Chris WrightChris Wright is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. He sees clients in the Washington, D.C. area and has telephone clients from all over the world. He also has over 35 years of experience as a trainer and workshop leader in human and organizational development across the U.S. and Canada. Chris was founder and director of the Human Relations Institute in Houston, Texas. He was also the Director of PAIRS International -- training psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in couple’s skills programs. As an innovator in the field, he has developed a unique blend of tools that increase the effectiveness in relationships -- for couples and in the workplace. He has Masters Degrees from the University of Arizona and Antioch University in Los Angeles.
Host: What should we do when we are starting to feel really upset?
Chris Wright: When we are starting to get really upset, something triggers us. There is two things that we need to do or two things we can do. The first has to do with can we defuse the pressure here, right away, so it does not turn into an argument. Some people, when they get triggered, they go from 0 to 60, really fast, they get really upset out of nowhere, maybe there has been a lot of pressure buried inside of them before, but for whatever reason, they get really upset. So is there something I can do right now, if you got triggered and you are that upset, is there something I can do right now that would immediately defuse the pressure, that would dissolve the tension. So we can get back to feeling reconnected, very quickly, without having to go through a whole process here. So that is my first option to see if that is possible. That can be difficult, because lot of times when that happens it happens out-of-the-blue, or happens in situation where you really can t sit and talk about it or at the office party and you got triggered or we are in the car with the kids and you have gotten triggered. What can we do right now to defuse this pressure? Not easy to do because you are triggered, you said something that was sort of critical of me, that triggered me, I look in my world, I do not get what you are so upset about and so I feel little defensive. So it s hard for me to have a sense of what can I do right now, that would mollify you, to smooth this out because I do not want to feel like I am groveling, I do not feel like what I did was wrong necessarily, it was not that big deal for me. Some people in their attempt to try to avoid any kind of tension, they just jump immediately to, I am sorry, I am sorry. It s not where so much one of the tools that for what we teach in the sense, you can say your side, but the other person, I don t know if they really trust you, jump into, I am sorry. They are really wanting to see, what are you sorry about? Do you really get it? And here is they sitting in our world, we do not get it and we are trying to avoid a conflict by saying it.
So it tends not be a real solid way of reducing the pressures. So for us we have come up with seven different ways, different ways that different facets that in a difficult situation, immediately can start to relax the situation, get us reconnected going forward. It s one of the most important things I know in my life, I have been inadvertently triggered my partners and all this tension comes up. We are not able to sit in that moment to talk it through, what can we do right now, to get reconnected. The way I consider visualize in my mind, it s like a coy that all of a sudden enters a free way, it starts going 0 to 60 really fast. Oh my God, this thing is taken off and it s really accelerating with what you are saying, oh my Lord and I sense, in the way we teach ours is three different exits that you can take. There is an initial exit right away, if you just say this, ding, ding, ding, it moves us right off onto our last stop, it gets us off to free, of this free way of this escalating tensions, where it s starting to get up to 60 mile, boom, get it right off. So we can start moving forward, feeling reconnected together as a team. Really important, that dissolves the pressures very quickly. Sometimes though my partner could go right past the first exit, boom, like an arrow really getting fast and it s like, what is my second exit, I missed the first and so now the whole different intervention, whole different things that I could say that would immediately move this, they are authentic to me, that are real, but the same time, defuse the whole pressure. Again, sometimes I miss the first two exits, now we are really upset, boom. What is the third exit we can take, so this does not become destructive, what is happening here. So the person does not start to angrily upset and starts yelling or shutting down and not talking to me. So what is the third exit that we can move into a stronger set of tools, an intervention that would immediately relax the situation and move this forward. So we are connected again as a team. So you might want to use that model in your mind, sitting to have the conversation together, what would be the three exits, what would you like your partner to say to you that would help you to defuse the pressure right then without having to give up their perspective necessarily, but honors, what you are going through. So each of those levels are important to have, it s one of the most important skills I think couples can have.