Relationship Ruptures, Wild Emotions, and Inner Peace

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Conflict gets a bad rap. When conflict is handled with care it can lead to greater intimacy time and time again. In this episode of Make it Mentionable, I’m sharing a new way to handle conflict so you can let go of emotional whiplash and experience more peace.

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Alyssa Patmos 0:04
This is Make It Mentionable. I’m Alyssa Patmos and this is the show about being human in a world that encourages us to be robots. I invite you to join me as we journey through the mess, the magic and the mania in between. Because what we can talk about, we can manage. This honest conversation extravaganza includes free flowing conversations and high doses of vulnerability to remind you that you aren’t alone. No topic is off limits, and episodes are designed to leave you smarter, aka more self aware than when you came. I am so glad you’re here.

Hello, Hello. And welcome back to another episode of Make It Mentionable. If I can make it through this episode without sneezing 10 times, it will be a miracle. And I’ll be very happy with the limited editing that needs to be done. I went to hit record and had to start over because I just sneezed five times in a row. So it is apparently allergy season here in Colorado, and they are getting to me this week for sure. Anyway, thank you so much for being here. I, I am always interested in getting better at handling conflict. In a lot of ways. You know, we’re taught to avoid conflict, especially as women. But conflict can be a beautiful thing. If you’ve been listening to the show for a while you might have heard Jeff and I in an episode where he’s joined me talk about conflict being an unmet need poorly expressed, it’s one of our favorite definitions of conflict. And it holds so much power because if a high tension situation comes up, and you can remember, wait, what is the unmet need here, and you can ask that of yourself or of the other person, you can go from rupture to repair much, much, much faster, the resolution process becomes that much easier. And so in relationships, where it’s one person trying to translate their inner world, and another person trying to bring their past experiences to the conversation, and create meaning together without it being completely messy. Like that doesn’t always happen, we’re gonna end up in conflict, especially with people that we love and who we see frequently. But that doesn’t mean it’s something to run away from. Because honestly, the times when I have felt closest to Jeff, are after we have repaired conflict in some in some way, shape or form. Because usually that means we’ve broken through something and transcended, transcended this unspoken unmet need, brought it to the light, gave it some attention, gave it love. And then it got to become something new. And that is a source of intimacy that can’t be faked. And so relationships are truly made, or broken by our ability to engage in conflict and to go from a rupture to repair. It doesn’t mean we have to be perfect at it. Like be human is so messy. We have you know, one of us we have ourselves and we’re trying to take our past experiences and, and the knowledge we have how we’re feeling our emotions, and translate that to another human who was trying to do the same thing. And that middle zone of where we’re trying to create meaning and common understanding together can be really messy at times. And if we’re not clear on our emotions, and they’re completely running the show, it can get way Messier. And so I I have another favorite definition of conflict that I don’t think I’ve talked about on the show before. And I reread it this week. It’s in the book, the gene keys by Richard read, which I am obsessed with this book I love, love, love it. But somewhere in the book he talks about conflict occurring when two people choose to identify with their emotions. And we talked about responding versus reacting on the show a lot because

