Fight, Flight, or Loving Action

Written by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

The following article is offered for free use in your ezine, print publication or on your web site, so long asrepparttar author resource box atrepparttar 126145 end is included, with hyperlinks. Notification of publication would be appreciated.

Title: Fight, Flight, or Loving Action Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: Copyright: © 2004 by Margaret Paul URL: Word Count: 833 Category: Relationships, Conflict Resolution

Fight, Flight, or Loving Action By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

Fight or flight - our automatic response to danger. When fear is present, adrenaline pours into our system to prepare us to fight or flee - fromrepparttar 126146 tiger,repparttar 126147 bear,repparttar 126148 lava fromrepparttar 126149 volcano….

Fight or flight - today we automatically respond this way torepparttar 126150 present dangers,repparttar 126151 deep fears that come up in relationships: rejection and engulfment - fears of loss of other and loss of self.

Often, when we feel rejected and fearrepparttar 126152 loss ofrepparttar 126153 other, we fight for love not to go away by defending, explaining, blaming, attacking, complying, fixing, or we flee through withdrawal. Often, when we feel engulfed and fear losing ourselves through being controlled by another, we flee through resistance or withdrawal, or fight by attacking, defending, or explaining. Just as our ancestors fought or fled from physical danger, we fight and flee from emotional danger. The problem is that, while fight or flight is appropriate inrepparttar 126154 face of physical danger, this same behavior inrepparttar 126155 face of emotional fear causes deep problems in relationships.

When we respond automatically torepparttar 126156 fears of losing ourselves and losing another, we behave inrepparttar 126157 very ways that create fear inrepparttar 126158 other. Our fight or flight reactions create fear inrepparttar 126159 other person -repparttar 126160 same fears of losing themselves or losing us. Our fighting and fleeing activates others’ fear of rejection and engulfment, creating a vicious circle of fighting and fleeing.

These unconscious, automatic reactions to emotional danger were learned long ago, when we were very small and had to rely on fight or flight as part of our survival. Today they are now longer necessary for our survival, and need to be replaced with loving actions toward ourselves and others.

What does it mean to take loving action inrepparttar 126161 face of another’s fight or flight behavior? Where do we getrepparttar 126162 role modeling for what it looks like to take loving action inrepparttar 126163 face of another’s unloving behavior? Most of us had parents who did not role model loving action inrepparttar 126164 face of conflict. We have not seen much of it on TV or in movies. How do we learn to take loving action in our own behalf when in conflict with another - action that takes care of ourselves without violating or threatening another?

Forgive ... not Seven Times, but Seventy-Seven Times

Written by Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach and Consultant

Yes, it was a difficult weekend. I had houseguests, and one of them has truly been wronged. Not once, but many times. Not by strangers, but by his own family. Not long ago, but long ago and recently.

It made me angry just to hearrepparttar stories, though he told them only as they related torepparttar 126144 conversation at hand (“So what happened to your father’s farm?” sort of thing), and there was no rancor on his part. Incredulously, he appears to have made his peace with some real injustices. But then that’s one ofrepparttar 126145 reasons we all love him so much.

My friend is very forgiving, and there’s a reason why: he’s had a lot of practice. Forgiveness is like another EQ competency, Resilience. The good news is you can learn it. The bad news is there will always be opportunity. And you can reverse those two!

So, yes, my friend is very forgiving. I imagine he has forgiven 77 times. If you’re familiar withrepparttar 126146 Biblical passage: “Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member ofrepparttar 126147 church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.’”

This forgiving friend of mine is of-an-age, and also a physician.

“How could you forgive him for that?” I asked him, about a particularly unjust occurrence.

“Because I want to live and preserve my health,” he said.

Physicians know about emotions and health.


There’s a story currently circulatingrepparttar 126148 Internet about a Native American grandfather “whose eyes have seen too much,” talking with his grandson. The boy was talking about an injustice that had happened that day that left him enraged.

The grandfather admitted that he, too, had felt such rage. “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart,” he toldrepparttar 126149 child. “One wolf isrepparttar 126150 vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf isrepparttar 126151 loving, compassionate one.”

The grandfather said, “I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those who have taken so much with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.”

When he finished talking,repparttar 126152 grandson asked him, “Which wolf will winrepparttar 126153 fight in your heart?”

“The one I feed,” repliedrepparttar 126154 grandfather.

[Go here to readrepparttar 126155 whole story]


Ernest Hemingway wrote a story about forgiveness. It’srepparttar 126156 story of a Spanish father and his teenage son who are at odds, and eventuallyrepparttar 126157 strained relationship breaks. When Paco,repparttar 126158 rebellious son, runs away from home, his father begins a long, grief-stricken search to find him and bring him back.

As a last resort,repparttar 126159 exhausted father placed an ad in a Madrid newspaper, hoping his son would seerepparttar 126160 ad and respond to it. The ad read:

Dear Paco, Please meet me in front ofrepparttar 126161 newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven. Love, Father

As Hemingway tellsrepparttar 126162 story,repparttar 126163 next day at noon, in front ofrepparttar 126164 newspaper office, there are 800 Pacos, all seeking forgiveness from their fathers.


We have all been wronged. I have been. You have been. Your father has been. The queen of England has been. No one escapes. Some of us have been egregiously wronged and live with rage … for a week, a year, a lifetime. Our anger interferes with our ability to forgive. And why, perhaps you are asking, should you forgive? There has been incest … infidelity … theft … betrayal … Certainly you’re justified in your rancor after what’s been done to you. Frederick Buechner, theologian, writes: “Ofrepparttar 126165 seven deadly sins, anger is possiblyrepparttar 126166 most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tonguerepparttar 126167 prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor torepparttar 126168 last toothsome morsel bothrepparttar 126169 pain you are given andrepparttar 126170 pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton atrepparttar 126171 feast is you.”

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