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From the Fall 2001 Newsletter


How can people who might be tempted to turn to violence find alternative ways to deal with their problems?  Since violence is a choice, the Time Out process offers a structured way to choose an alternative.  Time Out is not the solution but rather a way to avoid violence while entering into a long-term process of getting to the root of the problem.

  • Recognize Your Anger

    • Become aware when you are no longer engaged in constructive arguing.

    • Monitor your body signs -- headache, pounding heart, sweating palms, tense jaws, clenched hands, inability to listen, and racing thoughts.

    • Monitor your "self-talk" -- telling yourself negative things about yourself, your partner, or the situation only escalates anger.  Name-calling, cursing, and commands such as "get off my back," "I told you to shut up," are verbal signs of escalating anger.

  • Take Time Out

    • Tell your partner you are taking a time out.

    • The time out procedure must be discussed and practiced prior to its use, so your partner knows what you are doing and for how long.

    • Do not second-guess your decision.  Do not get in the last word.  Simply say, "I am taking a time out."

  • Leave for an Hour

    • During the hour - don't drink, don't drive, don't take drugs.

    • Do something physical: running, walking, bicycling, etc.  Do not hit pillows or punching bags as they can be a rehearsal of acting out violence.

    • Get in touch with your feelings using "I" statements:  "I feel hurt."

    • Seriously consider your partner's point of view.

    • Practice relaxation techniques: deep breathing, positive "self-talk" like "I'm taking responsibility for myself."

  • Check Back In

    • Ask your partner, "Is now a good time to talk?"

    • Explain why you felt angry.

    • Attempt to resolve the conflict.  If the discussion gets hot again, take another time out.  If you cannot resolve the conflict, table it for another time.

    • Look for a win/win solution: the resolution must be acceptable to both parties for it to work.

    • Get professional help.