It may have begun with a heated conversation that progressed from yelling to slamming doors or throwing items across the room. Maybe there was alcohol involved, or maybe one partner criticized the other so harshly that it sliced through them like a bullet wound. Regardless of how it began, at some point it becomes clear to you that this is not a safe, productive, or healthy situation.
Perhaps you are able to remove yourself from the setting–leaving to take a walk or spend the night with a friend. Or perhaps you aren’t.
When arguments escalate to the point of yelling and screaming at one another, this is a big red flag that poor communication with your partner has reached a critical mass. The fundamental tenets of mutual respect, compassion, and understanding are missing–leaving the relationship vulnerable to a vicious cycle of criticism and contempt.
Without intervention, some couples may continue to escalate, even to the point of domestic violence. If conflicts become so heated that they reach the point of actual or threatened physical violence, both your relationship–and safety–are in dire jeopardy.
Working with a licensed couples counselor to address any past relationship traumas or ineffectual patterns of communication can help prevent and safeguard both yourself and your relationship. If you or your partner continues to struggle with emotional regulation, supplemental individual counseling may be indicated.
If you or someone you know is in danger, call the confidential, toll-free 24-hour state of Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline by dialing 877-863-6338.
To learn more about de-escalation during times of conflict, contact one of our licensed couples counselors below:
Written by Joanna Aslanian, LPC, ATR-P