Post # 1
I thought I would share one of the most useful concepts my husband and I use when we are feeling upset. It really keeps us from having unnecessary fights. It is called the HALT method.
H = hungry
A = angry
L = lonely
T = tired
The rule is that when we feel on the verge of a fight, we have to ask ourselves, is one of us feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired right now? If we are, then we have to resolve that underlying need before we talk about whatever the problem appeared to be. Half the time addressing one of the HALT things fixes the problem! I learned the method in counseling school and used to teach it to the kids at the elementary school I worked at (they loved it).
Now my husband knows that when I start getting crabby about the littlest things he should probably feed me a snack and not have a 20-minute discussion on the merits of proper sock-folding. And I know that if he doesn’t want to listen to my daily work digest the minute he gets home, it’s not that he doesn’t care but that he’s tired and needs to relax first.
What methods of conflict resolution have helped you in your relationship?
Post # 3
- Wedding: August 2018 - Oakland Manor
wow, this is so smart. I just sent this to Mr.D, we’ll probably tend to stop at H as I too have blood sugar snappishness issues 🙂
Post # 5
Aww, I wish I could take credit for it, but this is something I learned in counseling school. It was in a book on techniques for working with elementary school kids (don’t remember exactly where now). I have seen teachers make a sign with this on it for their classroom walls. It would have a picture of an upset-looking kid and say "Before you get mad, remember to HALT! Are you…." and then spell out the meaning of each letter. It was so useful I started using it myself and teaching it to adults too!
Post # 6
The angry one is tough… should you wait until the feelings have passed to talk about something upsetting?
Post # 7
Wow, I really like the idea and I’m going to show the hubby & I’m going to take it to work to show my co-workers and see if they want to use it with our kids. Thanks for the idea!
Post # 8
That sounds similar to something I have used with children in a psycho-social classroom. Basically "slow down! Stop, and think." It just teaches impulse control and though processing. I really love the HALT idea combined with that.
Post # 9
My Fiance and I talk about this all the time! We’re horrible about getting snappy when hungry or tired, so often our first solution is food! And sleep! Although I think "Angry" is funny, because of course that’ll start a fight. Never thought about lonely though…good method, thanks!
Post # 10
These steps all refer to pre-existing conditions that may be impacting how you respond to things now. So someone mentioned the "angry" step: So if for example you are already angry because of something that happened at work, something little may set you off at home that you otherwise would not be angry about. In that case, the angry step would stop you from fighting about the thing at home and instead enable you to say to your S.O., "something happened at work today that made me really angry and I need to talk about it." But if you weren’t feeling any of the HALT steps prior to whatever made you upset, then you can be fairly certain that that incident and not one of the HALT things is the culprit. It’s a way of making sure you’re fighting about or discussing the real problem.
Post # 11
Ah, that’s pretty cool. Thanks for sharing!
Now if I could only get my cats to not get mad at me when they are hungry, angry, lonely or tired… wait, they’re never tired, they sleep 20 hours a day!
Post # 12
Another application of the "angry" step would be if you and your S.O. find yourselves dredging up old fights that you thought you had resolved. Even though you know you’re supposed to forgive and forget, it’s hard to do this. Then your partner does something that in and of itself isn’t that annoying, but you get really mad about it because of something similar he did last week, and the week before that, and that he promised he wouldn’t do again—but here he is, doing it again. You know it’s not fair to invoke old "resolved" transgressions but you can’t help yourself sometimes.
So in this situation, it’s your holdover anger from last week that is the problem. So instead of fighting about the newest manifestation of your anger, you stop and address your emotions first—what you have control over—and you might find that the real worry is not this particular annoying behavior but that you’re scared your partner isn’t going to make any effort to change this even though he said he would, and this latest thing is proof positive that he doesn’t really care about you and you’re doomed to this misery forever!
Because of course you can’t change your partner, you can only change yourself. So what you’re really working on here is trusting one another, letting go of control, and growing as a couple and taking care of each other’s needs. Not why on earth can he not put his dishes away even though you have told him 17 times and he said he would. 🙂
It takes a lot of patience not only with your partner but with yourself. Sometimes having this as an internal monologue is enough to stop me being angry anymore and I don’t even have to mention my worries to my husband (since sometimes that opens a can of "why can’t you trust me" worms). Or it enables me to respond gently with a reminder to put the dishes in the dishwasher ("Hey don’t forget…" or "when you get a chance…") vs. snapping at him.
Post # 13
- Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall
That is really smart. I’d never heard it before, though I suppose we do both informally think about crabbiness or tiredness when we’re being snappy to each other.
Post # 14
Great strategies! Thanks for sharing. My Fiance and I are doing some pre-marital counseling right now and we are trying some things like this. We have been doing something like the HALT method but when the emotion of frustration emerges. I wish I could remember the technique. I think the doc gave us a handout but it’s in the car. Geez. That’s helpful, huh?! lol Maybe I should put in on the fridge.
Post # 15
Oh wow. I just realized that was a reeeeally old thread. I linked to it at the bottom of another thread where it said “related posts.”
Well, this can be interesting if anyone replies… how have those strategies worked over the longhaul?
Post # 16
@Miichelle: Glad you dredged this one up again. I hadn’t seen it and it is very, very interesting!