I have a temper.
I can sometimes overreact to a situation.
I grew up in a household and an extended family where tempers flew, usually dispropotiatrly to the situation.
I used to ignore, suppress, otherwise dismiss this scary emotion because of my experiences growing up. Being in a right wing fundamentalist Christian cult during college only served to underscore the belief that feelings are not facts – that we should “un-feel” and not give in to irrational feelings. Being in twelve step groups early in recovery emphasized the same point, that feelings are not facts.
With enough therapy, I can now call bullshit. Feelings are the looking glass, the mirror, the magnifying glass into how are needs are either being met or not met. We may not have to act on them like we want to. I may not have to overreact and act out from the rage and anger that boils up inside of me. But, that feeling is my best chance at figuring out what’s going on. Only from that insight can I make different choices, resolve the unmet needs, and find healing.
Without that step, the pattern of losing my temper, lashing out and overreacting will likely repeat itself time and time again.
My next post will show how this has helped me figure out what’s really going on. But first, I had to face my demon – my rage – my fear – my feelings.
Thank you Chris C, Mike M and others who helped me face my rage.