Do we need Emotional First Aid for our relationship? You bet we do.
If our body need first aid, why not our relationship? You don’t have to wait until the little problems in your relationship turn into big problems before you give it attention. You need to give emotional first aid to your relationships as soon as you notice signs of emotional tension.
I’ll cover three techniques on emotional first aid as covered by Dr Barbara De Angelis in her book How To Make Love All The Time.
The three techniques will be covered over 3 weeks.
You can use any of the techniques either for you and your partner and also for your family and children or by yourself. First is The Duplication Technique.
The Duplication Technique
“Have you ever engaged in a shouting match with your partner until you were too tired to argue anymore?
Have you ever said to a partner during argument terrible and hurtful things, which you later regretted?
Have you ever had a fight with your partner and ended up fighting about something completely different from what you started fighting about?
Have you ever tried expressing you displeasure to your partner about something small, only to have him react very defensively and blow up at you?
Have you ever felt upset with someone and tried to express your feelings, only to have your feelings come out ‘wrong’ until even you are confused about what you are really feeling?”
I know I have experienced at least two of the above.
We all have at one time or the other felt frustrated, afraid and hopeless when trying to tell our partners about what’s troubling us. In our attempt to convey our feelings, we complain and start arguing. These do not work, especially arguing. Arguing does not work because;
- Instead of expressing your Complete Truth about your feelings, you end up expressing your anger and blame.
- Instead of listening to the message your partner is trying to convey, you end up reacting to the angry things your partner is saying.
- Instead of dealing with the current issue, you end up dumping all your suppressed anger and resentment from past issues during the argument. This then makes it hard to reconcile the current issue.
- During an argument, you deny yourself the opportunity to explore the complete truth about your own feelings, and this prevents you expressing the real message to your partner.
Instead of arguing, use The Duplication Technique.
This technique is an excellent method when:
- You want to express the Complete Truth about an issue
- You want to understand what your partner (or someone else) is really trying to convey to you
- You really want to figure out what you are feeling
- You want to feel that someone else understands your feelings.
The moment you notice tension building between you and your partner, it is the time to stop arguing and suggest you use the duplication technique. It does not matter who goes first, you can toss a coin if you wish. But, just do it!
How The Duplication Technique Works.
The Duplication Technique is based on this principle: “When someone duplicates your feelings, it dissolves emotional tension and creates connection.”
Follow these five emotional levels to express the Complete Truth of an issue.
Level 1: Anger and blame
Level 2: Hurt and sadness
Level 3: Fear and insecurity
Level 4: Remorse and responsibility
Level 5: Love, understanding, appreciation
For this to work, you must AVOID criticising your partner for the way he repeats what you say and if you get stuck while expressing yourself, don’t stop, take a deep breath and continue until you finish.
An Example of The Duplication Technique at work
Let’s use Mary and Pete arguing over Pete returning home late on the night they planned to go out.
First, they stop arguing and agree to practice duplication. Then, they decide that since Mary was angry first, she should go first. Next Mary starts with her Level 1 Emotions- Anger and blame- by saying:
MARY: I’m so angry at you for coming home late!
PETE: (Duplicating Mary’s lines) I’m so angry at you for coming home late!
MARY: You’re such an insensitive jerk for not even calling me.
PETE: You’re such an insensitive jerk for not even calling me.
MARY: I’m so mad at you for ruining our wonderful evening.
(Pete continues to repeat each line as Mary expresses all her Level 1 Emotions- Anger and blame. Then Mary moves onto her Level 2 Emotions- Hurt and sadness.)
MARY: It really hurt me when you didn’t seem to care about our romantic date! It makes me so sad when we argue like this.
(Pete continues to repeat each line as Mary expresses all her Level 2 Emotions- Hurt and sadness. Then Mary moves onto her Level 3 Emotions- Fear and insecurity.)
MARY: I’m afraid that you are getting tired of me. I’m afraid I’ll always be the one who tries to keep our relationship working. I’m afraid we will both always be so busy that we won’t have time for each other. (Now Mary realises why she was mad tonight- what really upset her.) (Pete continues to repeat as Mary gets in touch with her Level 4 Emotions: Remorse and responsibility)
MARY: I’m sorry I jumped on you the minute you came home without waiting for an explanation. I’m sorry I get so jealous sometimes. (Now Mary can feel the love that was covered up by all of Levels 1-3 Emotions/feelings. She now moves on to Level 5 Emotions: Love, understanding, appreciation with Pete still repeating).
MARY: I really love you, Pete, and I love spending time with you. I need you so much. I just miss you when we are both working so hard. Etc (Pete continues until Mary finishes.)
How did this help this couple?
Mary was able to express her Complete Truth by following the 5 levels of Emotions until she got to the real core emotion that made her mad which was that she missed Pete and needed more time with him. While Pete was duplicating Mary, Mary got a chance to hear what she was feeling and also she felt Pete really listened and understood her feelings. After this, Mary was then able to work on clearing up the real issue.
Pete on the other hand was able to feel Mary’ s true feelings and concerns and get in touch with some of the feelings Mary expressed about him.
Next, it is Pete’s turn to express the Complete Truth following the 5 Levels of Emotions while Mary repeats.
After Pete finishes, the next step will be for Mary and Pete to discuss what they learned from the process and also discuss how to prevent such thing happening again. Then kiss and make up.
There are 5 steps in this process:
- Stop arguing or fighting and decide to practice The Duplication Technique
- Decide who goes first
- Let the first person take his/her turn
- Let the second person take his/her turn
- Discuss what you learned about each other and the issue at hand.
You can also use The Duplication Technique with children, just call it The Duplication game, they’ll love it.Tweet