Relationship ABC


Aroha and Ben could feel the sudden escalation (names have been changed). The same hot topic had reared its ugly head again. Both of them felt triggered. Each of them could feel the emotions from previous encounters begin to surface. Things were about to escalate. They had been here before. They were ready for battle.
Aroha and Ben’s experience can be common. Especially if there is no awareness that an old cycle is playing out. Old cycles playing out can be a signal that we need to shift communication gears and step into intentional communication tools. Relationship ABC’s can help us shift gears and move into more intentional communication.

  • Awareness
  • Breathe
  • Choose a helpful response


Aroha and Ben could feel the sudden escalation. Both Aroha and Ben had developed Awareness of the cycle. Aroha recognised the shift in her breathing, the tension between her shoulder blades, and the slight trembling that was starting to happen. Ben was aware that the volume and intensity of the conversation had gone from 1 to 100 very quickly. Ben and Aroha wanted new cycles that would help save their relationship.


Both Ben and Aroha began to Breathe intentionally. They breathed deeply, then concentrated on their long, slow out breath. They were aware that communicating while emotional escalation was happening would not keep their relationship safe. They kept focussing on their breathing as they considered what helpful responses they could Choose.


Ben was Aware that, although he was breathing, the escalated feeling that invited intense and loud conversation was still there. Ben breathed again, and decided to Choose to defer the communication. Ben said “I’m not in a good space to be talking right now. I am going to go for a twenty minute walk, then I will come back to talk again.” Aroha knew that deferring communication was how Ben was choosing to nurture the relationship. She knew Ben would come back and talk. Aroha responded “Ok. Let’s try again in twenty minutes”.
Having Awareness of cycles,

Breathing, and Choosing helpful responses can save relationships. For more ideas on helpful responses to choose, contact Jenny.