218 - I've HALTed. Now What?

HALT, which stands for - Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired. We also like to include horny, drinking and sick to the mix but HHALTDS just doesn't have the same ring to it. This acronym is used often in addiciton recovery to encourage an addict to check in with themselves and see what is causing their urge to use. We also like to use it for relationship checkins AND actually halting and taking time to process. So once you've halted, now what do you do? On this episode, we talk about what it means to HALT, why you should HALT and what to do next. We've got some strategies for you to make the best of this HALT period. 

Questions to ask yourself:

What is hidden from me right now?

What else might they have going on? 

What else might I have going on? 

Am I trying to be right more than connect?

Could I focus more on connecting than competing?

Could pouring love or understanding into the situation right now help us better connect? (We are coming in short right now. Take some time if you want)

What would a more conscious version of me do right now? 

What do I love about this person?

What am I projecting onto this situation?

Am I triggered?

Is it actually related to them or to some experience in my own past?

Multiamory was created by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren, and Emily Matlack.

Our theme music is Forms I Know I Did by Josh and Anand.

Please send us your feedback and questions to info@multiamory.com, find us on Instagram @Multiamory_Podcast, tweet at us @Multiamory, check out our Facebook Page, visit our website Multiamory.com, or you can leave us a voicemail at 678-MULTI-05. We love to hear from our listeners and we read every message.

Transcript

This document may contain small transcription errors. If you find one please let us know at info@multiamory.com and we will fix it ASAP.

Dedeker: Jase accuses me of yelling all the time.

Emily: Really?

Dedeker: To me I'm like, "I don't. I'm not yelling. Maybe I'm speaking a little bit stridently."

Emily: Exactly.

Jase: Because you're just using flowery words.

Dedeker: No.

Emily: No, we're not, okay?

Jase: I'm not yelling, I'm being strident.

Dedeker: Okay. No, but it's true, though.

Emily: I'm impassioned.

If you're happy with the same old ways of dating.

Dedeker: If you enjoy sucking at communication.

Jase: And you have no desire to improve your romantic life. Then, our podcast might not be for you.

Dedeker: But if you want some out-of-the-box ideas to deepen your current relationships.

Emily: Broaden your sexual horizons.

Dedeker: Develop a better understanding of yourself.

Emily: Or learn more about non-monogamy.

Jase: Then you've come to the right place. I'm Jase.

Emily: I'm Emily.

Dedeker: I'm Dedeker.

Jase: This is the Multiamory Podcast.

[music]

On this episode of the Multiamory Podcast, we're talking about halting. We love to talk about halting on this show, which for those of you don't know, it means taking a break or a pause in the middle of something heated like a fight or an argument so that you can cool off and come back to the conversation with a level-head. It's hard enough to know how to get in the habit of actually doing the halting in the first place. In this episode, we want to talk about once you've stopped, now what? What if you halt and then you still feel pissed off? It seems like, well, that was a waste. We're going to actually talk about what halting is for, but first, let's review a little bit about what halt means and how to do it.

Dedeker: Yes, we have the traditional normal style HALTS, the acronym H-A-L-T. I don't know who came up with this acronym originally. It's if you do a Google search of HALTS, it's just all over the internet. It's a little bit difficult to track down the origin. Supposedly, I got a lead that the acronym was first used and or created by St. Thomas Hospital in 1941.

Emily: Wow, a long time ago.

Dedeker: Yes, but specifically as a relapse prevention tool for people who-

Jase: With like drug addiction?

Dedeker: -yes, people who are working through addiction. I can't find any sources to necessarily back that up or verify that. If you do a search on the internet, you'll find people apply it to parenting, they do apply it to recovering from addiction, they apply it to relationships, they apply it to work situations. All across the board, you'll find that people apply HALT as a principal.

Jase and Emily: What does it mean?

Dedeker: Well, you got to tell me.

Jase: [laughs] Well, okay, the H-A-L-T stands for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. It's basically a way to check in with yourself and ask like, "Am I feeling this way because of any of those things? Am I experiencing any of these things?" If so, to stop, to halt. It's like a dual purpose thing. That's why it's really caught on so much, because it's both an acronym and also the thing you need to do. The fundamentals of it is you use it as a checking tool and that you take a break from the situation. It's interesting to think about it in terms of for relapse prevention for drug abuse, that that is really interesting, because in that case, it's-

Emily: Like why are you choosing to use this drug again?

Dedeker: I think, yes, it's like in moments where you're feeling tempted, or you're feeling craving, or feeling-- Yes, just a moment where your resolve feels weaker. Is kind of checking in like, "Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired?" Because those are also situations where we tend to turn to substances or turn to the things that help to either numb those feelings or distract us from those feelings.

Jase: Yes, actually, even thinking of just of everyday substances that a person might want to stop doing something like caffeine, or nicotine, or alcohol, or sugar even when you'll be like, "I'm not going to do this thing," but then you find those times you're like, "Well, it might be nice, though." Is to check in like, "Am I one of these things?" Because I know for me, it's usually tired and I guess maybe hungry too. If I'm tired, my ability to make the choices that I've decided I want to make goes way, way down. That's the one that really gets me.

Emily: I definitely get way more emotional when I get tired as well in maybe not the most productive way. Yes, as we've talked about halt over the years on this show, we expanded it a bit because we felt like maybe halt the original acronym left out a couple other things that we felt were indicators that maybe you should stop a conversation. Or maybe you should think before even entering into a conversation. They include the following. It is now HHALTD. HHALTD.