self awareness is a superpower in this world. And when we can pause and be able to respond instead of react. We’re we’re operating from a place of composure and clarity, rather than just a place of reacting Unlike the emotional baggage that we carry around everywhere, and so I love this definition of conflict, because it reminds me to, I have a choice over if I identify with my emotions or not. Because we all don’t know, we all know those moments where someone says something and it just like triggers something, maybe it sounds like something your dad said to you when you were younger, or maybe it reminds you of how an ex treated you. Or maybe it just triggers that voice in your head that really loves to be critical of you. And, and in those moments, emotion tends to rise up. And then we can react which is, which is what we normally do, or we can choose to bring some attention to that and make a choice around am I going to identify with this emotion. And it’s a skill that that I have worked to cultivate and continue to cultivate. And it served me well, for years, because it’s it’s that ability to truly be mindful of our emotions. And mindfulness is a word that has become a buzzword in a lot of ways. I think there are many different definitions floating out around there about what it is, to me mindfulness is, is paying attention. And in a lot of ways, make it mentionable is like my rally cry around paying attention. Because you know, what we can mention, we can manage, if it’s operating under the surface, and we can’t mention it, we can’t see it, it’s not brought to the light, it unconsciously can run our lives, we can’t manage it in the same way. And so this is true of of emotions, as well. And if we choose to identify with our emotions right away, without paying attention to them, what they’re trying to tell us, then we can end up getting defensive, we can get up, we can end up snapping at this person who we love in front of us, we can end up, you know, pushing them away, because that feels safer at the moment, any number of coping strategies to protect us, and protect us really not from the other person, but protecting us from that emotion, that we don’t want to feel at the moment, that emotion that we’re trying to get away from, whether it’s anger, or shame or guilt or fear or hurt. And yet these emotions are signals. And they’re also not truths. think in a lot of ways. We tend to take our thoughts as truth and our emotions as truth, instead of things that flow and adapt and change. You know, when we get into a depressed state or a really sad state, it can be really easy to think that I’m going to feel like this forever. And, and in those moments when that pain feels so so so real, or the anxiety feels so so so real, it can be really hard to remember that it does move through, and it does pass through. And I’m not going to feel this way, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And I don’t think the search for I don’t I don’t the messaging around good vibes only, or like positive positive vibes can be really toxic. Because we we aren’t meant to be happy all the time. We wouldn’t even appreciate being happy if we didn’t have the other end of the spectrum. And so a lot of times we can build up this pressure and feel like Oh, I gotta be happy all the time, or something’s wrong. But it doesn’t mean something is wrong necessarily means we’re learning through something, it means we’re being told to pay attention to something something is wanting our attention. It’s what emotions can be in a lot of ways. It’s it’s asking us to consider this perspective or to pay attention in some way. But when when we pay attention, that’s how things began to flow through us faster rather than just suppressing it. And so when it comes to conflict,

when we think about this new definition of conflict where it’s occurring when two people choose to identify with their emotions, if you think about a time, you know, when a high tension conversation came up, there’s that moment where you start to feel the emotions coming up and and you feel like how you want to snap back at that familiar reaction. And it doesn’t seem like there’s a choice. But there always is, there is a choice in how we respond. The thing is, is that sometimes to stop that defensive cycle, or to stop the pattern from repeating again, we have to choose to be vulnerable or to do something that feels risky, or, or uncomfortable, because it’s not the normal way of doing things. I mean, Jeff, and I got into a little bit of a conflict to the other day. And and it was because he said something I don’t honestly, I don’t even remember what the conflict was about. But what I do remember, remember is he said something, and it triggered me. And at first, I got defensive at first, I did not practice mindfulness, I just totally identified with my emotion that came up, I was angry. And, and then it led to, to him identifying with his emotions, and all of a sudden, like, we’re both angry. And that’s not helpful. Like, that’s not how you get to resolution, certainly in a route that prioritizes repair. And so in that moment, I had a choice. It was like, Okay, wait, I had enough of a voice to recognize I, this is not actually how I want to be responding. And, you know, we all have these younger parts of us that that want to be heard. And I could hear enough of a voice where it was like, Wait, this isn’t, this isn’t what you want, what you actually want is to get this unmet need met. And so what is how do I want to respond here, and as that voice was coming through, I became clear on what I needed, which was to go get dinner with him alone. And, and at that point, I could continue either being defensive, or I could say, I could stop, I could stop how the pattern was going forward, which you know, can feel like eating, what’s the saying, you feel like eating crow sometimes. But when I did that, when I stopped and were able to say, Okay, wait, now this isn’t how I want it to continue. Like, I’m sorry for how I’ve been reacting. Here’s what I hear, here’s what I need, I need to go to dinner with you alone. And, but but I feel I feel vulnerable, sharing this, like I feel vulnerable, asking for what I need right now. When when the conversation can shift to seeing our emotions, clearly for what they are. I think favorite definition I have of emotions is emotions are energy in motion. And so so so often, we try to block our emotion because of all sorts of messaging, like the messaging around around,

