Three ways to deal with upset in relationship

Relating with another person will occasionally involve upset, and this is a perfectly normal part of any relationship. But what’s the best way to handle yourself in these situations, to minimize the pain and damage that can be caused without causing more relationship problems? Here are three ways I’ve found of dealing with upset as it comes up.

The first is to know that if someone says something sharp to you, it is normal to feel hurt. Rather than striving for imperviousness in this kind of situation, have compassion and space for you to have the experience.

The second is to minimize “going to work” on the experience. It’s very easy to take the experience and use it to justify yourself, or defend yourself, or avoid intimacy or vulnerability. This is of course hard to do, and the key here is the first step I mentioned: have compassion for what you’re feeling, feel what you’re feeling fully, and the need to act on it or process it or use it will slowly drift away.

The third is, don’t take it personally. When somebody attacks you or says something offensive, it really has little to nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the other person. This will help with the two steps above, and will help in understanding and having compassion for the other person, which will make it a lot easier for both of you to move beyond the sharp interaction.

This will help to clear your mind in the moment, and from a clear mind there are any number of options which can forward the situation, rather than reinforce the negative and defensive feelings which prompted the upset in the first place.

Alicia Davon