Dedeker: Can you at least tell us how many letters are in there and which letters they are?

Emily: H-H-A-L-T-D-S, HHALTDS.

Jase: HHALTDS.

Emily: Yes, that doesn't really roll off the tongue quite like halters.

Dedeker: It takes your entire breath to say the one word.

Emily: HHALTDS.

Dedeker: HHALTDS.

Jase: HHALTDS.

Emily: Exactly, yes.

Jase: I like it and is my favorite part.

Emily: I know, but it's a disaster. Now we have created and made it into horny, hungry, angry, lonely, tired, drinking, or sick.

Dedeker: Well, I don't know why you said drinking with a question mark.

Jase: Yes, why was that?

Emily: Well, because originally, I was going to be like, "I thought that it was drunk," but drinking is different.

Jase: You changed it at one point.

Dedeker: Yes, actually, I'll just go ahead and jump into that, the drinking rather than the drunk is because I think I realized that you can get into an argument about what counts is drunk or not for certain people. Honestly, I know for myself, if I've had a glass of wine or two glasses of wine, if someone says to me, "You're drunk," and I'm like, "I'm not drunk," but I'm definitely being influenced by the alcohol. I'm definitely in a situation where it probably would not be good for me to enter into a conversation.

Jase: You know how in LA we have these billboards that say "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving" and it show the pictures of people in car accidents, buzz versus drunk, and it's the same picture or whatever, like that's the whole campayn.

Emily: I haven't seen that. I've just seen it on a thing driving down the four or five.

Jase: Or like on the reader board things that's-- Yes.

Emily: Just the reader board, but okay.

Jase: Yes, buzzed driving is drunk traffic. What if we changed this to buzz and it was HHALTBS?

[laughter]

Emily: Wait, HHALTBS?

Dedeker: I don't like that, because-

Jase: It's a buzzed or sick.

Dedeker: -same BS it seems to contradict it though.

Jase: Yes, I know.

Emily: I see, halt BS. Okay.

Jase: HHALTBS.

Emily: HHALTBS.

Jase: HHALTBS.

Dedeker: I like key thing is that it is drinking.

Emily: Yes. If you are continuing to drink as you're getting into an argument, or as you're getting into a discussion that might be heated-

Jase: It can speed up the thinking.

Emily: Yes. Well, I was just saying it can escalate. Exactly, it can escalate the heatedness. Yes. Okay, that's probably why we added drinking, but why did we add horny and sick? What do you all think?

Jase: I feel like both of them just make sense. I think, the horny one it's like-

Emily: It just reminds me of Sex in the City.

Jase: Wait, how so?

Emily: Because there was this episode where Charlotte wanted to have her boyfriend at the time, Harry, become or marry her, even though she wasn't Jewish. They were having sex and she was like, "So we'll get married, right?" And he's like, "Yes," but as he's cuming, he's like, "Yes, yes, yes." Then the next day she's like, "Oh my gosh, I'm so excited because you said that we would get married even though I'm not Jewish and he's like, "We were having sex." "Are you kidding me right now?"

Jase: It doesn't count.

Emily: Exactly.

Jase: Yes, I see.

Dedeker: Interesting. See, I interpreted the horny thing more in the context of, I guess in my mind, it's a more specific context of if you're horny and you approach a partner for sex, and maybe you get rejected or they say no, that that's not a good time to switch track into a conversation about that.

Emily: To nego back into that.

Dedeker: That's what I thought, it's like get that need met first before turning it into that conversation.

Emily: Well, yes, you can be horny and want to have sex with someone and then they reject you. It turns into like, "Now I'm upset we never have sex," kind of thing, or you just being the- I don't know, with a lot of encouragement in your mind, body, and soul, but you're not.

Dedeker: For you, for Emily, it's more about the volume of blood that's rushing around is very physiological.

Emily: No, I think, yes, sure. If one is more intensely focused on the act, or the need, or the wants of having sex and then it's not fulfilled or met at that point, then that can lead to other aggravations maybe.

Jase: Right, yes.

Dedeker: Okay, all right.

Jase: Then we had a sick also. This is, again, it's just like your mental resilience is lower. Your ability to think clearly and be reasonable, I guess.

At least for me, and I feel like for a lot of people, it really is just lowered when you're sick. Because your body's- honestly, sometimes mood actually can be the clue that you are sick. At least, I have found that for myself where it's sometimes I'm like, maybe I've been feeling a little rough and I'm like, "Maybe it's allergies or something," but then I'm also getting angry more easily or just feeling really frustrated and it's like, "I think this might be something more than that." Then often it ends up being like, "Actually I have a cold," or something like that.

Dedeker: Yes, that makes sense.

Jase: We usually just call it halt because that's easier to say and to remember. Just remember that, that the H stands for both horny and also hungry and also the drinking and sick thing. You could argue that sick is like tired.

Emily: Your body is depleted in any way.

Jase: Maybe just halted. I think the drinking is important to add. I think we also at one point where it could also be drugs.

Emily: Yes.

Dedeker: It feels like intoxication.

Jase: Yes, just something where you're not entirely present.

Dedeker: Yes, that makes sense.

Jase: Yes. Okay. It's all well and good to say like, "Yes, yes. Check in with yourself and see if you need to halt," but it's easier said than done.

Emily: It's in the moment?

