Has the following ever happened to you? You are discussing an issue with your partner when the discussion suddenly turns into a heated argument. Neither person knows what happened or how to make it better. A battle ensues and lots of feelings are hurt. This is overreaction in progress. If this sounds familiar, it's because most of us have been in this situation. Want to know how to deal with these types of situations and understand why they happen? Welcome to Overreaction 101. Everyone has some painful memories from past relationships and interactions. When a person overreacts in the present it is usually because a painful memory from a past incident is being triggered. The person whose painful memory has been triggered is no longer having a conversation in the present moment, but is reliving a past event. He or she may be having an old argument with the person who originally caused hurt feelings. Or he or she may be reliving an old hurt, feeling as if it is happening all over again. This is why the reaction is so strong, why it is an overreaction. It's as if a wound that just barely started to heal is ripped open, and the person is now in a huge amount of pain. There are six steps to take in order to effectively handle a person who is overreacting. If your partner is the one who tends to overreact, apply these steps when overreaction happens, and also share these steps with him or her in a moment of calm. If you are the one who tends to overreact, arm your partner with the six steps below to protect him or her and your relationship. 1. Have compassion in the same way you would if a real physical wound was ripped open. A person overreacting is in real pain. Yes, they are lashing out at you, saying hurtful or inflaming things, maybe even being offensive. But these are the exact signs of a person in pain. See if you can stop from having a reaction yourself, and instead feel compassion. 2. Table the current discussion - you will not resolve it at this point. Make a mental note to return to it soon. A person in the middle of an overreaction is extremely unreasonable. Try as you might, there is virtually zero chance you can have a normal conversation with him or her, or get anything accomplished. However, if you try to continue a conversation with someone who is having an overreaction, you are guaranteed one outcome - a huge fight. 3. Don't take the overreaction personally under any circumstances. This is not at all about you. Seriously - it really is not about you. No matter what is being said in the middle of the overreaction, it is not about you. If you take it personally and get hurt over it, you are simply joining your partner in overreaction. 4. Remove yourself from the situation. Once your partner overreacts, the topic that triggered the overreaction needs to be tabled until a better, calmer time. Meanwhile, you need to remove yourself from the situation temporarily to avoid feeling abused. If you feel as if you are being hurt, unjustly accused, if you feel angry, feel as if you want to lash out, remove yourself from the situation temporarily, but immediately. This means put on your shoes and coat and walk out the door. Go for a long walk. Go shopping. Go to a movie. Go have a cup of coffee. Go sit in your car and call a friend. Do something that feels good and removes you from the situation. 5. Once things are calm, don't ignore what happened. Don't let sleeping dogs lie. In other words, once you have peace back, don't walk around on eggshells in order to prevent triggering another overreaction. Don't avoid talking about what happened in an open, honest, non-hurtful way. Initiate a conversation to better understand what happened. Start with something like, "You had a very strong response to our last conversation." Then, if your partner seems open, ask questions such as: * What were you feeling? * What did I remind you of? * What did the situation remind you of? Listen to everything your partner has to say. Remember compassion. Do not defend yourself, or negate anything your partner is saying. This is not about you. 6. At a later point, continue the discussion. At a later point, discuss with your partner how you are similar and different from the person who originally caused him or her pain. Clarify what you meant by the words that triggered the overreaction. Discuss ways to deal with overreaction in the future, perhaps some key phrases you can say to each other to stop overreaction. If you can follow the above guidelines, you will find yourself in an intimate relationship with fewer fights and overreactions and much more closeness, intimacy and trust. You can use the same process in any relationship, business or personal, with the same trust-building benefit. Handling overreactions in others or in yourself is hard work, and you may find yourself wishing you had help. If this is the case, I am available to help, in both a one-time coaching session format or for ongoing coaching. For more info on how you can get help, go to http://www.whatittakes.com/Coaching/coachingservices.html Wishing you an overreaction-free week! Your Relationship Coach, Rinatta Paries www.WhatItTakes.com (c) Rinatta Paries, 1998-2002. Do you know how to attract your ideal mate? Do you know how to build a fulfilling relationship, or how to reinvent yours to meet your needs? Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries can teach you the skills and techniques to attract and sustain long-term, healthy partnerships. Visit www.WhatItTakes.com where you'll find quizzes, classes, advice and a free weekly ezine. Become a "true love magnet(tm)!"