How to Defuse Emotional Conflict Through Taking Responsibility for your Actions

It was a creepy Halloween night with a cool mist swirling outside in the dark, the full moon hidden behind the clouds……..

Inside was chaos, the kids running around excitedly trying to get their costumes ready for trick or treating.

My oldest daughter was already decked out as a zombie, dragging her foot behind her trying to scare her younger siblings: “unhhhhhh, unhhhhhhh.” They were running around screaming as we were trying to corral them to finish up preparations – crazy!

My wife was busy putting blood drips down the vampire face of my middle son while my youngest son was putting on a princess costume.

Then the fateful words: “Mama!!!! Where’s my tiara?” My heart sank because I knew instantly that it was my job to pick up the tiara and I had forgotten! Shit! Was this going to ruin Halloween?

I slowly went into the bathroom to explain. As the words stumbled out of my mouth the clouds outside parted and the light of the full moon poured in through the bathroom window. Before my eyes, my wife transformed into a werewolf! Her eyes gleaming, claws out, and spittle spewing from her sharp teeth, there was no stopping the beast! The children scampered away, whimpering, afraid that she would turn on them.

“YOU DID WHAT????!!!!!”

Luckily, I had a “I Take Full Responsibility for These Actions” wand in my back pocket (phew!). I reached out and touched the werewolf gently with this special wand. She immediately calmed down. She settled down even more when I simply said, “I’M SO SORRY!” She laid her big, hairy, beastly head right down in my lap! Can you imagine?

The clouds covered the moon again and she transformed back, waking up as if out of a dream: “wha… what happened? Why am I laying on the floor? Why are the kids crying?” I replied, “oh, it’s okay, sweetie, you just got a little mad. But everything’s good now.”

I turned to the kids and explained how I made a mistake and their mom was upset about the mistake: “we all make mistakes sometimes and we all get mad sometimes. And sometimes when we get mad we act like MONSTERS!” I stood up and playfully chased them out of the bathroom with my own monster impression. Then my wife and I quickly cut up a piece of cardboard and bejeweled it to make a beautiful tiara!

When there is a lot going on and things are feeling stressful it is not unusual for an emotional explosion to occur if even just one little thing goes wrong. This can be a DISASTER if the larger goal is important. It becomes important, then, to refocus quickly and see the larger picture. Things like taking responsibility for your part, apologizing, or just getting back on track are more important than “making a point” because you are hurt.

If you find yourself frequently having explosive emotional conflicts that you have difficulty recovering from, we can help. Please contact us or schedule an appointment today. We’d love to speak with you!