Why do I still blurt out over-the -top /extreme statements? As I look after very young children, I have to admit comparing myself to a 5 year old in these situations is an insult to many 5 year olds! Although it is rare that I use the word ‘Never’, in the last few days there were 2 REACTIONS of anger, in which I made the following statements -in spite/to lash out ‘hurt’ harm the other- ‘I don’t want to do the shopping with you anymore!’ and ‘I don’t want to have family dinners with you guys anymore!’. Do I mean these things? Well, at the time I do but it does not last long, once the ENERGY subsides/I calm down, after a few minutes to a half hour, I realize I do not mean those statements at all, it is not what I want for myself or the other. So…why do I do it? What is going on? I will examine this here.
PROBLEM Anger: Extreme Reactions
The problem is I am not being self-honest with myself or the other in these cases. I feel an energy rise up from within me and I react-go along/participate in that energy instead of placing a guard in front of my mouth-using self-discipline-I cave/give into the temptation of a ‘quick fix’ , like a baby, WHAAAA… I don’t feel good because of what you just said to me so I’m going to get revenge on you because it will change the energy I am feeling, from negative to positive, and I will feel ‘good’ again because I am better than you. I CAN hurt you SO I WILL. I do not want to wait, I want to do it now! This will convince me I am right to blame you for how I am feeling and so justify my attack/counter-attack. And the problem with that is it can result in damaged/destroyed relationships, which are important to me and the other. In that, often I find myself having to ‘backtrack’ in embarrassment and apologize for being rude/harsh/hurtful.
Each of these solutions leads to the next, builds upon the other.
1. The first solution to this problem is to SLOW DOWN. If I can slow down, in fact STOP, TAKE A DEEP BREATH, several deep breaths in and out and commit to not THINKING but to staying present. Give it a little time, as in just listen (if someone else is present), tell them ‘I’m going to get back to you on this’, if I am too upset or just breathe and know you will face the reaction later, also one can physically leave the space/room for a break to assist in calming down (excuse yourself if you are with others).
2. Once I have slowed myself down, the second solution is to LOOK at the situation calmly: In both these situations, I initially felt anger arise inside of me because I felt insulted/threatened like someone was attacking me and so I need to defend myself. With the LOOKING, one can examine/ask myself WHY am I feeling angry? SO TO GO TO THE ROOT/SOURCE/CAUSE OF WHY YOU ARE TAKING THE MIND PERSONALLY? What do I not want to give up/is there something I am deriving from it/how is it serving my ego/self interest/how does it empower me/do I want revenge on someone?
‘I don’t want to do the shopping with you anymore!’ and ‘I don’t want to have family dinners with you guys anymore!’
I know I learned this behavior from childhood, in the first 7 years of life, mainly from my parents/home environment, in which I recall my mother would, in one moment be the ‘nice’ mom and then very quickly become the ‘mean’ mom in her reaction to when we upset her for some reason and I had fear and confusion over this but it was not too extreme or often. It was mostly from my father, I have learned this ‘coping mechanism’. My father reacted with anger often and I was a very fearful child, not knowing when this big presence in the home would explode or just speak out harshly, hurtful words at me, but mostly towards my siblings. Because I was just a small child, I had no power, no say/voice and it was made clear, by him we (my brothers, sister, I , my mom) were not to ‘talk back’, there was no discussion encouraged, he was the one and only authority and we were to comply. So, I did not have an example of the adults in my life showing me/teaching me how to handle conflict situations in a logical and calm manner. I do not have any memories of us as a family (or very few compared to the number of reactive situations) sitting down quietly and addressing a problem/point of concern/disagreement.
Therefore, I SUPPRESSED my reaction (unconsciously/automatically in an instant) as a matter of survival and I hid/went to my room for safety/stayed SILENT to protect myself from my father, in fear of punishment and my desire for safety.
Thus, my extreme reaction is a response and release to/of all the years of built up suppression as and within me! So, if I declare I will not participate in the activity anymore, be it shopping or having dinner together, I do not have to face myself as my reaction, it is an instantaneous fix and I can supposedly wash my hands of this problem forever, so there! However, this is not the case as it has not been addressed so still exists within me and it just creates a timeloop and I am left facing this kind of reaction over and over again.
3. The third solution is to STOP PARTICIPATION in this reaction the next time it comes up, meaning be aware of what you are experiencing and even say ‘stop, NO , not participating‘ ( out loud or in your mind if you are with others) and use your breath to stabilize yourself. Then, do not engage in inner conversation or self-judgment but commit to investigate what happened when you have time and in so doing-you are not suppressing the reaction of anger but taking proper responsibility to direct it/clear from within you.
*Improved communication between you and others in your living environment
*Creates a safe environment for discussion, when/as issues arise within your home, for yourself and others
*You stand as a living example, for your children, in relation to conflict management/solution and not just living in the past as passing on ‘the sins of the father’ one generation to the next
*You create a ‘snowball’ effect of building trust in the home and this will improve your overall relationship with your children/partner/others so they will be more likely to come to you in times of difficulty in their life, share the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’
*Improved mental and physical health, as you are no longer creating situations of high stress
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