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Guide Overview

No Fight Zones

There are times to discuss conflict and times not to. These boundaries around the "when" of conflict resolution work will help prevent some wasted energy and confusion in your relationship.
February 24, 2023
Summary Notes

- Physical wellbeing affects participation in a cooperative conflict model in specific ways

- Sleep and sobriety impact ability to participate in conflict resolution

- Research shows that lack of sleep impairs cognitive function similarly to being drunk

- Couples conflicts often stem from sleep deprivation or alcohol consumption during conflict

- Rule in relationships: no conflicts when drinking or sleep deprived

- Napping and eating before conflicts can help avoid heated discussions

- Write down thoughts and save for later when sober to see if they still hold relevance

- Hunger (hangry) can also contribute to conflicts and should be addressed

- Commitments to boundaries around conflicts should be made, such as not engaging in fights when drinking or sleep deprived

- Both partners must be committed to these boundaries for them to work effectively

- A state of wellness (nourished, rested, and sober) leads to faster resolution of conflicts.

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Physical wellbeing has a connection to whether or not we can participate in a cooperative conflict model in very specific ways. Sleep and sobriety, I don't mean constant long-term sobriety, but I mean in the context of the middle of a conflict. If you are not sober, you cannot be Cooper. Brain isn't processing properly.

Even if you seem cooperative during that discussion, you might wake up the next day and have a lot of different thoughts about what happened because you weren't in a fully conscious state of mind. And the research on sleep is actually quite similar. When we don't have enough sleep, we are kind of drunk.

I can't tell you how many couples conflicts come into my therapy office surrounding these two. Have a rule in your relationship that we don't fight when we're drinking and we don't fight when someone or both of us have had very little sleep. If you have newborn or a couple of young children and you aren't sleeping that well, you are going to want to fight more because you are desperate and exhausted.

Make it a rule that each of you gets a nap before you talk about whatever conflict. And if someone or both of you are drinking and a conflict arises, remind each other. This matters to us. Each of us are gonna write down on a piece of paper what it is we're thinking right now and what we're trying to get across, and then we're gonna save it and we're gonna talk about it when we're both sober.

You'd be amazed how many of those papers the next day become irrelevant. You're like, oh, I actually don't feel that way. That was part of my drunken brain when, you know, what else fights when you're hangry, it's not a bad ritual. As a couple, if you're getting into a really heated discuss, To stop and say, does either of us need a snack?

Have we eaten? Are our brains nourished? Or are we more desperate in this dialogue because well, hi. Now don't use these things as accusations with each other. It shouldn't be like, well, you know what? I think you're actually just hungry. None of what you're saying matters. But together, make a commitment.

Just like you commit to the boundaries of your relationship, however you define those, when you are giving your vows, if you're getting married, or if you are having that D T R, define the relationship and you're coming up with. These are the things that we're committing to each other. Have commitments around your conflicts.

I commit that if I'm drinking, I won't try to continue a fight with you or I won.  under, you know, circumstances of very little sleep. Try to address one of the big major struggles in our dynamic. You both have to be committed to these boundaries. Otherwise, obviously, it won't work. Your brain. Being in a state of wellness through being fed, through being slapped, and through being sober will help your conflicts be less messy and resolve faster.