Man…. Have you ever just gotten to a point with the mom or stepmom where you’re about to tear your hair out? Or you feel like you’re melting into a tiny, hopeless, muddy puddle? Or like you’re going to catch the curtains on fire through the sheer power of your anger alone?
The chapter we’re working on this week is all about regrouping after a meltdown (that’s why it’s so cleverly called “Regroup”) and I was curious about what all you dear readers might do to put yourself back together after a big blowout.
Normally, we’re all the Cleavers over here, so imagine my surprise when our lovely two-family Sunday brunch turned into a spontaneous group therapy session. As is often the way of family talky-talk meetings, one problem was thrown onto the pile only to be immediately smothered by another, and another, and next thing you know, someone’s off in one room crying while another person is welling up in the living room, and everyone else is just sitting there, looking dazed and confused, wondering how to put things right and having not the slightest clue how to do so. (Now that’s what’s called a run-on!)
As a large extended family, we seem do this, upon occasion.
We’ll be coasting along, and then a few issues will start building up and then, blam. Troubles bubble up to be addressed, or… they get worse. Luckily, we’ve gone through this process enough times now that I think we all know on some core level that it’ll all be okay. It may take a while, but we DO get there.
Some things that helped:
1. Try to focus on one issue at a time. When we managed to do this, eventually, we could talk a problem through to a natural conclusion and then, feeling complete, we moved on.
2. Keep breathing! Even when it seems like all hell has broken loose, if you just do your best to keep the air moving through your lungs, you don’t get as stirred up, and you can focus on finding a solution, or at least, on brainstorming.
3. Listen. There seemed to be a fair amount of listening going on — which is maybe why the venting happened — which seems undesirable, at least in the short-term. But in the long term, things feel clearer, so I guess the momentary angst is worth it. (Right? Right?????!)
4. If you see someone quietly struggling, say something. Doing this led to some surprising confessions that created even more room to get somewhere.
5. Do your best to reconnect at the end. To see us at the end of the morning, you’d never have known only nine hours earlier, we were all teetering on the edge of the cliff (kidding, it was more like, an hour). By the time David, Carol and baby walked out the front door, there was lots of laughing and hugs and thank yous, and we were all ready for lunch.
So how do YOU put yourself back together after conflict? During conflict? Do you have any secret tricks? Any hardy strategies that consistently generate peace, clarity or relief?
© 2008 Jennifer Newcomb Marine All Rights Reserved