Ever have one of those conversations that totally frustrates you because no matter what you say, your partner doesn’t understand what you are saying? You end up repeating the same thing over and over again in slightly different ways trying to make your point. And your partner is meeting you head-on trying to make his point with equal vigor and no success.
In response to these types of situations, author Elizabeth Gilbert and her husband Felipe say “let’s be careful.” Renowned marrige therapists, Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz-Gottman, say “we’re going universal.” Lewis and I say we’re “spinning.” These expressions are code words that each couple created for these unproductive rants filled with blame that can happen when “people get so tired or frustrated that the mind becomes deluged (and deluded) by anger.” The words “always” and “never” will be ever present.
In our relationship, we have agreed that the first one to notice that we have entered the “spin zone” can say, “Hey, we are spinning.” The other one nods in agreement as we put our fingers to our lips signaling shhhhh. If we need to we distance ourselves until the anger or frustration subsides. We then rummage through our relationship toolbox and consider a better way to communicate our message.