Jase: Yes, it's easier said than done. What are some good indicators, good clues you can look for, good cues to halt? If I'm experiencing this or if this is happening, this means I should halt.

Dedeker: Yes. Some of this takes just some curiosity and self-awareness. Start to learn what your personal indicators are that tell you that you're entering some fight or flight response during a disagreement with your partner. You know what that is, and if you don't know, start noticing. Invite in some curiosity to start noticing that whether it's pacing or-

Emily: Sweaty palms.

Dedeker: Yes, sweating-

Emily: Sweaty body parts.

Dedeker: -in weird parts.

[laughter]

I think for me, sometimes it tends to be either being much more intense with my eye contact with my partner or avoiding eye contact completely with my partners. I noticed that if I go between, if one of those extreme shows up, I know I'm entering this heightened state of arousal and not the fun arousal, the angry arousal.

Jase: Yes. Another thing is not exactly a signal for how to halt, but can help you Judge when to if you're starting to feel like maybe we should halt is to, this take some calibrating with your partner or whoever it is that you're talking with at the time, but is to look at, when do you normally halt? and adjust based on that. For example, this means, say your partner tends to want to halt much sooner than you do and you're like, "No, no. I want to keep talking about this thing."

Emily: That's me unquestionably.

Jase: If you're on the side of the one who's like, "No, no, I don't want to hold, I want to keep talking about this," try halting a little bit sooner, because it's not like you're not going to talk about it. The whole point of this is that you will come back, you'll still get a chance to talk about it. Just try that, like sneaking it forward a little bit. If you're the one on the other side who always your threshold for halting is so low that you all of a sudden want to do it and the other person's like, "But I feel like I'm trying to talk and you're just using this as a way for me not to be able to talk," challenge yourself to push it a little bit further and be like, "Okay, I'll talk about this a little bit more," but still checking in with yourself. I know for me, I tend to always feel like I should be halting sooner than I do. I'm more on the side of I really want to challenge myself to be more okay with halting sooner or to notice these signs sooner, but it's possible that for some other people that could be on the other side.

Emily: Yes. Do you, Dedeker, feel like you halt earlier or later?

Dedeker: Definitely later-

Emily: Okay, all of us do it later. Interesting.

Dedeker: -but I don't want to. It's the thing where now being more conscious, calm Dedeker. I'm like, "Yes, I should probably be halting a lot sooner than I usually do." Yes.

Emily: Yes, definitely make sense. Another telltale sign that you should perhaps think about halting or just do it right away as if your heart rate is getting really high. Apparently, you can't process social interactions if your beats per minute are above 100, which is really interesting. That's why if you're running and your heart rate gets really high, you can't be engaging in a fully fledged, impressive conversation.

[laughter]

Dedeker: No impressive conversations.

Emily: Yes, no. Like one word, spitting it out while you're hacking and gagging type of conversation, yes. The same rings true if you are in a really heated debate with your partner is something that if your heart rate starts to skyrocket, you're probably not going to be able to parse out the conversation in an effective way. You might even get to the point where you're talking in circles and your thoughts aren't as well formed as they could be sort of thing. That's definitely a time in which to halt and to figure out how to lower your beats per minute and just take a step back.

Jase: Yes. Also, if you have an Apple watch or a Fitbit or any kind of watch or something,-

Emily: You can look that up.

Jase: -you could even check in and just glance down and be like--

Dedeker: Time for me to halt.

Emily: One time, let's stop this.

Jase: I'm at 84 right now. If we get too much more excited on this episode, I'm just canceling the whole thing.

[laughter]

Emily: You're going to stop it, man?

Jase: Right.

Emily: Okay.

Jase: Another big one is raising your voice. I feel like this one is weirdly hard to notice when you're in the moment of it.

Emily: Well, I also think like, "It raising your voice, or is it just like--?" Because there's a difference between getting a little bit more excited in a conversation and then also yelling or getting really pissed at someone.

Jase: Okay, actually, this is a good caveat for this whole episode. Not that I feel like everything we're talking about here because it's about self-introspection. There's going to be ways that people can be like, "Well, but I'm actually this. What about this? What if that doesn't quite count?".

Dedeker: Maybe PM is Just at 99.

Jase: The point of this is even if you don't want to admit it, there's a part of you that knows what we're talking about here. The raising your voice isn't just meeting, "We got excited about something and we yell about it. Yea. Well, we better halt."

Dedeker: I don't think Emily is referring to happy excited.

Emily: No, I'm not. There is because I definitely have had moments with partners where they're like, "Okay, you're getting so upset right now," and I'm like, "I don't feel upset. I just feel like I'm not excited about, but jazzed already or heeded in a way." It's like, "Where is that fine line?"

Dedeker: I can start a fight right now if you want.

Jase: Yes, fight, fight, fight, fight and then I'll halt you.

Dedeker: This comes up with me and Jase. Jase uses the word. Jase accuses me of yelling all the time.

Emily: Really?

Dedeker: To me, I'm like, "I don't. I'm not yelling. Maybe I'm speaking a little bit stridently."

Emily: Exactly.

Jase: Because you're just using flowery words.

Dedeker: No.

Emily: No, we're not, okay?

Jase: I'm not yelling, I'm being strident.

Dedeker: Okay. No, but it's true, though.

Emily: I'm impassioned. Okay, how about that?

Dedeker: Even if impassioned, I think I can have anger. I can feel anger. I can feel frustrated and speak from that and it doesn't count as yelling. Honestly, I always-

Emily: Maybe, yes, no, sorry. When you're done, I will intensely comment.

