Fighting With Your Partner Can Affect You Physically Too!
They say conflict anxiety is a thing. I am not sure if I have that but I do know that when fights aren’t resolved properly or not at all, it really stresses me out. I don’t see the point. Why can’t we humans just discuss things out calmly? It sucks to fight with a loved one, especially your partner because your body, your mind and everything goes in stress mode. It’s like someone ripped off the spring in your step, like someone tied the laces of both your shoes together and you’re just falling flat on your face.
How does it feel not knowing if they will leave you after a fight? Sometimes when we are mad at them, even the small issues seem like big ones. And before you know it, you’re saying things that really hurt the other person. Oh God, I hate fights.
I believe every couple fights but what matters is how you resolve your conflicts. What do you do when you are so mad at them that you absolutely hate their guts in that moment? Do you show them compassion? Do you need time to cool down? And when you do have time to reflect, do you wonder why on earth should you waste precious moments being upset with someone you love? Does their silent treatment hurt your soul?
These are bad for your relationship, yes. But these fights, the frequent ones can affect your body too. Here’s how.
Your body’s fight or flight system gets activated
“Arguing with a significant other can cause activation of our fight or flight system,” sex and relationship therapist Jeanette Tolson, LCSW, CASAC told The List. “This system gets our body prepared to react to something in our environment that we need to get away from. When this system turns on, our blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing frequency increase.” And when this system gets activated, we feel we are under attack. Is that why we act so defensively? Maybe.
Your brain will refuse to rationalise
“Arguments help to engage the danger signals in your brain, which then turns off the brain’s ability to take in new information,” explained licensed clinical professional counselor Julienne Derichs. “Your brain is only interested in whether or not you need to ‘take flight, stand and fight, or freeze’ to manage the dangerous situation,” Derichs added. This makes it difficult for you to really listen what your partner is saying. It might make the situation worse as you become more defensive and less empathetic.
You feel drained
“The process of arguing is stressful. And like other stressful situations, it is very physiological,” Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, and host of The Web radio show told The List. “Increases in muscle tension, the release of stress hormones, [and] increased autonomic nervous system arousal all are in play. It can make you physically tired, cause headaches, gastrointestinal problems, muscle aches, and more.” This is why after long, multiple arguments you feel completely drained. It’s important to take time out and recover emotionally and physically from an argument with your partner. Fights can be physically tiring.
You can actually fall sick
When you’re stressed, your body’s immune system goes down. This means you are more susceptible to catching illnesses. You may also experience lack of sleep, blood pressure fluctuations, tension headaches, restlessness and more. Stress can also mess with your hormones causing issues with your period and acne problems. No wonder I look so bad when I am unhappy.
Your body experiences stress
Támara Hill, MS, NCC, LPC told The List, “When cortisol is released through the body we may feel physiological changes such as tension headaches, tensed muscles, dizziness, heart palpitations, sweating, nervousness, agitation, anxiety, racing thoughts, and other physiological symptoms of stress.” If after or during a fight, you find your heart racing, palms getting sweaty and a sinking feeling in your chest, a huge dose of cortisol is messing with you. Take time to calm down, get some sleep (which helps decrease the stress hormone) and disconnect from your source of stress. At least until your brains are ready to get out of the fight or flight mode and help you rationalise again.