IMPULSE CONTROL & SELF-REGULATION

You cannot release tension by creating more of it…

Rationally, we know we cannot expect to live harmoniously with our partner at all times, but seldom do we emotionally accept that fact. Frustrations, unmet expectations, let downs, incivility, broached personal boundaries, poor behavior, brushes with insecurity issues, confrontations with un-resolved emotional developmental tasks can often trigger deep emotional reactions that fuel and give rise to unchecked jealousy and anger. These impulses drive our temptations to act utilizing rash behaviors and short-term decision-making that satisfy our basic instincts of self-preservation and immediate self-interest in releasing pent-up tension by lashing out. In the moment there is nothing more compelling and satisfying than completely releasing your engulfed rage and anger… …and then it is over… the moment and the relationship. You simply cannot have a healthy relationship where trust and respect do not exist, and in that moment of lost control and lack of self-regulation both were highly diminished if not destroyed. Just anger should be displayed in incredibly rare occasions and where it is truly warranted, if ever. Ultimately an angry defensive outburst moves you further, rather than closer together.

Negativity spiral of hostile reciprocation

It doesn’t have to be a flash of uncheck rage or anger that kills your relationship. The ease at which negativity, hostility and resentment builds into conflict, strife and reciprocated negativity is frightening, as it spins into an almost unrecoverable spiral of destructive behaviors, as partners interact in an absorbing state of animosity and hostility that fuels itself causing more harm to trust, respect and mutual admiration along the way… This negative spiral is one of the very real reasons that breaking up is the norm, not the exception in intimate relationships. We simply unwittingly fan the flames of demise without squelching them early when conflict is most manageable.

Pro-relationship action

An important function of promoting and enhancing your relationship is your ability to respond constructively rather than destructively to negative impulse temptations. To prevent damage to your relationship and to your reputation regard anger, frustration, the surge for dominance or aggressive competitive action to be ‘right’ or ‘win’ as a caution sign to alert your to problematic emotional situation. The angrier you feel, the less effective you will be able to solve any problem, as it decreases your ability to think, take in new information, take fresh perspective or to come up with new solutions. This is especially true in any form of group activity where consensus building or collaboration building is essential in pursuit of any shared or common goal.

Stop!

Taking a moment to take in a deep breath and letting the surge of adrenaline and emotions to pass through you, to clear your mind for an instant to think before you speak and to think twice before you act, may be all you need to release the tension and relax the body and mind from the fight or flight mode you’re currently on. It is this interruption that allows you to build awareness and establish self-control, to regulate yourself and to act through your beliefs appropriately. Taking a moment to stop and re-affirm your core values will ease the effects of hasty anger by reminding us why those values are important to us. By recognizing that anger is an emotional caution sign, it will help us focus on our long-term objectives, rather than short-term gratification and avoid our natural hazardous responses.

Look!

In the moment of pausing look into not only the situation, but what you really want. Take perspective. How you want to be regarded. Where you want the relationship to take you. How do you value the relationship. Who do you want to be. What are your values and are you acting through those. Focus on your behavior (the only thing you can control) and not of your partner’s is essential. Empowering yourself instead of attempting to control others or the situation is a key component of overcoming anger tendencies. Control what you can- you.

Listen!

Listen to your partner. Not just in what she is saying, not just in what she is doing, but listen for what may be driving those words and actions. Utilize your powers of perception to try to understand what are her needs, wants and feelings of expectations that are unresolved or unmet? What is she emotionally aching for that she cannot reach? Before we speak, before we act, be very careful not to invalidate your partner, as once we have the opportunity for any productive discussion or problem-solving is all but gone.

Listen deeper!

