I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s books, Eat Pray Love was my book of choice through an incredibly tough year. Lately I’ve been reading Committed, where she tells the story of how she faced her upcoming marriage and all the things that come with it.
In one chapter she talks about an argument she has with her fiancé and in it she takes about the scenario of ‘flooding’. I had never heard of it, but as soon as she explained, I couldn’t believe how much I related.
In the chapter she explains ‘flooding’ as being ‘the point at which you get so tired or frustrated that your mind becomes deluged (and deluded) by anger. Gilbert states that a ‘sure fire indication that flooding is imminent is when you start using the words “always” or “never” in your argument’. The idea is supported by relationship psychologist Dr. John Gottman.
Its all about those times when an argument reaches fever pitch and suddenly your emotional side takes over, blocking out any logic and therefore stopping you saying anything constructive or productive.
After reading this, I felt kind of comforted to know that it wasn’t just me. I often feel myself ‘flooding’ an argument but have never really none what it is or why, just often left the argument wondering how it hopped from one issue to a million others.
Its a difficult thing to avoid and after reading more into it, it’s clear it happens to lots of us very often, we just might not know the word for it!
Once ‘flooding’ happens it can be hard to get back down to earth and even remember what the argument was about in the first place! So it’s really important to learn to take a time out and to recognise what’s happening to you. Take time away from the argument until you can see the more rational side once more.
I’m working on recognising the signs as soon as I start to do it, but sometimes I still get swept away with it, much to the earache of Himself. If I feel myself suddenly switching the argument around to things from months ago, or throwing around the phrases ‘you always’ or ‘you never’ then I try to bring myself straight back down.
But the main thing is about recognising it. Maybe you’re reading this and realising that actually this happens to you too! There’s a really interested blog which you can find here which will give you a lot more detail about it as well as some handy tips to try to bring you back down to earth. Arguing is bad enough but you don’t need to be adding new things in or making more problems.
Let me know if experience the same thing and what you do to handle it, you never know, your tips might help someone else.
*picture from pinterest*