own triggers.


There are 9 “pain points” in total, which are universal in nature, but they can manifest themselves depending on the characteristics of the individual reaction and circumstances.


1. Embarrassment, shame, self-doubt

You are afraid to speak in front of the public, any mention of your features in public, even if it is an achievement and praise, causes discomfort.

2. Neglect

Sarcasm, jokes in front of everyone, public belittling of dignity, achievements, indication of incompetence, depreciation, denial of obvious facts, distrust.

3. Feeling we are being controlled

They indicate what to do, how to react, what to feel, make decisions for us.

4. We are used

They misled, deceived, do not comply with the agreements or undeservedly reduced the payment - the feeling that we get less than the rest.

5. Vulnerability, vulnerability

Evaluation of our actions, results, competence, we are not supported, they are ashamed of our feelings, someone repeats what they promised not to do, they give unsolicited advice at hand, they climb into the wrong area of ​​​​responsibility.

6. Interpersonal relationships

Ignoring our feelings, fear of offending another, a loved one attacks, accuses or pretends that your relationship does not mean anything, meeting with a former partner with whom the conflict is not closed.

7. Personal boundaries

They override our decision, rush us, disrespect our personal schedule, pressure us with authority or other advantages, blackmail us, deny us the right to express our opinion, do not take our “no” seriously.

8. Feeling embarrassed about what is happening

Hear statements that contradict our views and values, see how someone makes a mistake, or we ourselves make a noticeable mistake in front of others.

9. Fear of the future

They frighten us or threaten us with consequences for the decision we have made; by gestures, facial expressions and tone, we feel condemnation, discontent, impatience, reproach.

Imagine that one of the points happened to you, and you feel resentment . At such a moment, I want to blame someone for what happened and make a claim, defend myself. You clearly did not plan the scandal, and it is obvious that the other one dragged you into this against your will. But is it?

In any relationship, no matter how warm and friendly, there is always a place for emotional triggers, because in order to cause a reaction of one, someone else is always needed.

“How he infuriates me when he does this!”, “It’s impossible to talk to her ...”, “He puts pressure on my sore spot all the time on purpose!” After this, it seems that someone else is to blame, and I am a victim. But if you don't know how a trigger works, you can easily fall for its hook.

Why does it trigger me

We all have lived experience. It was different - pleasant and not very good, but more negative, because most often it remains unlived to the end, unprocessed, unclosed, unresolved, like an open wound. Some event occurs that reminds you of an unhealed place and raises the feelings that you lived in the past, as if anew.

This is the trigger. And it really is provoked by another person, but the reaction depends only on us and is based on our own unresolved problems from the past. The trap is that the experience takes place between two people, and it is always one person who suffers.

Moreover, because of his own past decisions, or rather, because he did not solve the problem. I didn’t understand that it existed at all, or there was no way to solve it, it was very painful and tension accumulated. And in any convenient, or rather, inconvenient case, the trigger will raise it to the surface until these experiences and feelings are completely dealt with.

And since this is often an unconscious and instantaneous reaction, it is very easy to ignite a conflict because of it . And now you have already quarreled, and then it turns out that the reason for the quarrel was generally different and not even related to the situation.

Is it possible to deal with triggers and stop conflicting

It happens that relationships improve on their own, but more often they only worsen, especially if there is no custom in the relationship to talk and make a decision that suits both parties.

If only one person depended on getting rid of the trigger, then it would be his own business. But all involved parties are interested in getting out of the conflict, and it can be difficult to figure it out because of the confusion of roles and the feelings that have arisen.

There are several solutions to help you deal with the trigger and start managing conflicts in your partnership:

1. Take a break and observe the state

The trigger causes a rush of blood to certain areas of the brain that are responsible for instinctive and reflex behavior. A person experiences severe anxiety, gives in to impulses: to shout back, to fall into a stupor, to leave the conversation.

Physically, at this moment, a person is not able to think rationally, regulate his emotional state, and control himself. Therefore, the best solution is to ask the partner to stop the discussion and take a break. Then you simply observe your feelings and sensations in the body, note them.

2. Identify emotions and become aware of the connection to the unclosed past

Even if you feel offended and objectively believe that there is a guilty person, then feelings and emotions still remain yours. Only you can understand what has risen inside you now. What happened? What did I feel? When else have I experienced the same emotions?

Thus, an event that hurts may indicate an unclosed issue from the past that brings discomfort and loss of self-control. This is not only a good chance to sort things out and not fall for the trigger anymore, but also to stop blaming your partner, which will reduce the number of unconstructive conflicts.

3. Get professional help

Engaging alone in a conversation with yourself is useless. The psyche will always find a way to protect a sore spot - it will justify feelings and reactions, it will find a rational explanation why this happens and why nothing needs to be changed.

The best option is to seek help from a psychologist in individual work. The specialist is trained in aspects of mediation and will help to get out of the conflict through a constructive dialogue, radically change the perception of the trigger, stop reacting compulsively, see and identify the area that requires special attention of partners.

The next time the trigger event occurs, you will know how to respond correctly, where to direct your energy to make a decision and act as independent, mature people.

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