Reactiveness in relationships and how to stop

Your reactions to things that frustrate you are natural. But the outcomes of reactiveness can be very hurtful in relationships. Here's how to approach the issue.

Reactiveness in relationships and how to stop

We don't even realize it, but most of the tensions in our various relationships is caused by our reactions.

Our relationship with our boss, our spouse, our friend...

They do or say something that annoys us and we REACT. We might or might not express it out loud but we react with emotion.

Let's think of some examples.

Your husband left dirty laundry on your bedroom floor although you had previously agreed to use the laundry basket in an effort to bring a bit of tidiness to your busy home.

You see the sight. Your brain makes a few quick leaps here. You assume that:

? Your husband was intentional while doing this
? Your previous agreement was cancelled
? You're all alone in trying to keep this house tidy
? Your husband doesn't respect you

If you react, your reaction will be based on an emotion: your frustration. And on this long list of assumptions.

But there's another way to handle this, and that is TO RESPOND.

Before I explain how responding is different than reacting, let me give another example from your parenting.

Parenting is yet another relationship.

And all relationships involve reciprocity.

Your little human is just as capable of annoying you as your boss, husband or friend. Not more, not less. Your reaction is the key.

Let's get to the example.

Your little human has just started to use coloring pencils. You walk into your living room and see that your white sofa is painted with multiple colors of crayons.

What's your feeling?

A strong form of frustration, I assume.

Your feelings might make you:
? Wail
? Yell at your child
? Cry
? Say harsh words

Your feelings are natural and so is your reactiveness. But the problem with reactiveness is that its outcomes can be very HURTFUL for relationships.

So instead of reacting at that very moment, you can try this:

⏸ Pause
? Take a deep breath
?️ Exhale till the very end
3️⃣ Do this for 3 times
? Respond

When you pause and bring your attention to your breath, reactiveness will subside.

Your brain will engage it's sense-making parts.

And this will make all the difference in the world. ??

Apparent aims to help every parent in the world become an emotional coach for their children. We pack mindful parenting, psychology, and neuroscience insights into a weekly letter and ebooks.