Co-parenting, especially when there is conflict, is very emotional. Often, if not always, co-parents try to resolve issues when they’re in emotionally reactive states, and that is almost always a set-up for disaster.
You see, when we are in emotionally reactive states, our brains are compromised. We know this now from all the brain research that has been done over the last years. Here’s one thing that happens when we get in emotionally reactive states:
We lose our ability to use reason and logic. THIS IS EXTREMELY PROBLEMATIC! Someone told me once that when we’re in emotionally reactive states we lose 30 IQ points! I’m not sure that’s exactly true, but it is absolutely true that we get dumber!
If we lose reason and logic, we can’t think clearly about the problem we are faced with. We react with emotion, not SMARTS. We get super-dumb and do super-dumb things. We often wind up regretting the things we do, because the things we do when we’re in these states are super-ineffective. Do you want to negotiate with your co-parent while in such a debilitated state? You are negotiating about the most important thing to you- your children. Don’t you want to be as grounded and smart as possible?
Co-parents are often taught a lot about how to behave as a co-parent, but when you are triggered into emotionally reactive states, everything you know FLIES OUT THE WINDOW, because you are no longer using your SMARTS, you are using your DUMBS! You are acting out of the part of your brain that has very few resources.
So, if you want to be effective in your co-parenting situations, you better know how to work with these emotional states. Otherwise, you are going to be doing the same things over and over again, and getting NOWHERE.
Often, the repetitive conversations or patterns or dynamics that co-parents happen when both co-parents are in emotionally reactive states. That is why they are so unproductive and frustrating. You can’t control your co-parents emotional reactivity, but you can control your own! If you learn to take care of your side of the street, it will improve things dramatically!
THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO! You don’t have to be at mercy of your emotional states!