BLOG: Venting for Victory
The Desire to Dump
“When do I get to DUMP?”, he asked? “NOT on each other!” I replied.
I had just helped a couple to create their Shared Relationship Vision aka Marriage Mantra that would guide them to focus on what they both wanted and align them as allies in creating that lofty vision as an everyday reality. Their vision was beautiful and inspiring, yet there was a palpable build up of tension and upset that had not yet been addressed and was not likely to go away on it’s own.
While we like to keep a Forward Focus on what you DO want, sometimes there's a lot you DON'T want that's in the way. Creating inspiring relationship goals on top of ignored or unsettled anger can be like putting icing on a crap cake.
Get the Uglies Out
I knew in that moment I needed to create a support tool for couples to “get the uglies out, just NOT on each other. I had already created a process for a couple to truly see, hear, validate and empathize with each other’s experience and to share their experience from an empowered and empowering context, but even that structure left something key out. When triggered, people often need to vent, but how can couples vent WITHOUT causing lasting damage to their intimacy, trust and partnership.
Human, Not Helpful
Venting IS human, but most often is NOT helpful. Still, it CAN be! IF you are intentional and wise about HOW you do it and even more importantly, WHO you do it with.
Wanting to or even needing to unload any angst, anger or upset onto our partner is totally understandable. Relationships can be tough, triggering and even infuriating. We’re human!
Yes venting can be quite helpful and even healing at times, just NOT with each other. Go ahead and get “the uglies" out. Just don’t do it all over EACH OTHER!
Don't go from biting your tongue to busting your top and unleashing emotional vomit on each other. Avoid causing any permanent damage to your relationship because the words your use and the tones you take can really sting and the damage and distance that creates, LASTS.
What NOT to Do When Venting
Before I describe how to hold onto the handlerails when Venting for Victory, it’s important you consider what NOT to do. When it comes to venting, what NOT to do is even more important that what you actually do. It can take only seconds to destroy your connection and ages to heal the disconnect or hurt of loosely thrown out complaints, criticism or viscious venting gone wild.
Avoid these venting mistakes at all costs:
- Venting to your beloved
- Venting to someone who doesn’t hold your beloved in high esteem. A common way people often dishonor their relationship is by venting with the wrong people. When you have a conflict, be CAREFUL who you vent to.
- Venting and venting and venting and not letting it go.
- Venting and not translating the angst into identifying your core feelings and needs underneath the anger.
- Venting unconsciously or without intention or commitment to doing something about this issue.
What To Do Instead
Here’s a meaningful map to follow when you’re pissed, triggered and need to “get the uglies out” without causing lasting damage to your relationship. Words do more than sting and often the invisible marks they leave LAST. Hold onto these steps as your handlerails to navigate this slippery slope of letting loose of those nasty thoughts circling around in your mind.
Find the Right Person
WHO you vent to is of critical importance. You want to avoid this sensitive exchange with just anyone. Be selective and be wise about who you choose when you wont be being careful about what you say. Remember that you will forgive and forget much easier than any of your friends or family. The image you create of your beloved and your relationship with them will have an impact. So choose wisely!
Be wary of seeking validation of being a victim to your beloved’s actions.
Make sure that you are talking to the right person, someone who holds you, your beloved and your relationship in high regard. Someone who will both listen to you and not listen to you. They will hold space for you to let it all out without getting wrapped up in the story and drama of it all.
A common way people often dishonor their relationship is by venting with the wrong people. When you have a conflict, be careful who you vent to. Venting can be very healthy, IF you do it with the right people and in a clear context.
Don’t vent to your beloved. They likely have their own triggers. Get the uglies out, but don’t get emotional vomit all over your beloved and your relationship. Get yourself straight first. Own your own upset. Identify what is really going on on YOUR side before you approach your beloved.
Don’t vent to friends or family who will take you too seriously. Be wary of seeking validation and sympathy. Reach out to someone who will listen to you AND your beloved as great, just human.
If you’re triggered, vent to someone who will both listen and not listen to you. Meaning they will hold a compassionate space for you and ALSO hold your beloved in compassionate regard as well. They will take your frustrations in stride, knowing we all get frustrated and say things we do not mean. Best to get it out with someone else and not blow up on your beloved later. Better yet, get yourself a professional support with the Venting for Victory personalized coaching session.
It’s all too easy for you to forgive and move on, but your friends and family won't be as forgiving. You’ll have built up an unfavorable image of your beloved that may be hard to recover from.
Key Questions to Consider BEFORE You Vent
- WHO are you going to talk to.
- HOW are you going to talk to them - Who actually supports your relationships? Is there someone that feels safe to both you and your beloved to vent to?
- WHEN are you going to talk to them - It might help to take a few minutes to calm yourself a bit before you go off. Take a walk, a shower or whatever helps you reset.
- WHAT’S the context for talking to them - listen and NOT listen. Be there for you in the moment but not get sucked into the story of the moment. they're not going to take me seriously they're not going to think any less of my beloved if it's someone who already has a problem with your beloved
- How LONG are your going to vent for? Set a timer.
- WHAT will you do after you’re done venting? Do you commit to translate your upset and angst into action and intimacy?
Make sure that you're not leaving an impression with the person you’re venting to that’s going to be longer lasting for them than it is for you.
Hopefully you have friends or family around you that will listen to you vent and hold space for you and after all of that, they’ll say, “Are you done, are you interested in GENERATING something? What is it that you WANT? What is it that you're COMMITTED to?
