When working with parents I frequently talk about how children will develop a strategy for getting what they want. Parents might talk about how their child is having frequent tantrums or angry outbursts which they find frustrating and with which they have difficulty coping. I might suggest that the child's tantrum may not only express their frustration , but it may also be part of a strategy for getting what they want. I might suggest that they do not give them what they want until they find a better or more positive way of getting their need met, or getting the thing that was initially the source of their tantrum. As we get older and become adults often our negative strategies for getting what we want remain, however, we become much more sophisticated with regards to how we implement our strategy. Often our strategies for getting our needs met are unconscious, and too often we don't even realize what our need is that underlies our behavior. Suddenly we are in the midst of a conflict, we may be upset and angry because the other is not responding to us. As we try to get them to become more responsive they become less responsive, defensive and difficult. Now we are really angry, and they are now, "for sure", in our mind the source of our anger, upset, and suffering. (What a jerk!) They are now to blame for our disappointment, they are to blame for the argument. maybe they are even to blame for our behavior. We are both upset and agitated. We are both reacting from a place of fight, flight or freeze. We are not likely to find some resolution, or positive way to manage the conflict from this position. We are not operating from a place or reason. Again our problem solving ability has been hijacked. Our frontal cortex is not functioning. Only when we calm down and we return to a place where we can see more clearly, and our cortex is functioning can we find a creative way to work toward problem resolution or management. Only then can we be more adult. We might need time to take a break, and check in with ourselves to be mindful of what we are feeling, to find out what we need. If we can respectfully let our partner know what we need, we have a chance to move things in a positive direction. The scenario might be familiar, and our reactivity may be familiar. The need that is not being met may predate our partner and may likely be a theme in our life. There is likely a pattern in the (or even avoid them) way we handle these conflicts, that has been repeated over and over throughout our lives. Maybe it is related to not feeling understood, cared for, respected, empowered, or just to have someone be present with us? Why does it so frequently seem that when we are upset it is the others fault? Why are they so frequently to blame for the conflict?