Suppose you are fighting.
At many a point in the fight, one party might feel: "Oh, God, this is all wrong! this is unnecessary, I want to stop this fighting!"
And he blurts out a common place: "I'm sorry, lets talk this through?"
But does it get through? No, it goes like: "What do you mean you are sorry?! you were supposed to ... "
What is happening? The common place message does not have anything on it to differentiate it from the countless rigmarole that is being exchanged back and forth in the fight. The mundane sound packet carrying the message takes a direct hit on the now charged up firewalls of the Ego that is fighting and is destroyed to pieces before making an inch of progress into the Self hiding behind it.
How to deal with this?
Enter the 'code word of truce'. Which should be a minimal, quirky, absurd sounding word, that has nothing to do with being sorry, or fighting, or listening to each other. But it should be unique, to you, something you can feel, but others can't, something to help you get back to reality, which is the real you hiding, behind the fighting Ego.
Like a Totem.
Now you know that when that word is uttered, all the charged up personal firewalls of the fighting Ego are supposed to let that sound packet through, unaltered, directly to the Self. The message means,
"I'm dropping my fighting Ego. I'm ready to listen to you, the real you. Let's cancel the fight."
And you are supposed to tell me what exactly you really felt or are feeling.
And I'm supposed to listen to that, with 'brutal honesty'.
It takes a certain level of conquest over the Ego to make this work :-)