When We Can’t Think Straight

So mad you can't think straight? This guy is too.

Many of us in relationships get our feelings hurt. This is pretty normal and happens even when we love our partners. But some of us when we get our feelings hurt get really, really upset. I know I used to do that too.

When we get really upset, well we can’t think straight. Our minds narrow with maybe one thought. We got hurt and someone has to pay. This is common if we didn’t learn how to understand our hurt feelings.

It Takes Time to Discover Bad Habits We Grew Up With

A pensive woman self-reflecting on her habits by reading about how human behavior.

I didn’t while growing up. There was a lot of yelling in my family and I grew up thinking that yelling was the way to solve things when upset. It works in a family of yellers, but most people don’t grow up this way.

So, when I made my way in the outside world I ran into problems. Problems at work, with friends, and in relationships. Many people don’t see yelling as a way of settling a problem. And that’s what I brought into most of the relationships I was involved in.

I couldn’t change until I began learning about my habits. Though it took time, it was very helpful. I learned to break down what was happening to me. The first thing that happened was that I got my feelings hurt. Then my mind’s intelligence got muddled, because of the anger or irritation I was feeling. I would get so worked up I would lose my perspective.

I always thought I made sense, until I was able to see what I was really doing. When we get mad, we lose our perspective. We narrow our mind and just start thinking someone hurt us and they have to pay.

Lashing Out Comes From Our Primitive History

An angry boy dressed as a caveman, showing our connection to the reptilian brain and our primitive history.

This might lead to all sorts of behaviors. In my case it was to yell at the perpetrator. Other people shut down and stop talking, and others leave when they get upset.

There are really three types of reactions to extreme upset, and you’ve probably heard of them: fight, flight or freeze.

These are the reactions to intense pain that get funneled into the lower part of the brain, not the part with all the good stuff. It’s the part we inherited from our caveman and cavewoman ancestors. It’s often called “the reptilian brain,” because reptiles share the same part of the brain as humans.

We Can Do Better By Reflecting and Making Deliberate Change

Reflection, mindfulness, and working towards change.

Reptiles don’t think or have access to other parts of the brain, though. We as humans do. And that is what we have to work with. Feelings get hurt, reactions to feelings are something we do with our habits. Get to know your habits. Get to know what your upset feelings mean to you.

These are precious things to uncover. They will get you what you need, instead of making things worse. I know this. I haven’t yelled at someone in years. I live a better life. Learn a new way, for you and the people you love. It is worth it.

Feel Calm and Connected in Your Relationship

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Learn how to better understand one another and communicate more peacefully by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you fight less and make your way back to one another. Give it a read.

Get Couples Counseling

Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.

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