Dedeker: Okay, I just get upset, Jase, when you accuse me of yelling at you. Because I'm like, "I've had people actually really yell at me real bad and I don't want. I get upset because I'm like, "Well, I don't want you to feel that way, but I don't think that I'm doing that.

Jase: Jeez, you weren't there.

Emily: Okay. No, I'm just saying there are moments where I've been in relationships and I say one thing and the other person is like, "Oh my god." Maybe we could speak about this in the bonus episode, but they might get-

Dedeker: We can talk for hours about the gender dynamics. If what happens when a woman gets angry in a relationship, good lord, stop the process.

Emily: That's what I'm alluding to.

Dedeker: None of that sarcasm is directed at you, Jase.

Jase: Emily, thank you.

Dedeker: It's all directed at the past assholes.

Emily: In general, but yes, that's what I'm saying.

Jase: Past assholes, not this current one.

Dedeker: No.

Emily: Correct.

Jase: I am just kidding.

Dedeker: For those of you who can't hear it, I'm holding Jase's hand and squeezing it.

Emily: I can hear it just fine. I can see it out of the corner of my eye too. No, yes. That's sometimes what I was saying is that, if I get a little bit impassioned, someone's like-- If they get a little bit impassioned, I'm like, "Okay, we're just going to sit here and deal with it." I don't know. Something to think about.

Dedeker: Yes, we can vent about all that later. All right, anyway, raising your voice, you know for yourself. What raising your voice is.

Emily: Take a 10-minute pause and tie up that. The new one's not raising your voice men's.

Dedeker: Another good cue is anytime the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse pop into your conversation, and I don't mean war pestilence disease, those things.

Emily: Is that what they are?

Dedeker: In the Bible, that's what they are. Yes.

Emily: Spoiler alert.

Dedeker: Yes.

Jase: Don't worry, we won't get there for seven years.

Dedeker: What I am referring to is what the Gottman Institute have named the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Jase: Conquest, war, famine, and death. For those of you who are wondering.

Dedeker: Right, but not those. Don't pay attention to that. We're talking about the four horsemen that the Gottman Institute have. They labeled it this way, because it's like when they see one of these four things, or a multitude of these four things in relationship, is a pretty good indicator that the relationship is not going to work out very well.

Emily: It's doomed.

Dedeker: It's probably pretty doomed.

Jase: Apocalypse.

Dedeker: It's probably pretty apocalyptic, exactly. One of those horsemen is contempt. Things like rolling your eyes at what your partner said, or being sarcastic, or being passive-aggressive. If you notice yourself doing that, that's a really good cue to be like, "Time to halt before this horse gets too excited."

Emily: Too apocalyptic.

Dedeker: Yes.

Jase: Too comfortable in this table.

Dedeker: Yes, exactly.

Emily: Okay, the next one is going to be criticism. That can include personal attacks on the other person's character or on their personality. Also, things like name-calling. Yes, this is a rough one. Definitely, circling with that. If you all of a sudden are like, "Bitch," or something in the middle of it, then, yes, definitely halt because that's awful.

Jase: Right. Next one is defensiveness or blaming. This is blaming your partner or external factors in a way that's making you not take responsibility for any part of the conflict.

Dedeker: Then the last one is stonewalling. That's shutting down, giving the silent treatment tuning out. It could be also walking away or storming out without communicating to your partner that that's what you're going to do. In my opinion, I don't think it counts as a halt, if the way it started is you just stomped off and slammed the door and didn't say anything and you were gone for 20 minutes and then came back. Maybe technically, you took a break from the conversation, but you did it in such a way that was intending to cause more harm rather than to cause repair.

If you notice yourself, if you are a person who tends to shut down in hard conversations, or an uncomfortable conversations, or if you're noticing that you're just really wanting to be avoided, that's a really good time to just be like, "Okay, well, I can get whatever I want, what my body wants." Which is to maybe steer clear for a little while and it can get in a healthy way as well by just asking for it as opposed to sobbing often driving away.

Emily: Yes, that's smart. Okay, we're going to move on to certain things to do and certain things to not do during a halt. We've got some self soothing tactics and also a couple things that we would like to remind you maybe not to engage in, in the middle of your halt.

Dedeker: Let's assume you've done it, you've halted.

Emily: Good job.

Dedeker: Well done, we'd highly recommend you call a halt on yourself, rather than calling it on your partner. It probably not going to help things if you're like, "You need to take a halt."

Emily: Really you're freaking out right now.

Dedeker: Maybe even just for the sake of safety, maybe not even saying we need to take a halt. Because your partner can still hear that as you need to take a halt. Call it on yourself. Even if you feel like your partner is much more upset than you are, still call it on yourself anyway. Still say, "Hey, I really need to take a break, or I really want to take a break. I'm going to take 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour." Whatever it is that you want to take. It's recommended to take a minimum of 20 minutes when you are on your halt. That's the amount of time that it's going to take for your body and your nervous system to calm down and to re-enter a state that is physiologically more neutral.

Emily: That's someone time, 20 minutes.

Dedeker: Yes.

Emily: I usually only do about 10. Maybe I should have that.

