Can fighting be good for you? Absolutely! However, definitely play by the rules of the emotional brain. The BBH strategy brings to light some important realities about ourselves. When participants start using the emotional brain training program, we advise that if their brain is in stress, then they probably choose partners who are at the same brain stress level!
And, unless the situation is not safe for them or others, especially children, then seeing a psychotherapist right away for support in setting needed limits and looking at options for transitions may make sense. However, by the take token, we leaving means all that lost opportunity to have the joy of loving conflict. And that is a skill that is core to deepening our relationship with ourselves and others. What follows are a couple of ideas to get you started on the pathway to using BBH to think about your relationships:
Know your brain state Check in and learn how to identify your own brain state. This is more than a stress level, as in each brain state there is a different emotional pathway back to the optimal state of connection of neural integration. A different brain areas is in charge and we all know that the reptilian brain that calls he shots at Brain State 5 reveals a very individual that the loving and kind person we are when the neocortex is in charge at Brain State 1.
Know the other person's brain state Each brain state activates different characteristics, has a need for a different emotional tools and activated different emotional memories. This is very important! If the other person is at a lower brain state, they might not even "see" you. The emotional memories from other relationships, particularly early relationships and connection later that have been traumatic block their ability to connect with you.
Let your brain states guide your way If either person is below Brain State 3, they may be running Stress Circuits. If you think that you or the other person is running these allostatic, extreme wires, lovingly separate and come back later (there are techniques for that, too). Appreciate that intimate begins with the secure connection you have with yourself. This connection can easily be disrupted and your job is to stay connected to yourself. If you are not at Brain State 1 or close to it, take a break. Appreciate that as you rewire Stress Circuits, your brain's set point will go up, and it will be easier to have loving conflict and end up happier, healthier and healed from some of the hurts from the past.
In emotional brain training, the first step is to learn how to self-regulate, how to know your brain state and then use emotional tools to change in in one to four minutes. This is very helpful! The next step is to rewire four Stress Circuits, including your relationship circuit. This is even more helpful. However, the last step in EBT is to raise your set point, first creating a secure based (advanced courses in Sanctuary, Authenticity, Vibrancy, and Integrity. After that, intimacy can flow more easily because we are robust (not triggered easily) and resilient (bounce back quickly).
The first step in discovering the joy of loving conflict is to begin to check your brain state and the state of your partner. Empathy flows and your limits become highly effective!