We all know that uncomfortable few minutes after a heated discussion. The argument’s energy is hanging in the air, and you are both processing what was said. If your trauma response has been activated, you might be calming your nervous system down and bringing it out of hyperarousal or hypoarousal.
If you were in hyperarousal, you might still be feeling angry, anxious, irritable and shameful. If you were in hypoarousal, you might still be feeling numb, like you are outside of your body, watching everything from somewhere else in the room.
If you are in either of these states, you need to take a moment to care for yourself and come back into your window of tolerance (Dr. Dan Siegel). You will know you have arrived because your heart will stop racing, the anxious thoughts will quieten down if you were in hyperarousal. And if you were in hypoarousal, you will have returned to your body; you will be able to feel yourself again and be able to think rationally.
Part of coming back into your window of tolerance might be to repair with your partner. You might say, “I’m feeling really activated/flooded and unsafe right now. I would really like some reassurance / a hug / for you to hold my hand if that would be okay”.
How couples repair after an argument has a significant impact on the quality of the relationship. You could read through this list as a couple and discuss what each of you might like after a conflict.
What other repairs work for you as a couple, or is this something you struggle with?
Love on your healing journey, Jen