Taking Up Arms

 Posted by on July 6, 2012
Jul 062012

I’ve been a person who goes with her gut for decades now, and my gut is sending very strong signals that my first article for Fearless Press be about taking up arms.  How does this map to a column about health, communication and relationships?  How, indeed.

Have you ever been in a moment with someone where you’re just going along, having a great time, doing your thing, and they suddenly snap at you?  I mean, like total meltdown?  Doesn’t matter if it’s your partner, child or co-worker, how you react in the moments immediately following the blow-up are critical.

First thing’s first.  It isn’t about you.  I know that it’s coming towards you, but it isn’t about you.  You may have done (or not done) something that set the person off, but their temper tantrum is about them, so own that.  Feel it in your body.  Stand still and think to yourself “this is about them”.

Next, do not engage.  To the best of your ability, don’t try to prove or disprove the person who is all upset, just be with them.  Stand your ground, open your heart, breathe into your hands and feet, and be with them.

So where does the taking up arms thing come in?  Well, if you thought it has to do with the person who is having the conniption fit, you are wrong.  The person taking up arms in this scenario is you – the person towards whom the storm is pointed.

“But Bendy, how can I not engage and take up arms?  Taking up arms has a combative connotation,” you ask.  Depends on how you’re holding the (metaphoric) weapon, I say.  Take a sword for example.  Were I to hold a sword in my hand and point it directly at someone, that would be highly combative.

If, however, you held your sword like the fellow to the right, it would act like the bow of a boat, creating a kind of shield for all of the crap that is coming towards you.  Think of it – the waves of anger, frustration, yelling and whatever else just washing by you like the waves a boat creates when moving through water.

If you can stand there, holding your (metaphoric) sword, and not try to change or fix anything with the person who is freaking out, something amazing is likely to occur.  The person who has been losing their shit in your specific direction will run out of steam.  They may even experience being heard, which is something we all want.  Most adults (and by adult I mean emotionally mature individuals) will even apologize for the outburst and move to make amends or remove themselves from the conversation.

Crisis averted. And all you had to do was stand there in a specific way.  You can practice ‘taking up arms’ by imagining yourself being calm and holding up your sword.  With regular practice, it will become second nature.

  2 Responses to “Taking Up Arms”

  1. Great article Bendy, protecting your own emotional well-being is really important. It doesn’t mean you can’t be there for someone who’s having a “meltdown” but you don’t have to get sucked into that kind of energy.

  2. Really like this article ! I will definitely make sure to try some of these strategies in the future. I tend to get really rather frustrated when someone’s temper is rolling over me and poisoning the whole room or place, yet I can’t make it right or help make it stop.