Listen deeper still. Listen to deep within yourself and ask yourself why you’re responding negatively rather than positively to a potentially destructive partner’s behavior? It most likely will underscore unresolved emotional or developmental tasks for yourself well beyond the initiating event. Mentally bookmark this emotional reaction response and investigate it by performing a psychological self-analysis by looking at emotional patterns of behavior, as well as perform a relationship autopsy of those relationships that surround those feelings. Frequently strong emotional responses are unconscious and subliminal signals that unresolved dependency needs and developmental tasks are unresolved and will hinder the health and wellbeing of not only your relationship, but for you as well.

Ego-depletion

Self-control is not the whole story in regulating impulse control. Stress, general frustration, exhaustion, poor nutrition, lack of sleep and competing simultaneous demands will affect will-power and self-control reserves of anyone. It is important to recognize that your self-regulatory strength may be limited. As it is depletable. As it is renewable. Even someone who is committed to his or her relationship may fail at self-regulating due to self-regulating strength depletion despite their motivation.

Self-monitoring

It is highly beneficial if we can self-monitor not only ourselves, but the circumstances and environment in which we are party to for signs that we may be taxed, fatigued or worn down and act to counter it. In many instances we can foresee and anticipate that in an up and coming situation we may reach a similar point, and instead of just ‘sucking it up and driving on’ we can actually pre-plan rejuvenating and energy replenishing actions strategically. Whether this is getting extra sleep and rest, eating properly, treating yourself well, taking a moment to pause and reflect, exercising, sharing a good meal with friends or having sex lavishly (even if it’s just with yourself) can all have a remarkable effect on your ability to express gratitude in life and confer an enormous happiness advantage in general.

 

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Staying Positive

Troubles seldom disappoint

As a gender men are expected to take the lead socially in almost every aspect of the courtship ritual and early developments of initiating the baseline of that relationship is established by concealed negotiations of what we except by accepting initial patterns of early behavior from our potential partner. Being cognizant and astutely observant of initial patterns of behavior or personal narrative, while dating, coming from a potential partner can help us increase the probability of establishing a healthy and productive relationship by filtering and screening those potential mates. These values should be treated and regarded as boundaries as establishing limits to what you will accept into your life and with those that you invite in. One of the most important is the ability of a couple to accentuate the positive in life more than those that choose to revel in the negative of life.

Too much EQ

Women often fall victim of cluster of personality traits and attributes that promotes excessive effusiveness, which in times of stress heightens their vulnerability, insecurity and emotional state that leaves them not only needing but desiring a strong, secure and emotionally stable figure in their lives. That figure has historically has been filled by stoic male partners, to re-establish an emotional baseline of emotional self-worth, security, and stability. The new girl order simply is creating an environment and culture in which historic masculine roles are not valued, developed and respected in men. As such, we are raising new generations of men lacking or devoid of these traits, characteristics and attributes. This is nowhere more apparent than when we look at the divorce initiation rates, between gay couples, as lesbians tend to divorce at a vastly higher rate than homosexual couples, where these skills, attributes and personality traits are typically not as developed or missing altogether individually and within the coupling. Even with the staggering high divorce rates within heterosexual couples, it pays to have a masculine male in the relationship that is able to objectively sort out emotional trivialities, as to define and interpret what is important, by taking issues into perspective, by accepting accountability for one’s emotional state, and being emotionally secure in the face of adversity, which are not historically feminine traits.

Strongest frame wins

Emotional contagion is the unconscious tendency to mimic the emotions of others, (the stronger frame wins), which takes place continuously within a relationship. Without being aware or insulated from it when the behavior or emotions are negative can become a disastrous effect individually and ultimately within a relationship. Emotional detachment is the concept of insulating oneself from the emotional contagion. It is completely possible to be emotionally supportive, without being emotional immersed. Establishing that emotional boundary is critical to maintaining emotional context, stability and security, as poor attitudes, bad emotions, and negative outlooks are all contagious and detrimental to emotional health and a relationship. If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in life, you’ll find it easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that is far below what you deserve.

