When you are in the midst of conflict, how do you react? Does your pulse race and your heart pound? Do you talk over the other person? Do you turn trivial things into causes for battle? Is winning your ultimate goal?
If your answer to some of these questions was, “Yes, that sounds just like me!” you’re probably a reactive person.
When you feel threatened, your body’s fight-or-flight response is triggered. You become flooded with stress hormones and the reasoning part of your brain, the neocortex, shuts down.
This reactivity was incredibly useful to your ancestors, who needed to run from wild animals and protect their caves from aggressive neighbors. It’s not so useful to you when the threat is your angry wife or passive-aggressive boyfriend. Your partner says something critical and instead of responding rationally or thoughtfully, you attack.