Yes, You Should Go To Bed Angry

Yes, You Should Go To Bed Angry

Hey everyone! This is Jenny Hale, and this is my truth bomb series, a series of short videos about advice that’s given in relationships which is sadly misplaced, and where the truth really lies.

Today I’d like to address the old chestnut of “never go to bed angry”.

There is a good intention to this. If you get in the habit of not resolving arguments and just going to sleep, and then waking up the next morning and both of you have to rush off and do things, and you feel better anyway because you’ve had some sleep, you won’t ever really actually resolve an argument.

So there is some some truth in the idea that you need to work conflicts through and to actually resolve them.

However, I have worked with a number of clients over the years of working as a as a coach and relationship counsellor who have an incredibly unhealthy pattern of “never go to bed angry”.

Something happens, one of them gets triggered, they’re really upset. The other one’s trying to manage that. At some point, they get upset themselves. Both people are upset, they’re saying things to each other, nobody’s listening, and this goes on until 3 or 4 a.m.

And then they’re exhausted. They get a couple of hours sleep, they rush off to work, they can’t function, they come home that night, they still haven’t resolved anything, but they can’t go to bed angry, so they do the whole thing over again.

This is not good.

In order to be able to resolve conflicts you need to be rested. You need to be sleeping. Some arguments, some conflicts are quite complex. They have many layers to them, and it takes some time to pick them apart.

It may be the case that one or both of you has some childhood issue triggered. Something’s happening that’s reminding you of something that was very upsetting from your childhood and you don’t even realize. You think that it’s your partner wiping their hands on the dish towel that’s making you so upset. You don’t realize that you had 15 years of your little brother destroying all your belongings and that that frustration and rage is the thing that’s really driving you.

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So you might have your own individual stuff. Or, your partner might legitimately be doing things which are actually inconsiderate and you might be going “Oh, this is me, I just need to soothe myself. I just need to work on myself. I need to be more patient and more tolerant”, when in fact what needs to happen is you need to set some boundaries and you need to actually make some agreements about how things are happening in the real world.

So there are always these two pieces in any kind of conflict. There’s what’s actually happening in the world right now, and then there’s both people’s past and how that might be being triggered, how that might be coming through.

Until you separate those you’ve got no hope of resolving the conflict. You need to be clear on what is actually happening here and now and needs to be changed, and what is being triggered and needs to be taking care of internally.

So it’s a good principle in general that you always work your way through to the very end of a conflict and actually resolve it, but that might not be something that you can do in one evening. And it might not be something that the two of you can do alone, because if you’re both triggered into your childhood stuff it’s very difficult to see what is the present.

You might need to get a third person to mediate the conversation to really understand what’s happening.

There aren’t many third people available at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. to come and do that, so in that case it’s better to actually just go to sleep, wake up the next day having had some rest, and then see if you can find somebody to help the two of you to work through and figure out what’s going on.

This has been the truth bomb series. This was the “never go to bed angry” episode and I hope to see you around in future episodes!

Walk Away From That Argument!

Walk Away From That Argument!

Hey everyone! I’m Jenny Hale and this is my truth bomb series. Today I’d like to have a look at the piece of advice “don’t walk away from an argument”.

Now, I’ve worked with a lot of people over a lot of years and a number one complaint that people come with is “they just walk off … they just … we’re in the middle of something, it’s important, and then … off they go, and that’s it!”

Now obviously if that happens, if you have a genuine conflict going on with your partner and you just walk off and never discuss the topic again, yes, that’s a problem. It’s probably not the way to do things.

However, if you make it a rule that whenever there’s any kind of conflict between you and your partner, neither of you can leave the conversation until it’s resolved that is also a problem.

We need to understand how human beings function and especially when we’re in a situation of conflict. There are different types of people, based on the personality and childhood experiences.

Fear and Trauma

If you’ve had a difficult childhood, if you’ve had one or both parents who couldn’t meet your emotional needs or just wasn’t there, then there could be situations in conflict, in difficult arguments and discussions, where you feel a lot of fear.

The fear can be so strong that it actually causes people to shut down. It causes their brain to stop working. They can’t even think. Now if you’re one of these people, if this is happening to you in a discussion with your partner, it’s very important that you take some space from the discussion.

You can’t have a meaningful discussion when you just shut down like a deer in headlights and your brain is not working. Whatever comes out of your mouth is not going to be very kind or productive (if you manage to get anything out of your mouth at all). And if you don’t, that’ll probably upset your partner even more.

So when people are very, very much in fear and shutting down they need to leave the conversation. They need to walk away from the conversation.

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Anger and Abuse

Also, if someone’s extremely angry and they can’t restrain themselves from saying and doing violent things, they can’t restrain themselves from accusing, blaming, name-calling, swearing, breaking things, at that point you are a danger to your partner. At that point, when you’ve reached that level, you need to walk away.

The number one thing that you need to do is prevent any abuse from happening in your relationship. Like it or not, if you get so angry you can’t control yourself and you’re swearing and breaking things and calling your partner names that is abuse. I know you don’t mean to do it, you feel like you can’t control it, but what you can control is whether or not you’re in the room with them.

So before you get to that point, or the moment you realize you’re heading for that point, you have to leave the room.

So there’s several circumstances where it’s imperative that one or both people leave the room.

Coming Back Together

Now I’m not saying that you then never come back to that discussion or you never resolve it – obviously that’s also very harmful. You do need to come back together and you do need to finish the conversation but you both need to be capable of finishing the conversation.

You need to take a break for however long you need to calm down to calm down from the fear, or to calm down from the anger. Maybe you need to go and do something with your muscles to burn off some of the adrenaline or maybe you need to play some music, or listen to some music, or do something to change your state.

Figure out what it is that you need to do, do it for as long as you need to do it, and then come back together again when you’re both calm, and continue the conversation in a productive and constructive way.

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