Have you ever gotten so triggered or upset that you can’t even recall what a fight was about or what started an argument?
This is not uncommon, as it is our natural internal defense mechanism to fight or flee in times of perceived danger. Dr. Gottman refers to this as “Flooding.”
If we feel threatened, either emotionally, physically, or mentally, our brain is triggered to protect. Our adrenaline and heart rate increase; the average person becomes flooded when their heart rate reaches 100 beats per minute.
The blood from our brain moves to our organs for protection. Although we are no longer defending ourselves against bears as in the past, our bodies still react to threats in the same ways.
As our brain gets less blood flow, we lose the ability to hear others effectively and rationalize. We lack a sense of humor, impulse increases, and even our vision is impaired. These are often the times that we feel brave enough to share our ‘REAL’ feelings.
For today, I’d like for you to identify when this has happened for you. What do you remember most about the situation? Was it how you felt emotionally, what you felt physically, or how you responded?
Write down what you found… it will be useful for tomorrow as we further dive into our communication patterns when flooded and why we cannot effectively express ourselves in those moments.