Dedeker: Yes, give yourself that extra time. We don't recommend taking a halt that last longer than a day. Mostly because I think that it starts to edge into the territory of stonewalling or just straight up avoidance. Because then it starts to be difficult to tell the difference between what's halting with the intention that we're going to come back to this in a better state versus what's just trying to avoid or trying to hurt my partner by freezing them out or whatever. Anywhere between 20 minutes and a day, I highly recommend being clear with your partner how much time you're going to take, or being open to negotiating with your partner how much time you're going to take, as opposed to just saying, "I'm going to halt," and then leave it unclear.

Jase: I wouldn't even take that a step further and say, "Take the 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, decide if this is something going to continue talking about now," or if it's like, "You know what, now that I have these 20 minutes to calm down a little bit, I realize I want to think about this a little, let's talk about it later tonight, or let's talk tomorrow," or something like that. I feel it's hard in the moment to want to set a time to do it. Maybe that 20 minutes can be your like, "It's always going to be 20 minutes and then we'll talk about when we're actually going to talk."

Emily: Interesting.

Jase: Maybe it will right away and maybe it won't, but give yourself that calm time before you make that decision.

Emily: Yes. The next thing, and this is a do-not-do thing, which is don't vent to other people. Don't even necessarily vent to yourself, which I think can be a difficult thing, although I will say that time away from the actual situation at hand, can give you some fresh perspective-

Jase: Definitely, yes.

Emily: -almost immediately, which is really interesting. I think that it can allow a person to not necessarily need to vent to themselves and be like, "Well, I'm so justified in my feelings right now," but rather be like, "Okay, let me ask some questions here about what is actually going on." A reason to not vent to another person, and this is a big one, is that the person that you vent to about the situation that happened between you and your partner or you and whomever, they're probably only going to get a really bad impression, because they don't get the positive or the other side of the story as well.

I think that that can be a compounded thing over time also. Say you always go, and gosh, I have been guilty of this, but say you always go to someone and tell them about the hard times that you're having with your boyfriend and that's the only thing that they're hearing constantly. It gives this impression that that is all that's there, as opposed to they're not hearing necessarily about all of the positive, lovely things that are happening as well. That, I think, can be a really challenging thing for them to be like, "I like this person, and I want you and your relationship to succeed with them." Because if they're only hearing about the bad things all the time, then it's going to be hard for them to want that relationship to succeed.

Jase: It reminds me a little bit of the thing we've talked about before about if you go on a date with someone and then you come back to your other partner, and you're like, "This thing was bad and this thing wasn't great," you only focus on the negatives because you think that's what they'll be more comfortable to hear. Then you continue dating them and they're like, "What's going on?"-

Emily: I thought you didn't like this person very much.

Jase:  Yes, like, "Do you have low self esteem right now? Why are you still doing that?" You're doing that to your friend or your confidant that you're choosing to only vent to.

Emily: Yes, exactly. Really venting doesn't necessarily make anything better. It can actually do the opposite. What did you write here, Jase? "Entrenching you in your suffering."

Jase: Yes, that's what I wrote.

Dedeker: [laughs] Such drama.

Jase: I got very poetic there, yes.

Emily: Yes, indeed. Yes, I think that it can absolutely do that. It just puts you again in that physiological state being really upset by this thing or reliving it almost and upset by this thing that is happening. It may feel like immediately good to be like, "Yes, look at what happened. I'm so justified in how I'm feeling," but I think overall, it can also breed a bit of resentment too for the person that hopefully you're ultimately trying to work past this challenging thing that's occurring with them.

Dedeker: Also, just think about being on the receiving end of it. If you're in the middle of a fight and your partner left to go complain about you to their best friend or their other partner or their mom or whoever, it's think of how shitty that would feel. Yes, I just bear that in mind that it's like in the heat of a fight, taking a break to then bring someone else into it generally is not going to help things.

Emily: Yes. There is something that we wanted to add just that obviously this venting stuff is a little bit different than really going out and seeking advice or seeking support or therapy. You can probably parse out the difference between venting and complaining versus having constructive questions and trying to constructively get past an issue. Especially if something comes up often, I think that those are the types of things that you should potentially be asking an outside party for help. If you're just like, "He didn't do the dishes right again," or something lie that's a big difference.

Dedeker: Yes, I don't want anyone to think that we're saying don't ever vet or don't ever talk about your relationships to other people. Especially, if there's something systemic going on, of course, talk about it. It's just in the middle of the argument is not the time to-- You're halting time is not the time that you should be taking to go dump on other people about it.

Jase: I would say not even just in the middle of arguments, but what we're talking about here is you know what we're talking about it. This is that same thing of if you're venting where the only purpose of it is just to complain, that's very different from I'm talking to someone I trust because I'm really upset and I don't know what to do, or I'm not sure how bad this thing really is.

You're actually trying to be constructive versus the kind of venting which does feel rewarding to do sometimes, but if just like I just want to complain about how shitty this is and how justified I am and being upset, that doesn't actually help anything. Instead of doing that, go do something completely unrelated. I know on this show, we talk about things like journaling and stuff like that about it. I think there's--

Emily: Yes, you love to journal, Jase.

Jase: I think it's very useful to write stuff down by hand specifically, but I would actually recommend at least for this 20 minutes or during this is to actually not even do that because that's can get into the self-venting category, is to do something totally unrelated. Just to physiologically calm down, remind your brain that there are other things to care about in the world besides this one thing. Just get a little bit of perspective so that then you can come back to it.

