How To Stay Sane Between The Meltdowns
Meltdowns, we have all had them at one time or another where we have just had enough and let all hell break loose! Sometimes we shout, cry, break glassware, stomp up and down, go stone cold or just collapse in a heap of a temper tantrum. Personally, when things are going down the rabbit hole and you have had enough, I believe a little letting off steam is healthy. What is not, is if you are having meltdowns on a regular basis.
What exactly is a meltdown? It is when you get to that point where you have reached a limit of endurance and just drop all boundaries. If you are doing this often, you are dancing with feelings of being out of control in your life. Most people with this personality disorder fall into one of two groups—either living in chaos, bouncing from crisis to crisis, or stuck in an outdated rut of unyielding responses. All of us mostly fall somewhere in between the two extremes.
There is a methodology on “how to stay on the path between those two extremes, how to remain stable and yet flexible, coherent and yet able to embrace complexity,” offered up by the professionals who deal with this behavior on a daily basis. You can start making changes to these out of control moments by analyzing “HOW” you experience yourself and the world, rather than wondering “WHY” you experience things in a particular way. You are then better equipped to make the necessary adjustments in your life.
The first step is self-observation. Once we comprehend how we are feeling or thinking in any given situation and what our limits are, we can move on to understanding how we relate to others, enabling us to choose healthy reactions within relationships.
7 tips for staying in between meltdowns
Some of these tips offered by the experts in the field of psychology may help keep you saner in between the meltdowns and having them less often.
- Keep your brain fit through physical activity, mental exercises and stretching your comfort zones enables you to remain flexible, connected with others and able to adapt to unexpected, often stressful, changes.
- Throw your negativity out the door! Optimism is another cornerstone to a well-balanced lifestyle; a positive outlook offers health benefits, decreases stress, increases longevity and provides for more satisfaction in relationships.
- Practice being aware of what is really going on in any situation in your life. The first step towards change is the extent in which you are aware of the “problem”. Awareness means understanding that you and your partner are in a pattern of behavior that is hurtful and destructive to the relationship and looking at the underlying emotions driving the meltdown cycle.
- Stop taking everything personally. Really! Everything is not always about you! One of the most common hurdles for overcoming any unhealthy patterns of behavior in a couple relationship is not taking your partners hurtful behavior personally. Most hurtful patterns in a loving relationship arise out of unmet attachment needs. Their hurtful behavior is stemming from an unexpressed and often unacknowledged need for their own security in the couple bond.
- Slow down and take a few deep breaths before you react or respond. Often when couples get caught up in the meltdown cycle, it can be quite overwhelming and visceral. Tempers flare, yelling ensues, and feelings are hurt. In a matter of seconds, you can find yourself so caught up in your emotional experience, that it can be hard to see how the meltdown cycle is pushing you and your partner around.
- Own and honor the meltdown experience. Once you learn what the meltdown cycle is, you can learn the behaviors, thoughts and core feelings that drive the cycle. You can also come to understand your own role in how the cycle was created and maintained. Often partners feel justified in their actions even when it’s clear that those actions are hurtful to their partner or perpetuating the meltdown cycle. Be accountable for the emotional damage YOU do, regardless of what triggered it.
- Be responsive to the needs of who you are interacting with. It is hard to be responsible for our needs and actions in a relationship because it leaves us vulnerable to rejection from our partner. But it is also important to remember to be responsive to your partner’s, especially when we can see them exposing vulnerability.
Susan Z’s Verdict
If you do the work and take a long hard look at what triggers you into a meltdown with your partner, the more in control you will feel and that is exactly what a meltdown is…the total feeling of having no control at all. The more your partner sees you responding to their needs in a positive way, the more comfortable they will become asking you for what they need and the more likely that they will be more responsive when you are asking for the same.
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