Emotional Control

When you get upset what do you do?  Do you curse, scream, shout, and throw things?  Do you start berating other individuals? Do you cry, sob, lose control of yourself?  Do you flip people the bird?  Would your actions be defined as over the top or are they just accepted by others, as this is how you act?

I wouldn’t say that any of those actions are ok.  I would define most of those as over the top actions and out of control.  I am not sure why people think it’s ok to act this way, but I have seen lots of people in different settings act like this for far to long.  When I was growing up my sister and I used to get in fights, scream and yell at each other, call each other some pretty horrible names and on some occasions pick up some type of weapon-like device and chase each other around the room.  We usually did this type of stuff when my parents weren’t around.  The other times we screamed and yelled at each other and called each other names and most of the time we were told to stop, but never really given any reason as to why we shouldn’t.

When I was a young kid and I would get in trouble, I would get spanked out of anger by my parents and then dismissed to go to my room.  When this would occur I would think it was the end of the world for me, I thought I was going to lose everything.  This made me even madder and I would go into my room and destroy it.  I would tear things off the walls, rip things up and throw everything in the middle of the floor.  I used to shove everything in front of my bedroom door so my parents couldn’t come in.  I felt like I was losing everything anyway so I might as well take care of it myself.  Only later after I calmed down would I clean things up and turn my room back into the immaculate condition it once had been.  My parents really never bothered to explain to me how wrong my actions were and I finally outgrew it only later turning to more harmful things.

I have seen my dad get mad and upset and would scream and yell and cuss and throw tools, or other items for something as simple as hitting his thumb with a hammer.  When this would occur my mom and sister and I would just stand there looking at him as he did this.  Then we would continue doing whatever it was we were working on and nothing was ever said or spoken about it again.  I saw his own mom do something similar a couple of times, but my Grandfather took her aside and spoke with her and when she came out she was crying and was pretty quiet and subdued.  No one ever called my dad on this and even a year ago when I was home I saw this demonstrated again.  It was shocking to say the least and we all just stood there watching it happen, like we always had.  Needless to say this time the grandkids where there and got to see it, what a treat for them.

I have seen instances of this happen to many times in various jobs I have had over the years.  Not so much over the top behaviors like throwing things, but when people have gotten upset they start throwing out f-bombs and talking badly about others.  There have been times I have gotten caught up in this, but for the most part I just really never feel ok with this type of behavior.  I rarely if ever use any type of profanity and it’s pretty rare that I will talk badly about another person.  I just don’t see this as a way to treat people overall.  I often wonder why or how this makes people feel better.  Does it make you feel better to put someone else down so that you feel superior.  Perhaps that’s why, I just don’t know and am often confused by the actions of others.

I think the last time I really lost it was a few years ago when one of my closest friends was sentenced to prison for rape for 10 years.  I sat through the trial with his family and friends and saw our justice system at work.  He had one of the supposedly best lawyers in town and our hope was that he would get off and the jury would see it was not how it had been made out to be.  Getting the call and finding out he had been found guilty was absolutely devastating.  I went into my bedroom and screamed, I cried, I yelled at the top of my lungs and I beat my fists on my bed.  I just lost it and for about 20 minutes I just wasn’t able to pull myself back together.  I don’t think I have cried that hard in a really long time.

I still believe in following the “Golden Rule” and I don’t think you’re ever to old not to do this.  I believe as a man and someone who wants to be authentic you need to be in control of yourself in all areas.  Practicing self-control also means your emotions.  I don’t think it’s any harder for us as men to get our emotions under control.  While we are not generally emotional led, God has still given us the same emotions as women.  We don’t operate on just 1 or 2 emotions, but many and I believe as a man you need to really figure out what your emotions are and be able to name them as well as keeping them in check.

It is a poor example to set to your children, co-workers and others that you can’t be responsible for your own emotions and responses.  Whenever you display your angry or upset you can scream, curse, throw things, and talk badly about others, you’re demonstrating your inability to be in control of these things.  Being a real man means you identify what it is you’re feeling and deal with it correctly in a responsible manner.  The best thing you can do is keep them in control and in check.  Maybe you need to talk to someone or just spend some time by yourself, but better to do those things then to demonstrate you can’t control yourself to those around you.

  1. Matt says:

    I have been experiencing this problem myself. My wife and I are in “not the most ideal” living conditions, and I’ve been really going over the top when I get mad. I have an appointment to get help for this as I suspect it may have something to do with an anxiety disorder I was diagnosed with. The VA told me that once you have this disorder for more than a year they re-diagnose it to PTSD. After reading about your own experience with PTSD is anger and area where you struggled? Where is a good place to start controlling anger. It is such a strong emotion. I look to what Jesus did with His anger, how he turned into into a righteous anger, but lets face it I’m not Jesus so how do I become more like him in this area of my life? It seems so discourgaing sometimes.

    • Paul S says:

      Thank you for your service. I am also a veteran with Combat PTSD. Many people will point to many solutions to this, and I’ll be the first one to tell you, there are a ton of solutions that work for a lot of people, but there is not one solution that works for all. I have a few things I do, and not one works every time. I’ll give you a few of mine, but don’t expect instant relief, or instant healing.

      1: Pray. When I feel myself getting angry, I close my eyes and pray for whoever I am getting angry at. It’s hard to be mad at someone and sincerely praying for them.
      2: Consider the cause of the anger. If I am getting angry, I quickly look at the cause and determine if my anger is the rational response. It’s almost stepping back and doing math, If Problem A and Problem B equals C, why am I feeling D.
      3: Call a reliable friend. Find a person whom you can call that can talk you down from the ledge. You probably need 2 of these, in case you are feeling the emotion toward one of them.
      4: Isolate myself from trigger. If I am feeling angry, or anxious, or anything negative feeling for that matter, I remove myself from the situation. I’m not sure if you are “disabled” or not, but if you are, this fact protects you on the job if you need to step away for a minute, if not, talk with your boss (actually, talk with them either way).

      One more note. Jesus did not turn his anger into righteous anger, it was already righteous anger. PTSD makes us feel what we think is righteous anger, but many times is not. The intensity we feel is that thing that makes it so hard for us to determine. I know I have been there more times than I can count.

      I would love to chat with you more about this, please send me an email at paul@hardcore-christian.com

      Until the Whole World Knows,

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you.

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