…out of control
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” – Romans 9:33
OK, I am not proud of this but me and THE ONE got into a nasty fight the other day. Honestly it was more of a stupid response to a completely rational request. Guess who was stupid in this instance?
It was me. Shocker. I know.
Anyway, once I had some time to reflect on what had happened, I learned something. Guys, it is possible to learn from your mistakes. Take the time to do it.
What I learned was: I am sensitive to others ignoring me. Too sensitive.
I gave this some serious thought. When I am driving and someone cuts me off or someone walks out into the street, I feel ignored.
When people walk in front of me or take up the whole aisle at the store, I just wonder to myself “Am I invisible?”
I even thought about those dreams I have, where I am punching someone and they don’t notice. I used to think it was about feeling ineffectual. But I got clear today: I hate it when I feel ignored.
Is that a bad thing? No, not on its own.
My response when I feel ignored, can be a bad thing – really bad.
So let me tell you what happened.
My wife and I were discussing a problem on a certain project and she had one idea of how to fix it. And I said it was OK as it was. She felt it was not OK, and wanted to make a change in the project.
Fine. Let’s do it your way. Shortly after the confrontation, I spun out of control. “Buy a new phone” out of control. Like I said, it was stupid.
When I finally looked back on it, I realized everything I spoke to her about afterward was justifying my explosion. The damaging explosion is the problem and needs to stop. What got me to the point of explosion was when I said the project was good and she continued to press the issue. I felt ignored – overlooked.
The spiral began with this feeling. It ramped up until there were tears and screaming. To give you a visual, it was like poking a bear once, maybe twice, and then getting attacked. My one-and-only felt ripped open and bleeding. After trying to make her own voice heard on something important to her.
Maybe, this situation sounds familiar to you. One or two pokes and you are a boiling volcano.
Or do you spiral in a different direction?
Where do you spiral to? If you don’t know, maybe you spiral to a place called numb. Or maybe you go to the binge, thinking “This doesn’t feel good, so I am going to …” and fill in the blank.
And when you finish with the spiral are you any better off? Or did it just make things worse?
I can tell you recovering from a bear attack is not a good place for your spouse to be. I also know addictive binges didn’t get me any closer to where I wanted to be.
So what can we do? I think of George Jetson shouting “Jane, stop this crazy thing!” And I want the craziness to stop and I have the keys to do it. No one makes me spiral, how I react is my choice and I control the outcome.
I opened with a scripture talking about Jesus being a “rock of offense” to the people he came to save. His message, his very presence, offended the people in power to the point they killed him. And they rejected his salvation for them.
For the people who knew they were lost and alone, he offended the part of them that wanted to stay in their sin. The part wanting to cope with life as best they could without giving up the “safe” things they loved.
Do you know what offends you to the point of killing? Even if it is an imaginary death. I know there is something in me that gets so offended my spiral seems like the only response.
I have to take responsibility for my response and I have to look at what I used to justify my spiral.
Realizing I am offended when I feel ignored is a good thing to know. Why does feeling ignored set me off? Well, I found porn the first time when I was alone at home. I felt ignored. And I found an outlet to those feelings.
Feelings are scary.
I don’t want to talk about them. They don’t always make sense. Sometimes they make me look bad.
So I stuff them down. And bury them deep in my soul. At least I try to, but what happens during the next confrontation with the most important person in my life? She gets a bucket of stale garbage emotions dumped on her. These become a distraction to the real issue and we remain stuck. Yea!
And the spiral continues.
I think this is why a lot of guys find porn so enjoyable. It doesn’t care about our emotions. We get what we want without having to change or deal with the feelings we hide.
So if we are going to move forward and become men with great relationships, we need to deal with the offenses. We need to find the one “rock of offense” and find out why it makes us so crazy.
The first step begins with acknowledgement. Just like addiction. Realize it is there and you are powerless to control the emotion.
And take a breath.
Do you want to harm someone for an emotion we all experience? I mean I ignore people all the time. Why doesn’t it bother me? Should it? If it leads to the other person mauling me like an angry bear, I might pay attention.
Feel the emotion and if possible, let the other person know you triggered. If you need to, take a break until you can be rational. This is not a break to stuff it back down, but a chance to say “Hi” to an old friend who drives you nuts.
Be offended. It is OK to be offended. But, your response and its intensity are where you need to be cautious. Poking a real bear might get you killed, but poking a person shouldn’t.
When you acknowledge the issues right away, it is less likely to throw you into the spiral. There is less energy behind it. You aren’t trying to keep it hidden.
And you can move on without having to clean up a huge mess. And you won’t have to buy a new phone like I did.