Some people feel like, "If I'm not constantly working through it, I'm never going to think about it," but you are. Your brain is processing it in the background. This is things like go for a walk, fold the laundry, unless that makes you really angry, then don't do that. Weed the garden, similarly, unless that makes you really angry. Do some art, maybe even just doodling or something like that or knitting, or just do anything that gets your mind occupied on something else.

Dedeker: Yes. I recommend meditation for people only if meditation is something that already works for you to help.

Emily: Don't just like dive right in in this exact moment.

Dedeker: Yes, if you don't already have a meditation practice the whole thing in the middle of a heated argument, probably not the best time to start. For some people, meditation just makes it easier to ruminate on the situation and obsess over it. Well, yes, because sometimes it's like if you sit down and there's nothing to occupy your mind that for some people, it's just that much easier to slip back into the argument. Again, it becomes that self-venting or reliving it or trying to think about a better thing to say or something like that.

I don't recommend meditation unless it's something that already does work for you and is something that you found consistently does help you to calm down and to reset and get back into the moment. Similarly, you can play a video game if that's something that does help you, if it helps to put you in a better state of mind or in a more neutral mood or just distracts you. If you know that you're more likely to get upset or angry or frustrated from playing a video game, then try something else. Try a different game or try not playing video games.

Jase: Right. If I'm upset, going to play League of Legends is bad idea.

Emily: Why?

Jase: Because it's such a stressful game to play because you're playing against other humans who are all toxic and awful. It's something I have to do and I'm already in a good mental state. If I'm not, bad idea.

Dedeker: Yes. If you're a gamer, if you regularly play video games, you know which games are the ones that are more likely to agitate you rather than distract you.

Jase: What's your game?

Dedeker: That'll probably be Hearthstone.

Emily: Wait, the one that'll agitate or the one that you want to play?

Dedeker: That's the one that's more likely to agitate me, is Hearthstone.

Emily: Okay.

Dedeker: I've better recently, but I know that's not the game to turn to if I'm trying to calm down in the middle of an argument.

Jase: Right. A lot of competitive games like online competitive games, I would tend to say are not the right category for that because you're about amping yourself up to be competitive rather than calming down.

Dedeker: I find like, I don't want to call them mindless, but simple puzzle games work really well. Something that's not too complicated, but it's just distracting enough.

Emily: Some Tetris 99.

Dedeker: Yes, some Tetris.

Jase: Yes, or Pico's. Pico's is a good one.

Emily: Super Smash Brothers.

Jase: Right. Probably also not a great one for that, yes.

Emily: Or in my case, Mario Kart. A lot of obscenities.

Jase: Yes. Then another one is to exercise. Pump some iron. Yes, I don't know why I said that. This particular one has saved me many times. When it's even not just like I'm in the middle of some argument and we're halting and I'm going to go to the gym and lift some weights or something, but even just like if I'm really angry about something, in general, if it's something about work or something that someone did that I'm still stuck on an angry about, or something going on with a metamour, or whatever it is that that going to work out, at least for me has been really helpful because it involves both focusing and then also tiring myself out. Then that as a way of kind of getting your body to calm down by exhausting it, it's like it doesn't even have the energy to keep being amped up and upset about this. Dedeker's new favorite activity is going for a run.

Dedeker: That's quite a statement. I really don't want to have to live up to that statement, but okay.

Emily: It's just amazing that you do at all.

Dedeker: Yes, I think it's pretty amazing myself.

Jase: It is pretty cool.

Dedeker: I'm not that great at running and I'm not that fast, but I will say it has definitely saved me many times when I felt upset, or really sad, or I've been snappy at my partner. Going for a quick run has been really really helpful. Do not give such annoying look right now, Jase.

Emily: What's a quick run to you?

Dedeker: 20 minutes.

Jase: 20 minutes? Hey look, that fits perfectly with the amount of time for your halt.

Dedeker: Yes, perfect.

Jase: I love it.

Emily: All right, now, we want you to ask yourself a couple of questions while you're on the halt, on the hunt.

[laughter]

No, when you're halting, when you're in the middle of the halt, and before you re-enter into the fray into the-

Jase: Into society.

Emily: No, into the argument or the discussion or whatever. When you're in the middle of the halt, let's have some questions for you, some things to mindfully be working through.

Dedeker: Yes, this list of questions ideally, this is something that you'll turn to after you've gone through your 20 minutes of calming your body down. I wouldn't recommend diving into these questions right away. Definitely, do whatever it is that you need to do to get yourself a little bit calm. Get yourself in a slightly more neutral mind space and then start going through some of these questions.

Jase: Yes. There's three major categories for these questions. We'll go through each one and talk about what all is included in that. The first one here the overall topic is, what is hidden from me right now? That sounds so mysterious.

Emily: Esoteric.

Jase: Yes, but basically what this means is things like, what else might my partner or the person I'm talking to have going on that I don't know about that might be affecting how they're reacting right now and how they're acting?

Emily: Or maybe you do know about it and you've conveniently forgotten in this present moment.

Jase: That's a great point. Yes, exactly. I think this one it's- studies have shown us over and over again, that we don't know what's going on in other people's minds and that even when we think we do, we actually don't. I think even just the understanding that there's stuff going on for them in their mind and their experience right now that I'm not aware of, and I can't be aware of unless they tell it to me.

Maybe right now's not the time when they're going to do that, I don't know. I think even just that mental exercise of saying like, "What might be going on? What might be going on for them that could be affecting this?" Whether it's some other stress or that they've had similar frustrating discussions with someone else recently and that could be contributing to it. What would be some other examples?

