Stop Killing Your Relationships
Part 2 of 3 in the Conflict Resolution blog series
So many people break up or divorce and get into a new relationship and keep making the same mistakes that caused the original break-up.
There is a syndrome called Fight or Flight Syndrome. This is a coping system in people and animals. Men tend to feel it more profoundly because of the testosterone in their systems and because nature gives them a strong “protector instinct”. What happens when you feel stressed and threatened, the body releases massive amounts of adrenaline in your body. The purpose of this adrenaline is a simple survival mechanism. The idea is that you can use the adrenaline to run away from your opponent or predator faster than they can chase you and catch you.
The other option is that you have so much adrenaline in you that you are able to successfully fight off an enemy or predator. The body is designed to be releasing and dissipating this adrenaline by either fighting or fleeing in a very short period of time. When you do neither, it creates a tremendous amount of stress in you that is not good for the body. When you internalize this stress rather than venting it through fighting or fleeing, you do a lot of damage to the body and the relationship. Many times violence can ensue especially with men and we can all agree that men should not physically beat on women.
“The contentions of a wife are like a continual dripping” (Proverbs 19:13)
Women you also have a responsibility to keep a happy and peaceful home. By verbally beating on the husband, you cause the fight or flight syndrome to turn on and gives him tremendous unresolved stress. When the argument goes on, it makes it worse for the man and he gets more and more stressed to where he can explode and hit the wife. Your children are also stressed in this way. They feel the stress of that same Fight or Flight Syndrome and they are powerless to do anything about it. Continued stress of this type can cause heart disease and heart attack.
“A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1)
Anger is a human emotion. You must control it, not use it as a weapon but express it so as to resolve the problem. Often when a person gets angry, they start yelling and raising their voice. This is simply a ploy to try and scare someone or attempt to manipulate someone. This is not an appropriate use or expression of anger. Screaming is an equal opportunity sin by both men and women. It also causes the Fight or Flight Syndrome that was previously spoken about. Invariably when one person yells, then the other person responds in kind which simply escalates the argument and gets it to the point where people are out of control.
If you are faced with a partner that yells and gets verbally abusive and won’t be calmed down and this is habitual, you have to make a change. You can’t force the person to behave appropriately. What you can do is to remove yourself form the situation. You simply go get your keys and get in the car and leave for several hours. Don’t answer your cell phone or texts from the person demanding that you come back. After several hours, you come back home and tell the person that you will talk if they are willing to talk to you without verbally abusing you and yelling at you. If they start in again, you simply leave again and stay overnight somewhere if necessary. It is not likely that you will have to do this more than 3 times and the person will realize that you are no longer going to put up with the abuse. If you don’t take a stand and make it stick, the abusive person will continue the abuse.
Guest blog by John Wilder marriage, relationship and sexual coach. Passages excerpted from his book Sex Education For Adults.