Skip to content

Relationships and Words

February 14, 2019

When steam builds up, the tea kettle whistles.

It’s nature’s way, and ours.

We’ve all said words we regret. They came out of a time, a moment, when we were not feeling loved, cherished, and adored. It’s often little things that build up. Whatever set our emotions off was something minor, normally no big deal–except that day it was.

Low Emotional Reserves

It caught us with low reserves of feeling loved, secure, safe, respected, strong; of feeling appreciated, heard, or valued—all those basic emotional needs.

After the steam blows.

Our tendency is to point a finger and blame another person…

Except that visually and metaphorically, when we point a finger at someone, anyone, there are three pointing back at us.

In other words, at its root cause is something in our emotional selves that’s hurting—perhaps from another time or relationship—and this day, in that moment, we reacted from the OLD hurt . . .  or just being too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT), when no one is at their best. An innocent turn of phrase, touch, action triggered it. It happens.

Revelation comes to us only in hindsight, by the way. The steam kettle boiled, and you know you’re just majorly overreacted in a situation, maybe saw a dark side of you come through that totally out of character. Tears, angry words, hurtful, unfair ones.

Step back.

Take the kettle off the stove and let the water cool for a bit–when making tea and in the moment. Breathe, or let tears flow. They might be torrential ones when emotions are clearing, releasing. Grab a box of tissues; let it out. Tears, waterworks, releasing held-in emotions.

Communicate that you know you overreacted and you’re not sure, yet, where it came from. And that you need some time and space for now. Then give each other some space and alone time–a long walk, a work out; something physical to continue the release of adrenaline and emotions.

Ask for Insight

In your alone time, ask for insight and go within to figure out who and what you reacted so strongly to. It may surprise you.

Some find writing helps process emotions, allowing whatever is inside to flow onto a page. Let it out, all of it; no judgment or filters or writing class censors. Pages of scrap paper work well. Scrap paper, serving a purpose; to recycle, toss, or tear up later.

When you’re done, read what you wrote . . . or not. Was there an “ah-ha” insight in there? Maybe it will take more time. Allow yourself what you need and eventually, insight will drop in; you’ll know which past hurt triggered such strong emotion. Be gentle with yourself.

And then have another conversation and share the story.

Saying You’re Sorry

This may come earlier or now. Either way, healthy happy relationships include saying we’re sorry . . . for things we’re actually sorry for. (That famous Love Story movie quote had to be written by someone very inexperienced in relationships . . . just saying.)

If a refresher is helpful, here’s a cute little ‘How to Apologize’ video. She suggests writing a script for yourself. To make it easier.


There will be new understandings coming out of this, with another layer of depth in your relationship. And future emotional triggers will be easier to recognize. You may even have a secret phrase you’ll use to diffuse next time much quicker. As in, “Who are we paying for this time?” (Smile here. You now know that somebody, and a situation in your past, is the real culprit.)

An interesting thing happens when we name something and bring it into the light; it’s not so scary or powerful anymore.

Gold and the Sun

Great love relationships are gold and sunlight of our lives; priceless treasures. So is our ability to love.  Be mindful of this. We are everyday players on a center stage — and peripheral stages—of each other’s lives, in both grand and ordinary adventures. We are our storytellers and actors.

Enjoy, play, dance, grieve when you must, create scripts, treat yourself and one another as best you can.

Happy Valentine’s week. Hope you’ve enjoyed these Relationships Center-Stage posts. I’ve enjoyed creating them. Love always

Anne Wondra is owner of WonderSpirit coaching and writing. Connect with her at or

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: