Anger and Love

Of the many problems I experience with my emotions is the blending of Anger and Love. When my parents were mad at me I learned about the emotion of anger.  Since there wasn’t an expression of love in my house as I grew up, I never experience the blending of anger and love before.

Some how I equated anger with not loving.

Now my Wife enters the picture

My wife is constantly mad at me.  Whenever my wife is mad at me, that loving emotion I experience from her is removed from my world.  Since she is mad at me, I perceive that she no longer loves me (which is a very scary thing for a child to loose the love of his mother1.  At this point in my shadow world I end up using my passive aggressive skills (which end up making things worse, like pouring gasoline onto the fire):

  • Try to convince her that I didn’t do it
    • I didn’t do it
    • It’s some else’s fault for her anger
  • Try to convince her the anger she feels isn’t valid

As you might guess, these never work. I’m just a terrified child in shadow trying to gain the love of his mother.

Reality

In reality, my wife loves me very much.  She can hold an angry emotion and still love me.  During one of our fights2, my wife got really mad with me. She stormed up stairs as a total rejection of her love for me (again my perceptions/projections). She came down moments later while she was still mad, put her arms around me and said, “It makes me mad when you do X, but I still love you.”

At this point, my world crashed. I broke down like a little baby and cried and cried. I couldn’t understand how she could be mad at me, but still have love for me.

Many times, we would have arguments that would go unsolved. My perception was she hated me and wanted nothing to do with me. With our unresolved argument, my wife would go about her life like normal and ask me what I wanted for dinner (or something inane like that). I’d stare at her in disbelief. One time I even mentioned, “How can you ask me that? Are you not aware that you’re mad at me?”

I never understood the combination of Anger and Love.

Mixing Anger and Love

Anger and Love
You can be angry with someone and love them at the same time.

After many fights/arguments, my wife realized she needed to use the phrase3, “I get really mad at you when you do X, but I still love you.” After she used it on me, when she came down (from upstairs) and gave me a hug, she looked me in the eye and told me this. That’s what really broke me down. This phrase is used constantly in our house; with each other and with our children.

I’m beginning to understand that a loved one can be angry with someone and love them at the same time. My second born is at the age of understand that I seem to be stumped at. He also cannot understand the mixing of anger and love. There have been many times when I’m mad at him and he responds with the same anger. I tell him, “I’m mad at you when you do X, but I still love you.” He responds with, “No you don’t! You don’t love me! You’re mad at me!” My only response is to give him a big hug (which is a bit hard when you’re mad).

This concept really hit home when my wife found a picture of an angry old man. This man in his anger was still holding an umbrella to protect his wife while he sat in the rain. With all the anger this old man had for his wife, he was still loving enough to protect her.

It’s amazing how an image can explain the mixing of such emotions.  Now we use the phrase, “I’m mad at you, but I still love you.”  Or we hold up an imaginary umbrella for the other person and that explains it all.


1Yes, she’s my wife but she is also a mother figure. At this point, I’m in shadow and dealing/projecting childhood emotions, so she is a mother figure. This might be great content for another post.
2I’ve forgotten what the fight was about, but I probably did something wrong, got caught and tried (as a terrified child) on of my passive aggressive methods to bring back my mother’s love.
3It still makes me tear up just thinking about it.

Seeing Other Shadows and Monsters

It’s hard being in reality

Shadow Monster
Seeing other people’s shadow sheds light on my own shadows.

After taking the red pill, find myself staying on the actual side of reality. I usually stay on this side of reality unless I’m triggered and end up in shadow. When I’m in reality, I ketch glimpse of others who are in shadow and I feel like Neo1 who understands how the matrix works and sees people trapped in the matrix.

It’s really hard not to engage people in shadow since I feel I’ve been where they are at. Unfortunately, I also realize being in shadow alters your perception of reality. No matter what I say, there’s not much that will break them free from the world they are in.

Here’s what I saw

As a treat, my family eats at Baja Fresh (a Californian/Mexican food place).  As an additional treat, we visit the local bookstore and buy each kid a book. While in the children’s section of this big book store, a father found his lot 4 year old daughter. Of course, I’m not certain how you con loose your children when they are in the “Children’s” section of the book store2.

This father proceeded to scold her for being lost to the point of making her cry.

Now let me add that it’s a scary experience to loose a child. Any parent would be in panic mode with the thoughts of what would happen to your lost child.

But, is it necessary to make your 4 year old daughter cry because you were scared?

Past Emotions Projected onto the Present

I’d imagine that father was experiencing past emotions. It seemed that father was re-living a past memory when he was made to cry after being lost.

I’m sure a balanced father would experience anger, but I would hope a balanced father would not actively participate in making his 4 year old daughter cry.

I find it’s a major clue a person is in shadow when their reasoning isn’t sound or is child like.  This father was defending his actions to his wife with the childlike excuse of “She made me do it!”

I would like to think I’m at the point in my progression where I can see myself and others “in shadow.” My wife gives me a look and is able to say, “There’s something else going on here that you need to deal with.” If it’s a very deep emotion, I’ll fight my instincts and hold onto that shadow reality. In the end, I end up facing the truth of reality. I just hope I don’t look that pathetic as a father making his 4 year old cry.3

It seems once you’re able to see past the primal emotions of others and realize they are having the same problems I have helps to relate to the world.  I don’t see it as an excuse (“he’s doing it too, so I should be able to”).  I see it more as the progress I have made and I am at the point where I can see it in others.  I can see myself in them.  It reminds me how often I can slip back into that role of being the monster.

1 I am not trying to equate myself to Neo nor some Christ figure. In no way am I capable of Neo’s skills nor Christ’s everything.
2 Hello!? It’s a book store with a children’s section!? Reminds me of when Joseph and Mary found Jesus in the Temple and Jesus answers with, “Hello!?, I’m in the temple!? Where else would I be?! Of course, he didn’t say this, but I paraphrased Luke 2:49
3 No matter how hard I fight against the truth of reality, I always end up looking like a little boy throwing a temper tantrum. Not like the man I’m created to be.

Redirection – the Art of not Feeling/Dealing

Emotional Redirection
Emotional redirection is used to mask our true emotions since those are more difficult to deal with.

My wife caught me redirecting.

I’ve been pretty good at dealing with my feelings lately and catching potential problems and Feeling and Dealing with emotions. Every-so-often, something slips through and I get triggered.

What I mean by “triggered” is something happens in the present that sets off alarm bells from the past. The best way to explain this involves something happening when my brain is brought back to a point in my childhood along with the emotions I had in the past.  This sets my brain in an emotional state in my past while I’m experiencing the present moment.

In this case, I came home and was disappointed that my wife didn’t do something for me. Before this disappointment, I was feeling some great happiness because I got a new toy I’ve always wanted.  Now with this mixture of happiness followed by disappointment triggered me back to my past when I had the same emotions except things went fro okay to bad with no normal explanation for my young brain to figure out.

So now, my emotional state is that of extreme fear.  Something really bad is about to happen to me. I was happy, and now I’m disappointed.  These emotions usually followed me getting in trouble and spanked.

I was in extreme fear mode.  I had to divert attention away from me before I get in trouble and spanked (see, my mind’s in the past – adults needn’t fear spankings).  Someone is getting spanked and it’s not going to be me.  This is when I am most deceitful because I’m in a life or death struggle to not get spanked.

By the way, this is all in hindsight.  Now that I’m out of this mode, I can look back and understand my mindset was in the past.  There is no father figure that will spank me.  I’m not a little kid who’s in fear of his life because he’ll get a spanking.

If, at that moment, you asked me if I was having a problem, I would flat out deny anything was wrong.  You see, if I actually admitted I was having a problem, then I would surly be in trouble and the world would truly come to an end for me (again, I’m in my shadow world or living in a past emotion).

This is when I am the luckiest man in the world. I have a wife who I’ve come to trust. She is strong and aware enough to recognize when I’m in this shadow. I trust her enough that no matter what’s going on in my head/world, she can just say:

  • I think there’s something you need to deal with.
  • You seem to be having problems.
  • Something’s not right.

There are definitely times when I go kicking and screaming that nothing’s wrong (which is a sure sign that my emotions are in the past). At this point, I have to feel it and deal with it.

Flowcharts

FlowChartI have flow charts that run my life.  Every interaction I have with people relies on a flow chart.  My flow charts are listed on sub levels in my brain I am unaware of. I know they exist because my world comes crashing down when people don’t follow my flow charts.

Flowchart Origins

I’m sure as a little kid, to bring order to the chaos that was my childhood, I formed these logic flow charts.  As a little boy, when I did get in trouble or something went wrong, nobody ever reasoned the outcome for me.  I had to figure out the reasoning myself.

Let’s see how this works:

  1. As a small child, I am loud in a public restaurant.
  2. Dad gets mad at me.
  3. I get spanked.

Pretty straight forward.  Kids shouldn’t be loud and rough housing in a public restaurant.  I also learn:

  1. One of my siblings is loud.
  2. Dad gets mad
  3. Everyone gets in trouble

I now have these 2 flow charts assembled.  It doesn’t take much to blend them a bit to:

  1. People get loud
  2. Dad gets mad
  3. I get spanked

As an adult, I have no father around, so  I can make my own rules.  I don’t break from this cycle because I have the fear of God in me every time my kids get loud.  I get mad at my children.

