The tension. The silence. The door-slamming and the withdrawing to opposite sides of the house. The disdainful looks and the deep, impatient sighs.
You hate the atmosphere after you and your partner have a fight.
You miss your partner and want things to get back to normal. But you’re hurting and you want them to acknowledge your feelings. You also may not want to “give in” and have to apologize. If anything, your partner is the one who should apologize.
So you stonewall. Pout. Avoid eye contact.
Each time you think about starting a conversation, all you want to do is reiterate your side of things, to make him or her understand why they’re wrong and why you have a right to be upset. But you’ve said everything you needed to say already, and now you’re just raw and tired.
So you wait for your partner to reach out, but they are probably doing the same thing, so nothing changes.
The hours and days after a fight can be EXCRUCIATING. You can barely concentrate on anything else except how to stop the pain you’re experiencing in your heart, mind, and body.
Should you say something? What should you say? What can you do without admitting blame? Anything?
If you’re not sure how to proceed in situations like this, keep reading, because in this article I’m going to reveal what to do in this all-too-common situation, so you can get back to the sweet, tender, loving place you really want to be with your beloved.
If you hate the way you feel after a fight, you’re certainly not alone.
Withdrawing and stonewalling are very common responses to a conflict and they can bring up a lot of deep-rooted anxiety in both you and your partner. That’s because when you feel rejected by your partner, it is like a little death.
On a subconscious level, rejection or withdrawal can remind you of how your parent or caregiver abandoned you when you were a child, maybe when they couldn’t or wouldn’t be there for you when you needed them, or when they literally were absent from the household.
To a child, that perceived rejection or abandonment feels like a threat to their survival, because a child knows he or she literally can’t survive without that parent.
That’s how, later in life, being ignored or rejected can feel like you’re DYING.
When your partner rejects you by refusing to talk to you, or by walking away from you (or even leaving the house after a fight), you feel that sting of abandonment rise up from somewhere deep within yourself.
It feels almost irrational, this desperate pain that arises.
But to your inner child, it’s completely rational. Your inner child believes that your very survival is at stake, unless you can reconcile this conflict with your partner and get their love back.
Later in this article, I’m going to tell you how to soothe that abandoned inner child, and connect with your loving adult, so you no longer have to feel quite so affected by conflict with your partner.Learn More Now
But before that, let me give you the 2 words that will help you and your partner to reconnect after a fight, so you can get back to that loving, warm, intimate place again, quickly.
You’ve had a misunderstanding. Or maybe that’s an understatement. Your partner did something very hurtful and you’re livid. They blame you and you blame them and you’re at a standoff.
Before you do anything, you may want to take some time to cool down after bickering and yelling. Then, when you’re ready, consider these two words as your mantra to ease the tension and dissolve the bad feelings:
Let go of getting your partner to apologize for his or her end of the conflict.
They may apologize later, or they may not. It doesn’t matter, because YOU have to take responsibility for your feelings, not demand they take responsibility for yours.
Let go of processing WHY you think you had the fight, especially if your “why” blames your partner.
Until the two of you are open to learning with yourselves and with each other, your processing needs to be about yourself rather than about your partner.
Let go of the importance of the issue. How many times have you looked back at the stuff you were bickering about and realized how petty it was? It wasn’t worth ruining your day over who forgot to do what or who misunderstood what.
Let go of trying to be right.
Decide to just let the whole thing go and reach out with warmth.
It might seem contrary to creating a loving relationship to just let things go, but this is often the very thing that creates the reconnection necessary to be able to talk about it lovingly at some other time.
I know this SOUNDS like a good idea, but I also acknowledge how difficult it is to do in the moment, when you’re angry and hurting. Letting go of anger and the need to be right is the biggest hurdle when it comes to reconnecting.
Take, for example, how difficult it was for one couple I counseled on the phone after a fight to “let it go.”
I explained to them how in holding on to their anger and blame, they weren’t really holding onto power. It was actually dis-empowering them and keeping them stuck in in victimhood.
Perhaps their story can help you with the skill of “letting it go,” too.
Shelly and Stan contacted me for a phone counseling session because they had a conflict the day before and Shelly didn’t want to spend the next several days feeling distant and withdrawn from him like after previous conflicts.
This time, she went to Stan and apologized for her end of the conflict and told him that she wanted to feel close to him rather than be distant. Stan softened, and they were able to quickly move through the conflict.
