The first step in taking a time out from a discussion is to recognize your need. For me this awareness begins early with frustration. Often the frustration is a result of feeling misunderstood, but also I may feel that my partner is being stubborn, or not wanting to cooperate. Whatever the reason for the feelings, if left unattended, frustration will grow into anger. Early intervention is important!
When I begin to feel frustrated I acknowledge the emotion and internally tell myself that I need to take time away from the discussion. Beth and I have come up with a phrase that alerts the other: “I don’t want to fight with you!” When I say this phrase to Beth I’m telling her that I’m feeling frustrated and need to stop the discussion for a while. We make this agreement up front, so that when emotion arises we have a safe path to take.
I’ll present the next step in taking a time out in tomorrow’s post.
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