SAN0088 – Confronting Overwhelm as a Couple
In your life with your spouse or partner, you will experience problems ranging from daily difficulties to major challenges. Though job- or family-related issues are normal, there is no question that they can overwhelm you or your spouse/partner, affecting your emotional health and relationships. This is why such matters can be considered issues for a couple to confront and resolve together.
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The support of a spouse or partner is very powerful to stay strong in the face of an emotional crisis. If you and your spouse aren’t getting support from each other, it can ruin your relationship. Challenges are inevitable, but there are ways to recognize and manage them so that your health and relationships don’t have to suffer. Finding a way to talk is important. If you have difficulty talking without hurting each other, consider counseling.
Emotional Overwhelm: What Is It?
Emotional overwhelm or flooding is something that you or your spouse/partner may feel when you are swamped by too many events going on at one time. Though negative changes and situations are likely to trigger the surging of overwhelm, it isn’t unusual for positive life events to trigger it as well. If there is one person whom you expect to be there for you at this time, it would be your partner.
Unfortunately, emotional overwhelm can hijack your (or your spouse’s or partner’s) brain, so that you can’t seem to recognize what is reasonable or common sense. According to In Focus, “Any person who is engaged in and experiencing emotional flooding cannot hear without distortion or respond with clarity in a dispassionate way.” The brain gets too wrapped up in intense emotions that distort your perceptions, so you can hardly organize your thoughts or respond to life situations with clarity, logic, and decisiveness.
Are You/Your Spouse Experiencing Overwhelm?
Emotional overwhelm can make you feel irritable, anxious, helpless, and hopeless. These feelings can make you behave in such a way that others find you difficult to relate/interact with. If the symptoms are severe, it may even hinder your functionality. If you or your spouse/partner is overwhelmed, you should stay on top of the situation.
What are the symptoms of emotional overwhelm? Aside from noticeable irritability, crying, and lashing out without justifiable reason, other signs include depressive and anxiety symptoms, such as extreme sadness, constant anger, and excessive worry over things that aren’t that important. In serious cases, overwhelm can persist for months and affect you or your partner’s functioning.
What Overwhelm Can Do to Your Marriage/Relationship
Overwhelm can happen to you. It can happen to your spouse or partner. It can also happen to your marriage or relationship. When it does happen, you may have difficulty organizing your thoughts, feelings, and responses, and tend to fall back on primitive reactions, which can be to stop, to escape, or to strike back. In other words, you may just react without thinking or relating the different interconnected issues.
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If you experience these symptoms and don’t understand what’s going on, meeting your needs can be extremely challenging. If the other spouse thinks that the overwhelmed one is just overreacting, it can breed misunderstanding and conflict. With this line of thinking, the unaffected one isn’t likely to be supportive, while the affected one suffers without support.
Finding the Balance
Nobody is immune from getting overwhelmed when too many changes and challenges pour into your life. If one spouse feels swamped, the other spouse/partner can be overwhelmed too. When this happens, both of you can become oversensitive and hyper-aroused to fight. Everything can be easily misconstrued as an insult, a grievance, or an opposition-then conflict ensues.
Overwhelm can take your relationship to a dangerous point if you fail to recognize the signs. To avoid such a catastrophic shift in your relationship, don’t just rely on personal effort to fix matters between you. At a time like this, you need to balance your life with the assistance of a capable counselor.
Breaking Overwhelm with Counseling
When you are overwhelmed, you can get caught in a cycle of scorn and criticism, distressing thoughts and confusing feelings, defensiveness, and the desire to hurt or bottle everything up. It can harm your self-control, empathy, and emotional self-awareness. To survive overwhelm and avoid burnout and eventual meltdown, “couples need to be able to establish strong emotional connection with each other and listen to each other’s heart.” Rebuilding and reinforcing your emotional connection is possible with the help of an independently contracted counselor with Carolina Counseling Services in Sanford, NC.
Don’t wait for emotional overwhelm to sabotage your marriage. Don’t sit back and watch as your most valued relationship takes a plunge into the abyss of marital issues or divorce. If you want overwhelm to end, you have to act now. Meet overwhelm head-on as a couple-call Carolina Counseling Services in Sanford, NC.
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