The Fight's Over and I feel Terrible -- How Can I Soften Their Heart?Let's imagine you and your partner have just had a big fight - lot's of nasty things have been said - plans have been spoiled and you are feeling awful and in unbelievable emotional pain.
If you are anything like I used to be, it is at this point you might be feeling absolutely desperate to see your partner again and have them feel bad for you and say they are sorry for the nasty things that they said and make up? "What do I say now?" you might ask ... or "How do I get them to come home?"
So you reach for the phone or decide to go and talk to them (in the other room) to convince them they should NOT be mad or ignore you and that instead they should care about how hurt you feel. And to prove just how hurt you feel - and that you deserve sympathy - you might also try convincing them how awful they have been and that they are wrong.
You know that this isn't likely to work and that they will probably block your call - turn their back on you or not answer, but you feel so bad you can't help yourself - and if your convincing talk and blame don't work, you might even start crying uncontrollably or threaten to hurt yourself or get angry and start yelling or worse.
Sometimes it may even feel better if you can get them angry again because at least anger is better than them just ignoring you.
Or if they are truly gone and no where to be contacted or found, you will then look to whatever friend you can find for comfort and/or to alcohol or drugs (and maybe cigarettes).
If you can relate to any of this I want to step into your life right at the very moment you are feeling this way and make you stop!
Yes you heard me right - this is the very time you need to STOP.
I know it is the last thing you want to hear - but this is also the greatest point where you can create change for yourself.
Put down the phone. Go back to your own part of the house. Put down the bottle of alcohol or that cigarette. Or if you are out looking for your partner or drowning your sorrows - make the decision that it's time to go home.
Because 'convincing' and acting desperate is only going to hurt you, and it is this point exactly where you can create the biggest change in your life.
Now I know just how bad and desperate you may feel and that you may be feeling guilty too and I sympathize with that - but you are going to have to start learning to deal with this yourself.
I hear women telling me all the time that they can't control these negative feelings but I am 100% certain that you can.
If you feel you cannot rise above this yourself you simply have not reached rock bottom yet and the question is how low are you going to go before you understand that no one is going to help you if you will not help yourself.
This makes me remember a great book my cousin bought my kids when they were younger called Hatchet. It is about a boy who is marooned by himself on an island and soon realizes that tears and self pity are not going to save him and that he has no choice but to dig deep within himself for the strength and self love and preservation he is going to need.
How bad is it going to get before you realize this too?
So now after you have stopped I want you to dig deep.
Sure you desperately want to make that call and cry or brawl or do whatever you can to change their heart - but right now it's not the right thing to do and if you want a better relationship you will need to get more self control.
Because how can you trust anyone else to do what is good and right for you if you cannot even do that yourself?
So now that you have stopped in your mind I want you to see yourself doing two things. The first is to write down what first upset or angered you and then put that piece of paper away for later.
Then I want you to decide what you need to do now to take care of yourself (and your kids if you have them) and feel better again and get things back on track until you and your parter start speaking again. I also want this plan to mean that you will be self sufficient enough to not be needing them when they return or when you see them again. Because they too will probably need some space to get themselves back on track.
Now if you still struggle with this I highly recommend you try my favorite 'cheat' which is the Wellness Audio Institute's library;
People spend years learning to meditate to gain control over their emotions - but with the Wellness Audio recordings you can achieve this same state of calm and well being without any effort on your part (except deciding to take some time out to listen).
Guess what? I am listening to one of their recordings right now. Did Steve and I have a fight? No, not at all. He is out talking to aid agencies about our books, but it is a lovely day outside and I would rather be out there in the sun - but to reach my current goals today I need to work. So right now I am listening to my motivation album. Does it work? Sure it does. Is it what I have always reached for when I needed help getting motivated? No it wasn't - I needed to change my habits and realize I could do that myself without having to talk to Steve or anyone else about my work.
Just like I used to feel after Steve and I had a fight - you might be feeling desperate for your partner to answer your calls and come home. But maybe just like like Steve would do - they just switch off their phone for hours and leave you feeling miserable and as though nothing will end the pain?
Well I was wrong (and if you feel the same maybe you are wrong too) because the fact was that thing just hadn't got bad enough yet that I had to stop my self pity and learn to dig deeper.
The only question is really how bad is it going to get? I have had women access our material from jail where they have ended up wrongly accused by their partner before they realize that it is them and no one else who is going to need to find the strength to make things change.
So do you have the strength to change old habits that are not working and reach for something new?
This of course it not all the work you are going to need to do if you want a new life - but it is the start. It is where you start learning to be able to trust yourself to be able to take care of yourself and not let your negative emotions and wanting someone to take care of your sadness and hurt overwhelm you and get in the way of your goals.
Because what is it you want anyway? To feel better or is it really for someone to take care of you? If you want to feel better the truth is that what I am offering you here now means it couldn't be easier for you to do that yourself.
If instead you want someone to take care of you - maybe you can see now that this is what might be driving love away in your life. Do you find people attractive who are sad, angry, miserable or upset? Sure you may have reason to be upset with your partner but you need to deal with that like an adult and with your head together and not like an emotional wreck. My bet is that they have trouble taking care of themselves sensibly already, let alone knowing how to take care of you!
Or maybe it is the other way around and your partner won't leave you alone after you have had a fight. If so tell them the truth. Tell them you love them but that you cannot make them happy if they won't work on being happy themselves. You can also suggest that you listen to these recordings together. If you leave you also need to tell them where you are going and when you will be back.
This is tough work - but it is important work on the road to change. It is embarrassing to talk about too - but I really want to help you now. How bad did it get with me? Well even me creating psychosomatic illnesses in myself wasn't enough for me to see the way I had been going needed to stop. I would have argued with anyone back then that my illness wasn't psychosomatic - but it was. I had chronic infections in my lungs and throat just for starters. Why? Because deep down I felt that being sick was the only way I was going to get Steve's love. Did it work? No. Because who really wants to hang around with someone who has such little ability to make themselves happy that they think they need to be sick to be loved?
Once I saw this I changed all that and stopped waiting for Steve to take care of me and instead I started taking care of myself.
Did you know that codependence can be fatal? How many people die from psychosomatic illnesses which they created in themselves only because they didn't realize their happiness was inside them and not on someone else? How many people have commit suicide believing the same thing?
This is serious and this is why I try and relate this same message over and over in so many different ways.
Stop reaching for the phone. Stop reaching for that thing that will hurt you and stop making yourself sick! Instead reach for something good for you and start giving yourself the love you need!
In the past I have called these recordings my secret weapons but that's wrong - Instead I want them to be your new secret and for you to make these powerful tools your own. Let this from now on be your thing that you do when you feel yourself off track or getting upset.
Because no one else is going to save you and build the life you want if you can't find your own inner calm and happiness to keep a light heart and your daily goals on track - even after you have had a fight. That kind of strength is attractive.
Your state of mind is the most valuable thing in your life so don't leave it to anyone else.
You are going to need all 4 pillars to build a new life - which include you learning strong boundaries to limit abuse - but here is where it begins.