by Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW

...In an emotion-phobic society like ours, where schools fail to provide an education in how emotions work and what to do with them, staying positively connected during heated situations is no easy task. We desperately need information, tools, and skills to help us feel and deal better with our emotions!

The mantra: Don’t abandon and don't retaliate offers a simple guide to damage control when you're about to "lose it.”

Don’t abandon and don't retaliate. I say these words to myself when I am in a heated disagreement or argument with my loved ones. I use them to evaluate my words and actions before I speak or act. No matter my role as a mother, friend, colleague, or daughter, I repeat to myself - Don’t abandon or retaliate. When I sense my anger, frustration, anxiety, tension, need to control, or other defensive impulses rising, I remind myself: do not abandon or retaliate.

...Don't abandon and don't retaliate is powerful guidance for us all. Although it may take a lifetime to master these words, the first step is knowing them and remembering to say them to yourself. Imagine if we silently reminded ourselves in the midst of heated moments, do not abandon, and do not retaliate. And then heeded those words. What do you think would have been different in your life?