Bad apples

First order of business of any leader is to eliminate the negative rather than accentuate the positive, as the negative has repeatedly shown in study after study has a disproportionate impact, as compared to the power of the positive. All militaries know this and have framed their entire institutions around this concept. Businesses marketers realize this concept as well, as a bad stereotypes and reputations are easier to acquire, and harder to shed, than good ones. As the male, it will fall to you to hold a critical confrontation when the patterns of acceptable behavior, attitudes and emotions exceed healthy boundaries. This should be done in conjunction with emotional needs communication and active listening skills for best results.

Resisting reality

More often than not, one’s emotional state is a function of how one interprets events, rather than what actually happened. Our emotional state (good or bad) is generated by interpretations of events. Taking personal responsibility for your happiness involves, ultimately adopting a ‘trust mindset’ which refers to the willingness to fully and unquestioningly accept the outcomes you are dealt with in life and ‘trust’ within yourself you are capable and able to handle what comes. To do so otherwise is the hallmark for embracing misery and suffering.

Think like an optimist

People who don’t give up tend to interpret setbacks as temporary, local and changeable. The best way to immunize a partner against depression, anxiety, and giving up in the face of failure or perception of it is to teach them to think like optimists in adjusting their self talk, setting goals in small attainable steps, to mentally rehearse succeeding in their efforts and activities and to learn active stress reduction techniques to soothe their mind and bodies. These are the same psychological techniques taught and demanded of special warfare candidates going through Special Forces selection process. These techniques work and are valued and utilized by those who require success in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Behavior economics

Researchers have shown for a relationship to succeed, the positive and good interactions between a couple must outnumber the negative by a factor of 5:1. If the ratio falls below that, the relationship is likely to fail. In studies the best indicator of happiness was the frequency of eating with friends and family… If you were to choose one activity to produce an emotional upswing, start with breaking bread with those that make you smile, laugh and forget your troubles. Having a special meal together can be an immediate remedy, but often you just don’t have time to prep a meal on the fly, which is why I recommend having a nice bottle of wine always at hand. By taking time to stop the normal pattern of daily occurrences and slowing things down and making them more pleasurable, while you actively listen and provide emotional support can help offset a negative emotional occurrence. A pre-emptive solution is to enlist allies on a regular basis, by having regular shared meals with friends and family to establish a higher emotional happiness baseline long prior to any troubles.

Express gratitude…

Expressing gratitude and sharing appreciation for a partner is the primary means for creating a positive relationship internally. As a man, it will be your role to lead by example to establish the relationship culture of appreciation, acceptance and love. By looking for and accentuating the positive qualities in your partner and humbly acknowledging the difference that she has made in your life, you not only validate her contributions but attract them as well. Showing genuine appreciation for your partner is one of the most powerful ways we can empower each other in a healthy relationship. Likewise, learning to expressing gratitude during times of extreme sorrow, pain or hardship can be done to help lift the spirit, by giving thanks. Your heart doesn’t need to be smiling when doing so.

Happiness advantage

For years psychologist have known that thriving couples accentuate the positive in life more so than those that languish do. They not only cope well during hardship but also celebrate the happy moments and work to build more of those into their lives. A simple behavioral tactic to boost the happiness ratio and to help strengthen emotional bonds with your partner is to actually celebrate success as they occur. The most simple is to just be consciously aware and present when your partner is discussing and sharing an achievement. Sprinkling in regular ‘high-fives’ and ‘you-go-girl’ comments often spike the happiness and focus upon a shared achievement. For bigger occasions, setting time aside from your routine to properly celebrate is in order. These needn’t be big, over the top costly extravagances, but having a bottle of champagne on hand chilled in the fridge affords one the immediate flexibility to toast, accentuate and recognize achievement or success at a moment’s notice. If those moments haven’t occurred in a while, or a natural stasis of life occurs, break the pattern and just celebrate being together. It’s a fairly simple process to plan and develop your life to regularly celebrate the living of it.