Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “If mom’s not happy, no one’s happy.” We find that if anyone in our household is struggling, the rest of us tend to be impacted, too. What can you do if you notice that a loved one is in a negative space?
If possible, we suggest having a discussion with your loved one when you’re both in a positive space, feeling hopeful about the relationship. Consider inviting your loved one to take turns exchanging ideas concerning ways you both can support each other when you get into a negative space. Some people may want a few minutes to get alone and think or pray. Others may desire to talk immediately and might have a suggestion regarding what will help de-escalate them.
If your loved one is in a negative space before you’ve been able to discuss it from a positive space, consider asking one of the following questions: “Is there anything you need from me right now?” or “Have I done something to upset you?” or “I want to be connected to you. Would you want to go for a walk?”
The individual may accept your bid for connection, responding wonderfully, or…they may resist. Encourage yourself to accept resistance as normal. Though it can be difficult, when we get into a negative space, we tend to feel shameful about ourselves and assume that others might perhaps possibly…be better off without us. So if you’re able, keep showing them love.
We believe you can work to shorten the amount of time spent in a negative space by being curious. Be curious about what helps you when you get stuck in a negative space. Be curious about what might help others. Keep brainstorming. When one idea doesn’t work, try another.
We are working to bring God into our negative spaces quickly. Did you know that many people find it difficult to pray when they’re angry or upset about a relationship issue? Though this may be common, it doesn’t have to be our norm. We can change our habits with practice!
If you’d like to learn more about the theory behind our negative spaces, it’s called Switch Theory. Watch this playlist, or read this article to learn more. If you’d like to dig deeper, we unpack the theory in our program Why People Leave. Our goal is to help people stay whenever possible and when staying isn’t an option, we believe people can leave well.