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Overwhelmed During an Argument

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.

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