I never stop and say, “Wait a minute!  We’re at Chuck-e-Cheese.  You can be as loud and crazy as you want.”  Or, “Wait a minute!  There’s nobody else in the restaurant to care.”

I have thousands of these flow charts in my head and I am always discovering them after the fact.

Here’s a big one I just discovered.  My wife gives me unconditional love.  I’ve learned love isn’t given freely.  There are 2 routes I can go.

Route A:  Reject the love.

When my wife gives me unconditional love I truly feel I don’t deserve it.  I’m not going to tell her I don’t want it because I do, but I didn’t earn it according to my rules and flow charts.  I’ll have to make her mad at me so she’ll take it back.  Then I can do something wonderful to make up for it all and she will then give it to me in a clean, laundered form.

Route B: Accept the love

Another way to allow myself the freely given love is to actually earn it once received.  Before I can truly enjoy the love I freely receive, I have to work hard for it first.  I have to do something special before I can receive this love.  (

This usually doesn’t go well in 2 different ways.  Either my wife’s love is reject because I haven’t paid the proper tribute.  Or,  I pay proper tribute and I’m not given the love I deserve.

Either way, this never goes well.

What to do?

The primary step to solve this problem is realizing in our brains, we have these flowcharts set up.  We have setup these flowcharts to add logic to our chaotic world.  As adults, we are in control of our lives and are no longer stuck in the past world of chaos.

I am constantly rediscovering these flowcharts I’ve setup in my life.  I have to identify them, and shatter them (because, like it or not, I will make the flowchart match my world.  If my flowchart requires something bad to happen as an end result, I will make sure that bad thing happens).

Monsters

Hello. My name is Tom. I am a monster.Monsters

If you know me, you probably think I’m kidding.

I’m not.

My wife sent be a pretty powerful video that really resonated with me. The video (see below) starts with a kid walking with someone. Maybe her parent. She has a really disturbed look on her face. You come to find she’s walking with some zombie mother. This zombie mother represents her alcoholic mother. This is the way she see her mother.

I am that monster too.

Now, I don’t think I’m an alcoholic, but I seem to hold the same tendencies an alcoholic parent has. I sometimes loose it with my children and become that monster.

At least now, I have an image of what I look like when my emotions take over.

It’s ironic that I fear these monsters. In my fear I become what I most fear. I pass this fear on to my children so they can also be monsters.

Time to break that cycle.

Not Reacting

Not Reacting

imageIn my In Shadow post, I mentioned not reacting.

When I look back on my “not reacting” statement, I had a twinge of emotion that said, “that’s just stuffing your emotions again.”

I want to clarify this statement.

When I get in shadow, I am in “fight or flight” mode. If I find myself in “fight” mode, I am looking for a fight. I have this perception that if I make the fight happen, it will end the shadow. Of course, this is all happening at a sub-conscience level and I’m not realizing it. I’m only aware of this after the fact when I reflect on myself.

I end up creating a fight (usually with my lovely wife). This always ends up in creating more problems.

One morning, I was pissed at everything. The dishes weren’t done. The house was a mess. I had to do everything. I was mad and I wanted a fight. I had a moment of clarity where I thought, “I’m just looking for a fight.  If I find a fight, it won’t go well.”

With this thought, I could avoid any serious interaction with my family.  Once I was in a safer place, I was able to reflect and realize I was having some jealousy problems with something that happened the night before.

Don't react to outside emotions.
Don’t react to outside perceptions.

Stuffing your feelings is taking an inside feeling and not dealing with it.

Not reacting is shielding yourself from outside perceptions so it doesn’t turn into inside hurt.

In Shadow

In Shadow

I was triggered again.In Shadow

When I’m triggered, it seems like I’m back in the matrix. I don’t feel like myself. All hope is gone and there is nothing I can do to fix or make things better.

I refer to this as being “In Shadow” state.

Being “in shadow” is a state of mind that can be summarized as absolute terror. In a nightmare experience. Here’s where it gets tricky. You are awake, but there’s still a feeling of terror. All your senses seem to be alive and more heightened. It’s a state of fight or flight, but there’s nothing to run from.

It’s a state of panic.

I don’t like the term panic. Panic doesn’t seem to be a manly word to me. When I think of panic, I get images of:

  • Scared children
  • Women running
  • Wimps

I like the term, “in shadow” because that seems more mysterious to me. But I need to face facts. I get in a state of panic and I want to run in fear.

Either way you call it, it’s a state of “fight or flight” with nothing to “fight” nor “flight” from. This seems to be the ultimate problem. So far, I’ve had 2 reactions to this mode:

  1. Don’t react to anything. I’m in “fight” mode and anything perceived as a problem is really me looking for a fight. I want a fight so I can end this panic feeling. Of course, that just makes things worse.
  2. Feel it and deal with it. There is an underlying reason I’m being triggered. Find that reason and face it.