put your big girl pants on, like, don’t cry, like toughed it out all these messages that encourage suppression of emotion. And so and so when we do that, we block them. And they can no longer be in motion, they can’t function like waves that you know where the tide goes out, and it comes in and there’s this harmony. Instead, they get lodged somewhere in our body only to create problems later on in some way, shape, or form. Or, or at some point, they just get shutdown, shutdown, shutdown, and then at some point, like they’re going to boil over, inevitably. And so if in these moments of conflict, where we can sense ourselves, going down a defensive path, or going down a path where we’re trying to protect ourselves, in those moments, we can pay attention, we can put on a mindfulness lens and pay attention and start saying, like, what emotions are coming up here? And do I actually want to identify with them the other night, like I no longer wanted to identify with the defensiveness conflict is not meant to be person A against Person B, it’s, it’s person A and person B. And how can we look at conflict as like object, see, how can we look at this together and solve it together rather than it being me versus you. But when we’re identifying with our emotions, it becomes me versus you very easily because then we feel the need to protect ourselves. If we can take a step back and be like, Wait, this person is actually on my side. The problem is the conflict over here. Do I need to identify with this motion in the same way? How can I share what this emotion is without feeling the need to protect myself in the same way? Because Because the goal then isn’t protection. The goal is repair, and coming to a resolution that allows the emotion to flow through us and also gets an unmet need expressed out in the open. And then we can come up with a solution, whether individually or together around how to get that need met, depending on who’s bringing it to the table and what it is. And, you know, we have, we all know someone right now who’s going through a harder time and, and in those moments when emotion feels overwhelming, can be easy to to feel like, it’s never gonna go away. And when I can remember that emotions are energy in motion, it gives me the permission to allow them to be there. To, to not, I don’t want to sit in it, like I don’t want to sit in anger forever. But it allows me to honor the humaneness of having anger as an emotion, instead of just trying to get rid of it. Similarly, you know, we want to force away sadness, we want to force away hurt, we think it can linger there forever. But sometimes, it just needs to be given some light, we need to make it mentionable so that it can transform, we can’t transform the patterns, if we’re just trying to fight them and push them away, doesn’t work, and then inevitably seeps into other areas of our life, because it wants to play out, it wants our attention. And so when we can get better at paying attention to the signals, in conversation, and when we’re by ourselves, just in moments of quiet reflection, we’re more likely to have peaceful relationships, you know, a peaceful relationship with with Love is the goal of so many people. But what I find is, is we can end up in search of peace, because we don’t always know how to find it within ourselves, we don’t always know how to let our emotions flow through us and transform into something else. We don’t always remember that they’re not permanent. And so we end up wanting to find the perfect peaceful relationship, which does not exist, that is impossible to find. And if we go on that quest, if we go on the quest of finding this perfect peaceful relationship, then we’re likely going to be disappointed. And really, really, the question then is, is making sure like, Am I able to find peace within myself? Do I do I know what that truly feels like? Because if I can’t embody that for myself, then how can I? How can we embody it in a relationship?

Anytime we put something like that outside of ourselves, especially something like peace, freedom, love, there’s an opportunity to take a step back and look at ways Oh, can I give these things to myself? How can I make sure that I am meeting my own needs, and then and then being selective in in who I’m asking to help me meet other needs, we end up in search of peace, because we don’t know how to honor our emotions, we don’t know how to let them be peaceful, we don’t know how to let the wave come and let it go out and then have calmer waters. And so we end up wanting this pressure on our relationships to not be this thing that ever triggers us or, or that disrupts the peace. But it’s in these moments of rupture, when we when we can step back, pay attention to what’s going on, in a way where we’re not identifying with the emotion, that we actually have the opportunity to get to much greater peace, where we actually feel like something has been repaired, we get to know the other person a little bit better, we understand something about ourselves a little bit more. And that all starts with being able to pause and step back and say, Hey, I actually don’t want to keep reacting like this. And, and being willing to to go that next suddenly vulnerable step in saying and and, and taking a different course of action. And stopping instead of instead of continuing the defensive spiral, stopping and saying, You know what? I’m actually I’m not going to choose to identify with this emotion anymore. It’s allowed to be here and I am I am angry, but it doesn’t have to run Is this this conversation when we can sit in the discomfort of our emotions, which is something to practice outside of conflictual situations, but when we can sit in the discomfort of our emotions, we give another person the gift of being able to sit with them when they feel uncomfortable in their emotions. And so instead of looking at these people we love as if it’s us against them, we can all of a sudden turn to appreciation. And it’s like, you know, I can appreciate right now that you’re trying to protect yourself, because I know what that’s like, I know what it’s like to try and protect myself in a conversation. And we when we can appreciate the voices that they have going on in their head, the past experiences that have led them to thinking that they need to protect themselves, we can get to a much more peaceful conversation, where it’s not just protection mechanism going up against protection mechanism. And that is a truly beautiful space to be in. We so often, you know, so many people love to talk about gratitude and, and what you’re thankful for. And I love those things. They’re amazing practices. The word that resonates the most with me truly is appreciation. Because what we appreciate appreciates, and it brings more awareness to attention to me, the the asking, like, what am I thankful for, I think a lot of times it puts something outside of myself, or it feels very, like doing and achieving oriented, maybe because when we grow up, we don’t really say, I appreciate you, we say thank you. And usually we say thank you in response to someone doing something for us. And so for me, those two things get intimately tied. And a lot of times it feels like it’s putting something else outside of myself or it feels like action oriented. And so appreciation ties more into awareness and paying attention for me. And so I’ve been working on cultivating the practice of like, what do I appreciate? What am I appreciating about life right now, and it brings out more of my joy inducers which is great. And it also allows me to appreciate the roller coaster of emotions at times, we often use emotional roller coaster as a bad term. Which Yes, there are some roller coasters that are not fun. Like there are some roller coasters, the ones that just shoot you straight up in the air, and then they’re like this hairpin. And then you come right down the other side and they’re super high. No, thank you.