Dedeker: They just got home from work and they're super tired.

Jase: Yes.

Emily: Or they have a work stress that's been going on for a while that isn't resolved.

Jase: Yes. Perhaps there's some like insecurity in general that they've been wrestling with in their life that this is bringing up ot that's coming up for them while you're talking about this.

Emily: Or a family member is ill.

Jase: Right. Yes. All sorts of things.

Emily: A friend. Yes.

Jase: Then the mirror world version of that question is, what might be going on with you that's affecting how you're acting right now, how you're feeling right now that you weren't aware of, or maybe you were aware of but we're just putting the blinders on? Similar things. It could be work stuff that's going on. It could be some other relationship. There's almost loops back on itself of maybe it's like the reasons why you're halting. It's because you are really tired or because you're horny, or you're hungry, or you're lonely, or you're drinking, or maybe you're sick, like I was saying. This is where you realize, "I think I'm getting sick."

Dedeker: Yes. The second category question is kind of the overarching theme is, am I trying to be right more than I'm trying to connect? Asking questions of yourself like, "Could I be focusing more on connecting more than competing?" For instance, or, "Could pouring love or understanding into the situation right now help us to better connect?" This one's a doozy.

This actually really specifically saved me a couple weeks ago during a halt where I read this question, I was like, "Damn. Yes, because what I want right now is love and understanding so, of course, if I brought love and understanding into the situation it would really help us connect." It really helped me to let go of just wanting to be right or just wanting to win instead of just cutting to the chase of actually asking for what it is that I wanted.

Jase: That just seems so easy to say. Tell me more about it.

Emily: Yes, you both worried a little like-- I don't know if I like this.

Dedeker: Well, no I liked it.

Emily: Not you, but I know you like it but Jase is the one who was like, "Ehh".

Emily: I guess just like-- I don't know. Tell me more about it. What is it about that particular question that resonated for you?

Dedeker: I guess in that particular moment it was because it just happened to really cut to the chase of what I was wanting because I think that the main reason why I needed a halt is because I was feeling lonely. There were a number of other things going on, but because I was feeling really lonely and realizing like, "Oh my goodness. These things that I want. I can just inject them into the situation and it'll make everything so much better."

Jase: I think that's the connectedness.

Dedeker: I think that also the focusing on the connecting rather than the being right, it really helped me to be like, "Yes, that's totally what's going on right now, is that I'm trying to be right and I don't really want to be right. I just want to feel connected. I want to feel love and I want to feel close to this person." Maybe it was just because the situation happened to line up, maybe in other situations that question wouldn't resonate as much, which is why we've given you a ton to try.

Emily: I think that that's a really important question to ask yourself or just to say like, "Okay, I care deeply about this person, so why don't I inject some of that thinking into this whole thing because obviously we're not seeing eye to eye on something, or maybe I'm not getting what I want, most likely they are also not getting what they want, so why don't I be compassionate rather than upset," or rather than, like you said, trying to win this argument, or whatever because I don't think it's helpful as being kind and good to your partner in that moment.

Dedeker: Yes. I'll read our next question, but I want to talk more about that too, but I think they're all related though. This next one is, what would a more conscious version of me do right now in this situation?

Emily: I think you preferred this question over the last one.

Dedeker: Right, yes, there's something about the wording of this one kind of made sense to me in a way of being like asking yourself the question of like, "If I were still me, but I was totally in control and really aware of what I wanted and what mattered in my life, how would I be acting now versus how I'm acting now, or I'm reacting out of what feelings are overpowering me at the moment?" It makes me think about the question that you were asking Emily too of that of like, "What I really want here?"

I guess it got to what Dedeker was saying too about that question for her being like realizing, "What I really want is connection and love. What I'm doing isn't getting me that, it's almost doing the opposite." Do you know what I mean? It's that sort of thing. I feel like asking yourself the question of like, "What do I actually really want here?" is super helpful because it's so easy to get caught up in just wanting to be right or wanting to win. I feel like oftentimes, the outcome of winning isn't actually what you want. Do you know what I mean?

Emily: Because then what?

Jase: If you really think about it, if you're winning means them feeling shitty, me being right, oftentimes me being--

Emily: Them knowing that they're wrong.

Jase: --them knowing they're wrong and oftentimes you being right means like, "Well, I'm right about the fact that they're inconsiderate," or about the fact that they are selfish, or about the fact that they don't really love me. That that's what being right is a lot of the time in these sorts of heated discussions. If you really think about it, that's not the outcome you actually want. I don't actually want to be right about this, but we're so conditioned to fight for it and so conditioned to view it in this very narrow what matters is winning right now rather than getting what I actually want in the bigger picture.

Dedeker: Well, the phrasing of this particular question about what a more conscious version of me do right now reminds me of actually a visualization meditation exercise that I've used in the past. I don't think I've used it on a halt, but I could possibly try it. It's basically the idea that you envision yourself sitting at home, or sitting in a place where you feel safe and you hear a knock on the door and you open the door, and it's someone.

It can be whoever you like, but generally, someone that you admire or that you respect or that you feel is someone who has a lot of wisdom. It could be anyone. It could be your grandma. It could be the Dalai Lama. It could be Neil deGrasse Tyson. Whoever it is that feels like safe, and smart, and wise to you, you invite them in and you visualize telling them about your problem and then essentially intuiting what would that person say to me. Let me tell you, I've just learned to stop inviting the Dalai Lama in if I want to be right in the situation.

