Life Work Week 2
Recall a time when you lost your emotional balance with a partner. A time when you had a conflict, argument or felt upset with your partner. See if you can identify the following:
1. What triggered you to lose your emotional balance? What was the trigger that plugged you in emotionally? In other words, what seemed to suddenly change your sense of safety? What suddenly created a negative shift in your sense of connection? Be as specific as you can. What was the specific trigger: words, actions, a decision, a gesture, a look? What specifically did your partner do that caused you to become emotionally unbalanced?
INSIGHT: When that particular trigger happens, you did not feel safely connected with your partner.
2. In response to the disconnection or lack of safety, how did you react? Think in terms of verbs: what were your specific actions? What did you actually do? Did you: Criticize, yell, blame, attack, push, poke, freak out, debate, argue, leave, go silent.....
INSIGHT: You react in this way to try and get a different response from your partner. You react in this way to reconnect, to try to get back to feeling safe and comfortable..
3. What is the best word that describes your actual emotional experience underneath those surface actions/verbs? (Your response from 2). What was your more vulnerable feeling underneath the surface reaction?
INSIGHT: When you feel (insert answer from 3) you protest by: Insert answer from 2.
4. The key emotion driving the reactive cycle for you is insert answer from 3. Yet what do you think your partner saw?
Did he or she see your deeper and actual feeling? (answer 3).
5. What attachment fear was triggered?
I am being rejected
I am being left/betrayed
I am not valued
I don’t matter
My feelings don’t matter
I am being abandoned, left alone
I am being judged as unacceptable or inadequate or too much.
I am being dismissed
I am alone
I am excluded
I am shut out
Repeat this exercise for two other times when you experience a relational upset or conflict. We will discuss your insights in our next session.