Those are not fun to me at all. That will give me emotional whiplash. Like in the situations the relationships you know, the encounters that we get in where we’re just getting emotional whiplash, like that. That’s another roller coaster we want to sign up for. But there are other roller coasters. Some of the ones that Disney World for example, where like I love the railroad one at Disney World, I don’t remember the name of it. But to me that is just the most fun, easygoing roller coaster where it’s like the goldmine when I can’t remember the name of it. But it it’s so chill, like, there are ups and downs. There are turns not really twice, but there are turns and and it’s it’s you go through a journey. And that’s I want emotions to feel where it’s like, yeah, I can have both sides of the spectrum. But it’s not the horrifying ones that are at like six flags where you go up and then you’re just down and it’s giving you a blush. Another one that I love are the ones where your feet dangle like I think it’s called, might be Batman, I think it’s at Cedar Rapids. Now when your feet dangle, and you have to be locked into a harness, so it’s a little more intense, and there are loops and corkscrews. I love those ones. I don’t like the ones where the height goes so high and then you’re so low at the other end of the extreme. And when we learn to pay attention to our emotions, that’s what happens. We don’t end up on the roller coaster that’s like just skyrocketing us into there and then dropping us. We end up on the ones where the journey is actually fun because there are twists and turns. It’s adaptable. It’s flexible. And, and it’s not just this extreme, high and extreme low. It’s in the middle, but still getting to experience the differences so that we can appreciate each side for what it teaches us relationships are dependent on our ability to repair conflict conflict isn’t, it’s not a bad thing. It’s inevitable, because we are two humans with two different experiences, meet, trying to meet in the middle and, and live life and enjoy each other’s company. And we want to, we all want to be seen, heard and loved and, and witnessed in all that we are doesn’t mean that one person is always going to do that for us, we get those needs met in different ways by different people. But that process comes from being able to engage in conflict, it teaches us new things about ourselves, it teaches us new ways of seeing other people. When we get better at witnessing our own emotions, it becomes easier not to identify with them, which makes conflict more peaceful, which means we can witness the person who’s in front of us in a more meaningful way. And we can create greater intimacy in our relationships. And that is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Suppressing emotions is damaging and leads to these tipping points that that truly are the or are the causes of, of disruption in in relationships. So, if you have liked this conversation, I would love to know. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for sharing, you can always leave a comment and I would love it if you would leave a review and a rating of the show. It helps every little bit helps. And I will catch you next week. Thank you so much for being here.

You’ve just finished listening to another episode of Make It Mentionable with me, your host, Alyssa Patmos. If you’re looking for more in between episodes, then sign up for The Peel. It’s my free newsletter that gives tips for how to navigate whatever life dishes and it’s also the place where I share the juiciest of stories. To check it out, head on over to Thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time.

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