[laughter]

Jase: That's funny.

Dedeker: If I'm really attached to and still being angry, still being right, I hold off on inviting the Dalai Lama over to my house but--

Jase: He's a real buzz-kill when you want to be angry.

Emily: Shea buzz-kill because, when I'm envisioning the Dalai Lama talking with me my problems, it's pretty quickly cuts to the bullshit, if you know what I mean. Anyway that sort of reminds me of, and maybe that's something that my people are effective for some people as well, of envisioning someone else who's more loving and wise stepping into the situation and guiding you through it.

Emily: That's cool. Speaking of love I think the next question is quite important because you might want to ask you yourself, "What do I you love about this person?" Just as a reminder in the moment when things are difficult and heated to be like, "Hey, I'm in a relationship. I'm choosing every day to be in a relationship with this person," like we talked about on the last episode.

Why am I doing that? Why do I care? How do I care about this person? What do I care about this person? What is so amazing about them? Just to remind yourself of that in the moments that things get tough, I think can really be beneficial?

Dedeker: Yes, definitely. The next category questions, essentially what you're asking yourself is, is there anything that I am projecting on to this situation? For instance, you can ask yourself, "Am I triggered right now?" It doesn't matter what your trauma is. Trauma falls in a spectrum and it affects everyone differently. It really doesn't matter what it is, but just asking yourself, like, "Was there something in this conversation that triggered me in some way?"

Or asking yourself, "Are my feelings actually related to my partner or are they related to some experience in my own past? Did my partner use a phrase or a word that reminded me of something in the past? Am I feeling the way that I felt in the past time that I felt judged, or that I felt abandoned, or that I felt lost, or things like that?" You can definitely dive into wondering what parts of the past are showing up in this conversation, and is that what's creating all the heightened intensity and emotions right now?

Anyway these are just.

Dedeker: These are just a few questions of many that you could ask yourselves. Generally, I find that asking these questions are specifically really good for re-entry. After you've calmed down, and your heart rates down, and you're feeling a little bit more chill, but then asking some of these questions before heading back in the conversation can really help to get some perspective, get yourself outside of your head, and get you more into a mindset that perhaps is more receptive toward building a bridge with your partner rather than maintaining a more offensive defensive stance with your partner.

Emily: Yes. We have a couple of takeaways from this episode. The first one, which we didn't really talk about, but this is something to consider doing when you're not in a moment of halting is to have a conversation with your partner about what that hold is going to look like, that inevitable potential halt. Just be, "Okay, this might be something that happens, this is what this means.

Let's talk about how we both might go about doing this, how early, or late we feel in a conversation that we might employ this." Maybe do it in a time a really safe space like a radar. You might want to talk about said halts, because, again, just having as much information and as much as much communication as you possibly can about what you might do in these situations will ultimately hopefully get you in a good understanding in a good place.

Dedeker: Yes, it's almost like give both of yourselves the opportunity to opt in. As in like, "Hey, let's activate the halt power and so that we know that that's an option that we can have in the future.

Emily: They can do it

Dedeker: Yes, as opposed to springing that in the middle of a moment and then saying.

Emily: Like, "What? What is this? What are you doing? Are we stopping?

Dedeker: Yes. I have to say it totally saved my ass to actually have these questions saved on my phone to consult with when I was feeling heated, or when I was in the middle of the halt. Definitely, check out the transcript for this episode to be able to get these questions, or you can listen to this episode and have it saved on your phone. Sometimes I've done things like that too and that can help.

Jase: Hopefully, we could have these in the show notes or something too. That would be cool.

Dedeker: Yes, I will make a note of that.

Emily: We'll try to keep it real.

Jase: Check our website and look for the page for this episode, which is Episode 217. Actually, copy them down, put them into a note somewhere. Have them handy for when you need them because you don't want to go searching for them in the moment. Have them in advance.

Emily: Like wait, wait.

Dedeker: Exactly.

Jase: Yes. Then also, we just wanted to say that if this episode felt important for you, like that this was something you really needed, we'd also recommend checking out Episode 210, which is Take the Fight Out of Your Fights. Just about what it means to fight fair and fight dirty and what are better ways to have those discussions. Then also Episode 186, on reconnecting, which is for that time afterwards. It's like, how do we reconnect with each other after things have gotten intense, or after things have been hard?

Emily: Yes. We really would love to hear about all of the different ways in which you out there holds, if you tend to be a person who holds sooner or later, what tactics you've employed in the middle of your halt, or how you've addressed them in the moment as well, and the reasons maybe why you tend to halt more often than not. We would love to hear about all of those things.

The best place to share your thoughts with other listeners is on this episode's discussion thread in our private Facebook group or discord chat. You can get access to these groups and join our exclusive community by going to patreon.com/multiamory. In addition, you can share with us publicly on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can email us at info@multiamory.com. Leave us a voicemail at 678-MULTI-05. You got to commit to that, Jase.

Jase: I was trying to go really low, "Zero five."

Emily: I see, okay. You can leave us a voice message on Facebook. Multiamory is created and produced by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren, and me, Emily Matlack. Our episodes are edited by Mauricio Balvanera. Our social media wizard is Will McMillan. Our production assistant is Nicole Samara. Our theme song is Forms I know I Did by Josh and Anand from the fractal Cave EP. The full transcript is available on this episode's page on multiamory.com