What if you want to feel safe, but you don’t because of something someone did or said? You might feel anxious, you might stuff it down, and then you might explode.

To help keep that from happening, it’s nice to have a signal, or code word that means, “What you just did made me feel put down.” It’s great for the signal to be a word without negative connotations, like “watermelon” or “marshmallow.” It’s a simple way to let your partner know you felt something negative.

Using the code word can help stop the negativity and reconnect quickly. Maybe you’d like an apology, a hug, or to watch a movie together. Reconnecting can be really simple. And reconnecting should be immediate before your brain habituates to the negativity.