However, when Shelly told me about this, she complained that she was usually the one who reached out and that it “wasn’t fair.” She didn’t like it that Stan often waited and stewed for days.
They both admitted that they felt BETTER after reaching out, as opposed to stonewalling as before.
So why was it so difficult for both of them to reach out instead of withdrawing? And why was Shelly still feeling resentful?
I said to Shelly, “Maybe you can reframe your concept of reaching out. I believe that reaching out is a privilege. When you reach out, you move yourself out of feeling like a victim and into your power.
Even if you believe that Stan is totally at fault, waiting for him to reach out feels awful. If Stan has really behaved badly, somewhere within him he is not feeling good about it, even if he is still angry with you.
When you move into compassion for the wounded part of him rather than staying stuck in your own righteousness, you feel peaceful within rather than in turmoil.
Instead of keep score regarding who reaches out, why not jump at the opportunity to move into your own personal power by being the one to reach out and practice being a compassionate person?”
As for Stan, he admitted that he didn’t like withdrawing and stewing in anger. “I often feel like a victim and it feels terrible. I get stuck in being angry and waiting for Shelly to fix it. What a waste of time!
And even when she does finally reach out or we just reconnect because time has passed, I’m still stuck with some bad feelings. I can see that I’m choosing to be a victim rather than move into my power.”
The insight here is that we are not in power when we are angry and blaming.
We are in power when we are behaving in a way that we value, which means in a compassionate, loving, kind way. We are in our power when we are able to shift our focus from our need to be “right” to opening up with kindness to our partner’s feelings.
The more responsibility you take for reconnecting with your partner after a fight, the better you’ll feel.
And the more you learn to connect with and take responsibility for your own wounded feelings, the less triggered you’ll be the next time you experience a conflict in your relationship.
After a fight, if you’re waiting for your partner to reach out, apologize, and admit they were wrong, the other thing you’re doing besides being a victim is waiting for someone else to take away your pain and make you happy.
You lack the inner guidance that can lead you to take loving action for yourself, so instead you’re stuck —in anger, resentment, and longing. You’re being a victim.
When you’re stuck in this way, you give away your power to someone else—in this case your partner—instead of empowering yourself by taking responsibility for your feelings.
Taking responsibility for your feelings means acknowledging that there’s a part of you that is reacting to the current situation because of something that happened in the distant past. That part of you is the “wounded inner child,” or what I call the “wounded self.”
Your wounded self is triggered whenever he or she senses that they’re being abandoned, rejected, or neglected. This leads to painful feelings of fear and anxiety. Will your partner leave you? Will they ever love you again?
When you learn how to tend to and help soothe and heal your inner wounded child, you’ll be less triggered by conflict and find it easier to reach out to your partner with compassion, because you’ll have compassion for yourself.
How can you get that self-compassion and tend to your wounded inner child? With a process called Inner Bonding that’s contained within my 30-day video program, Wildly, Deeply, Joyously In Love.
This program will show you the 7 steps to becoming more mindful and aware of your feelings, uncovering your false beliefs and resulting behaviors, accessing your inner guidance, and taking loving action for yourself.
These steps can help you heal the inner obstacles that are keeping you limited in your personal life, and may be keeping you stuck in victim-mode in your relationships.
Then, on day 25 of the program, you’ll learn the 6 steps to take to reconnect after a fight, which will make it easier to get back the tenderness and open-ess that you miss from your partner as soon as possible, without rehashing your disagreement or risking making things even more tense.
You’ll also learn so much more in this 30-day program, including:
Take a look at how this program can help you resolve even long-standing, difficult issues—and experience incredible closeness with your partner.
You can start reading and watching here:Begin the Transformation
Stop going around in circles, feeling terrible, and looking to your partner to make things right again. You can learn to soothe your own feelings and create the space for love to flow within you.
That’s when you can truly have a loving, compassionate relationship with your beloved and not let conflicts cause you so much pain.
P.S. When things get triggered, it does not mean you’re in the wrong relationship (unless, of course, there is physical or emotional abuse), but rather that it’s time to heal the false beliefs that led to the conflict in the first place.
That’s what my program, Wildly, Deeply, Joyously In Love, will help you do. You’ll discover what’s really at the core of those painful feelings, so you can face them head-on and dissolve them at last.Dissolve the Root of Conflict