Sunday, October 17, 2010

Love notes

You know how when you are tired, everything seems magnified? I can feel my emotions inflating, and yet, when given the opportunity for face-to-face resolution, I either freeze or explode. My eldest daughter has inherited this tendency, and when she gets overtired and upset, it can take forever to resolve. However, the intensity of her feelings is so strong that she cannot rest or shelve it for awhile and then come back to the issue.

Last night she was in full meltdown mode, when I wrote a message to her on my phone telling her how much I loved her and that I wanted to help her if I could. She went very quiet for a minute or two, then typed out a message explaining how angry she was with me. We wound up sending about 8 messages back and forth.

I think that typing it out--especially on a phone--caused us both to think more carefully about what we were saying. Isn't there research that talks about how when you engage the part of the brain responsible for the things like typing, etc, that it moves away from the more emotional part of the brain?

I think we have all felt how, during a tense conversation, it is nice to be some place like driving in the car, where you can avoid eye contact when you feel uncomfortable and give each other space, both physically and psychologically. You are close enough to stay focused on resolving things, but you have breathing room to gather your thoughts and rein in feelings that are trying to run away with you.

As our conversation moved through the different issues, we each shared our perspectives, and moved to forgiveness and restored harmony. I was so impressed with how clearly she expressed herself, and how much easier it was for both of us to get through it without any added drama. She handed me back the phone and wrapped her arms around me so tightly. I am excited about a new tool for our toolbox, and incredibly grateful for my precious, expressive girl who is still teaching me.

No comments: