Code words. This is something my husband and I found that works for us.
We came up with a word that was totally random that we could use when he would begin to get into his angry rantings. This was used to diffuse the situation, and for him to know he needed to chill out. He would walk away and cool off. The word we use is acorn. We haven’t had to use it in a while. As the rages slowly went away, we would use it in other ways, if one of us were to go off into a drawn out rant about one thing or another and needed to cool out. Lately we haven’t found the need to use this code word, as we are both learning to communicate again. Please note that is an everyday process, and we still don’t have all the answers.
Another word we use is “noted.” We use it when I am saying something he doesn’t necessarily want to hear, which is usually about getting back into therapy or something to do with his health. So I know he hears me and understands, but doesn’t want to talk about it, he says noted. This way I back off, but I’ve at least said what I needed to. In doing this particular code word, I’ve also had to gage his moods, and know when I can approach certain subjects and when I can’t.
It has all been a learning curve, figuring out what works for us, and what doesnt. I’m still learning, and at times, adjusting. I don’t claim to know everything. In fact I know very little. I only know what we have gone through, what we have tried, what works and doesn’t work for us. Everyday it takes hard work. Sometimes when life is moving so fast you can’t catch your breath, it is easy to forget. I’m human and I make mistakes. But the key to that is learning from those mistakes, and changing it so I don’t do it again.
My parents always told me, in life, nothing comes easy. I never understood that until going through all that we have. Life isn’t a fairy tale, and it isn’t happily ever after. Life is about learning and hard work. Relationships take both. Love isn’t always enough. Learning to work together, instead of against one another has helped us. But it is one day at a time, one step at a time, taken together. I know there will be misteps, but it is taking from those misteps to try and make sure they don’t happen again.