I have discussed lots of things with IC and with my domestic abuse group. One of the things/techniques that has come up often is the "time out". A technique used to stop any hurt feelings or frustrations escalating into anger and potential physical abuse. We discuss on here the emotional abuse we inflict on out BS, but rarely do we cover the abuse suffered through anger. While the time out is designed to attempt to stop the physical abuse, it can also help reduce physical intimidation, arguments, other forms of abuse and even the times of stunned silence we shift into.
Before reading and learning, I would "take five" which would mean me walking into another room, muttering to myself, take a couple of breaths and then back into the discussion/argument we were having. This, of course, never worked.
A time out needs to be discussed in advance (discuss the concept, safe words, plan of where to go, length of time) so that the other party is aware of what is happening and what is going to happen while the time out is in effect.
A quick google will show a number of different methods to work out when a time out is needed. The ones I have encountered suggest using a scale 0 - 100 and normally a temperature gauge. The idea being to STOP the temperature getting to 100.
Everyone has different physical and emotional indicators of when they're getting annoyed. It's worth reading up on this to work out your own. The recommendation would then be to take a time out when you it 60 or 70 rather than allowing yourself to get to 100 when it's too late.
There are a number of steps which need to be taken for the time out to be effective:
- Take your temperature. Check your feelings and think where you are on your scale. If you've reached your exit point, then you need to proceed with the time out
- Tell your partner that you need to take a time out. Tell them you're concerned that if you stay in the home any longer then you're worried about controlling your behaviour. As you have discussed this in advance then this should not be a surprise.
- Tell you partner how long you will be (most recommend 40 minutes to an hour) and promise you will return after this agreed time period. If after an hour you still feel like your temperature has not reduced sufficiently, contact your partner and tell then you need another 30 minutes.
- Leave the home. Going to another room is not sufficient. Do not drive, go to a bar or visit family or friends during this time. Go for a walk, use any breathing techniques or mindfulness. Bring yourself back down and then continue with the time out until you've been in this calmer place for a while.
- Contact your partner and tell then you're returning home. When home continue with the discussion. Return home at the agreed time, unless you've agreed to more time.
Other advise includes, do not abuse the time out, do not take one just to avoid a difficult conversation. Learn from the time out what triggers the anger and work on this with a view to it not being an anger trigger in the future.
A detailed version of this can be found in "Stop Hurting The Woman You Love"
Is this something that you have used with your partners? How was/is it? Have you encountered any problems?
[This message edited by Bulcy at 10:34 PM, Monday, May 16th]