What to Do When Venting
- Venting with a professional - a coach, therapist or someone who is designated to be there for you.
- Venting to someone who does hold your beloved in high esteem. Venting only to those who hold your beloved and your relationship in the highest. They will both listen to you and not take the conflict too seriously. They wont hold what you say against your beloved or start to think less of them.
- Vent, get it out and move forward.
- Translate any angst into core feelings and needs.
- Venting consciously with intention and commitment to doing something about this issue.
- If you're going to vent, actually SAY that you're venting. Alert the person your are speaking with that you know you are venting so they know to not take what you say in a moment of anger too seriously. Declare it! “I'm upset right now and I need to vent. Can you listen to me right now, but not take this too seriously?” Just acknowledge the nature of what you’re about to say.
Let ‘Er Rip
Once you’ve got the right person and the right time, then go for it and get as critical as you want. Let it out!
- What are your complaints?
- What’s the WORST thing you’ve thought about your beloved and this issue?
- What really pissed you off?
- What have you wanted to say/scream, but bit your tongue?
I recommend that before you start, you decide on how many minutes you want to vent then set a timer. You want to let it all out and really let ‘er rip, but you do NOT want to get swept up with no end in sight. Be fully expressed, but don’t be indulgent and don’t get stuck in the muck of your current conflict. The whole point here is to let this pass through you in a healthy and helpful way and avoid hurting your relationship.
Even though you’re angry, don’t lose sight that this IS your beloved. The goal here is to honor your own experience while refraining from causing damage that can’t be easily repaired. That’s why you give yourself the freedom to say it ALL, without saying it all to your beloved.
Go For It and Get Gross
Often when a client begins to unburden themselves from the negative and even nasty thoughts that may have surfaced, they tend to hold back a bit. Once they’re not in the midst of the trigger, the might get embarrassed at their own anger or feel guilty for the terrible thoughts they’ve had.
It’s OK! THIS is the time and place to got for it and even get gross. Call them names. Say what you have thought, but never said before. Think of what the worst thing you’ve ever thought was and come up with what is actually WORSE.
It’s about this point where most people begin to get grossed out by their own negativity. That’s a natural and healthy progression, but if you don’t get the uglies out, they fester and grow and often leak out at inappropriate times.
Relief and Release
After you have let ‘er rip and even gotten gross about it all, you’ll likely notice a sense of relief or at least a sense of release. This is the point!
A training program I once attended coached us with the memorable mantra, “What you resist, persists”. If you hold it all in, you’ll likely explode at some point and say or do things you will soon regret, but they wont be easy or quick to move beyond the damage and hurt they leave behind.
Empowered and Empowering
Don’t be satisfied with just dumping. Yes, the release can feel amazing. Still, it’s wise to translate all that angst into action and quality communication. Once you’ve let it all out in a healthy and helpful way, then aim to identify the feelings and needs underneath then venting and to create an empowered and empowering communication to deliver to your beloved.
Yes venting can be helpful and even healthy. Just don’t get stuck there. After you have gotten the uglies out, translate the angst into intimacy and action by identifying what your actual core feelings and needs are around this issue. Prepare yourself to communicate with your beloved in and empowered and empowering way that invites something new to emerge.
- Get clear on your INTENTION for sharing what you’re going to share. It’s NOT to rub their face in crap. WHY are you sharing this? To build intimacy and trust? To move beyond the hurts? To do better next time?
- Identify your top 3 FEELINGS about this issue at hand.
- Get clear on your top 3 NEEDS to address this issue.
- Craft your top 3 REQUESTS - Come up with 3 OPTIONS, but also invite your beloved’s “counter offer with other options” as well.
- Before you share your feelings, needs and any requests with your beloved, REINFORCE what is already working in this area and any progress or even effort that has been shown. Be generous here.
- Share your feelings, needs and requests from an empowered and empowering place. The goal is to RESOLVE the issue and RECONNECT not to just dump and “get it off your chest”.
It’s true. Sometimes you just gotta let it ALL out. Just be sure that before you really let er’ rip, you’re doing it in a way that won't cause any lasting damage to your relationship.
Venting can be healthy and even helpful, IF you do it in the right way, with the right people and in a clear context.
Habits Determine Happiness
Remember that your relationship HABITS will determine your relationship HAPPINESS. This Venting for Victory process can save you a lot of heart ache, distance and distress. Make it a habit and part of your Couple Culture.
Masterclass, PLAYbook and Personalized Support
Want to know more about Venting for Victory? Check out this Masterclass and PLAYbook for step by step instructions on how to vent in a way that actually helps rather than hurts.
Want or need personalized support? Turn "the uglies" into INTIMACY with the Venting for Victory coaching sessions.
- When you’re triggered and tempted to vent with your beloved, don’t. Post a reminder visibly where you will see it until this becomes a habit and part of your couple culture.
- Get grounded, take a few deep breaths, take a shower or a walk.
- Select someone who is a healthy and helping hand to vent with.
- Ask them if they will hold space for you without getting hooked into the story and to hold you, your beloved and your relationship in the highest.
- Vent, let ‘er rip. Get gross even. Go for it!
- Translate the venting into your feelings, needs and requests.
- Bring your feelings needs and requests to your beloved from an empowered and empowering context. Set up an appointment to talk or find a good time that works for both of you. Make the time.
- BONUS: Attend the Masterclass, fill out the PLAYbook or get personalized support with Gaby.
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