‘After the Fight‘ was originally posted on our member’s site, this version has been revised and updated 22/3/2021.
By Kim Cooper
You are sitting alone after a big fight. Nasty things have been said, plans have been spoiled. Apart and at odds with each other you are both unbalanced and in emotional pain.
You feel desperate to see your partner again and hear them apologize for all the terrible things they have said and done.
“What do I say now?”
You ask yourself or anyone who will listen.
“How do I get them to come home?”
You reach for the phone or walk to the next room; ready to try and convince them how wrong they are NOT to care about how hurt you feel.
Although your heart wants to make up . . . just to prove that hurt—and how much you deserve sympathy—your head tries to convince them just how awful and wrong they have been.
You know this isn’t likely to work and will probably cause them to hang up, but because you feel so bad, you don’t censure yourself and you let your head rule.
When your convincing talk and blame don’t work, you may start crying or threaten to hurt yourself or even get angry and start yelling again.
Starting the fight all over again may feel better than feeling their love has gone cold.
Or perhaps your partner is no-where to be found, and you turn to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes for comfort.
If you can relate to any of this, I want to step into your life and show you why, at this point, you should stop doing what you are doing.
Put down the phone. Go back to your own part of the house. Put down the bottle of alcohol or that cigarette. Or if you are out drowning your sorrows—make the decision it’s time to go home.”
I know it is probably the last thing you want to hear—but this is the point where you can most quickly create positive change for yourself and begin to create a better life.
‘Convincing’ and acting desperate are only going to hurt you.
I hear it all the time that people think they cannot control these desperate feelings. I’m here to show you just how wrong this belief is.
You may simply have not reached rock bottom yet but my question to you is:
How bad will things need to get before you see it is you who is going to need to help yourself?”
How bad will it get before you see what I am describing here? I have had a woman access our material from jail—having been wrongly accused by her husband—before she realised it was her and no one else who would need to find the strength to change her life.
This reminds me of a book my cousin bought for my children called Hatchet. It was a story about a boy, marooned on an island, who is soon forced to realise that tears and self-pity will not save him. His desperate situation makes him see he has no choice but to dig deep in himself and find the strength to provide for his own self-preservation.
- How bad is it going to get before you make this same realization?
- Do you have the strength to change old habits that are not working now?
You desperately want your partner to change—but what you need first is more emotional control.
How can you expect anyone to do what is good for you if you cannot do what is good for yourself?”
And once you have control of yourself, I want you to dig deeper still.
Write down what upset you and be satisfied to put that aside until later.
Decide what you need to do to take care of yourself (and your kids if you have them)—and get things back on track—until conditions in your home become civil again.
If your partner has stormed off, make plans to be self-sufficient when they return. Because after the fight they will also need time and space to get their life back on track too.
This, of course, is not all you will need if you want a better life. But it is the start.
The start of you learning to trust your ability to take care of yourself. To stop letting your need for someone to take care of your sadness and hurt get in the way of your security and goals.
You may have reason to be upset with your partner, but you need to start dealing with that like an adult and not leave your emotional balance up to anyone else.
My bet is your partner may have trouble taking care of themselves at the best of times, let alone knowing how they should take care of you when you are an emotional mess.”
Because what is it you want? To feel better? Or someone to feed your sadness and self-pity instead? If you want to feel better, the truth is that only you can give that to yourself.
If instead, you want someone to feel sorry for you, I wonder if you find emotionally needy people attractive? Maybe you can see now that this is what might actually be driving love away in your life?
Or maybe it is the other way around and after the fight, it is your partner who won’t leave you alone to find your emotional balance again? If so, maybe it’s time to tell them the truth. That you love them but if they won’t take charge of their own happiness, there is no way you are ever going to be able to make things work.
You can also suggest that they take some time out to be kind to themselves and perhaps give them a copy of 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence.
If you leave, also make sure you tell them where you are going and when you will be back. This is just basic courtesy and unless you want the fight to start again it is important you stick to what you say.
This is tough – but important work on the road to change.
. . .
How bad did it get with me? It is embarrassing to talk about, but even psychosomatic illness wasn’t enough to show me I was heading in the wrong direction. Back then I would have argued my illness wasn’t psychosomatic, but now I know that it was. I remember believing that being sick would make Steve love and want to take care of me. Did it work? No. Because if you think about it, being sick and needy really isn’t that attractive.
Once I saw this, I stopped longing for Steve to take care of me and started taking care of myself instead. My health soon improved and has become my own responsibility now.
I wonder if you know that codependence can be fatal? Many people die from psychosomatic illness, subconsciously making themselves sick trying to gain love and attention. In my experience just about all codependents suffer from some form of chronic illness.
Stop reaching for the phone. Stop making yourself sick. Stop reaching for things that will hurt you. Instead, try giving yourself the love and care you really need.
Let’s think about it now . . .
What is the first thing you are going to do from now on when you feel upset? What can you do for yourself to get back on track? What actions can you take that will make you happy and also be good for you?”
Because if you can’t find a stronger connection with your own inner calm and happiness, no one else is going to build you the life you want.
Keeping a light heart and your daily goals on track—especially after the fight—is the kind of strength that will be most attractive on the long road ahead.
Your state of mind is the most valuable thing in your life; don’t leave that in anyone else’s hands.
You are going to need all 4 pillars to build a new life—and that includes strong boundaries—but the message here today is where it all starts.
Your new emotional self-control will also be a positive model for your partner. Apologies to each other won’t fix the problem. What you both need is progress in emotional self-discipline. We are all nice when we are happy. The only time can demonstrate self-control is when you have been emotionally derailed.