“Are we really having THIS conversation again?”
“How many times to I have to say this?”
“It’s like you don’t hear me. What’s the use in telling you again.”
“You sound like a broken record. I get it ok!”
Sound familiar? These statements mixed with a certain tone, gesture, look, or other action can send you and your partner right into a ‘processing trap’. This is when you find yourself in and old familiar place having the same spiraling conversation, that goes nowhere productive. Sometimes you can cut the tension with a knife. Other times we fall into an ‘evolved processing trap’ where we are being nice to one another but it’s still just an evolved version of that same damn conversation.
Questions to end the endless processing loop:
Do you know what you need to do or stop doing? Start or stop doing it.
Do you see a new way to be in this area? Start showing up that way now.
Are there new openings for action? Notice what you can do right now.
If the processing trap you find yourselves in is about something they want from you and you don’t know the answers to the above questions… ask your partner. Get curious.
“Hey babe, I’d love to know what you would like me to start or stop doing.” Boom. It’s simple.
The road out of the processing trap is not a long one. In fact, it’s a quick and dirty one. You just stop processing. It’s about taking new action in this moment. If the road is still long, you’re still processing.
‘Productive processing’ is facing what you don’t want to feel in the moment without making a drama. This doesn’t take long. You just feel down to the core of what’s happening in your body without making it anyone else’s fault. It’s quick and dirty. The drama is what takes so long.
Sometimes people say, “I can’t just let my partner be upset.”
I say, yes we can! We cripple people if we try to fix them.
We can show up with compassion, solidarity, AND sovereignty.
What does this mean? My partner gives a great example…
I was having a rough day last week. My baby self came out as it often does when I’ve entered a new expansion and I’m not sure I’m comfortable there yet. I was mopey and down, getting down on myself. I heard the words, “I love you. I see you’re going through something right now. I’m here if you need anything. Can you think of any way I could support you right now?” (Which was a statement I said to say if I’m like this. I recommend setting your partner up for success with something like this.)
In this moment I had a choice. Try to process this recurring baby attitude or stop whining and get to work.
My tendency used to be to process things that don’t need to be processed. So I put that bottle down.
We hugged. I said how I’m feeling in the moment and let myself boohoo for 2 minutes. Then, with no explanation neccessary I focused my energy into a work project I’d been avoiding and soon forgot to be a baby. Later, we enjoyed each other. It was a great night.
Funny how that happens. No processing necessary. Only the wisdom of self to know when it’s a real thing and when the weather is just passing through. If you’re not sure? I suggest taking a new action that changes your state. Working out and cleaning my house are two others I enjoy. Quick and dirty style. Then, if there’s something left to talk about you’re more likely to be able to approach your emotions objectively and without the charge.
Sometimes the best way out of something is to just stop going there. Make a new choice.