When you find yourself overwhelmed during an argument, you’re probably feeling flooded.
Flooding is a sensation of feeling psychologically and physically overwhelmed during conflict, making it impossible to have a productive conversation.
Flooding has a number of indicators:
Your voice raises.
You interrupt or talk over your partner.
You often say things you don’t really mean.
You feel out of breath.
You experience a flight-or-fight response.
Your heart races and you may feel like you are having a panic attack.
You shut down during conflict.
If you’re feeling flooded, communicate this to your partner and take a break from the conflict. Come to an agreement with each other that if one of you needs a break, the other partner will respect it. Then, practice doing an activity that calms you for at least twenty minutes. This could be something like reading a book, going for a walk, or listening to music.
When you're ready to rejoin the conversation, communicate this to your partner so you can start again on a calmer footing.