The Emotional Roller Coaster
Vivian Green sang a song, Emotional Roller Coaster, about the highs and lows of being in an unhealthy relationship. But even for those who are in a "healthy" relationship, emotions have been know to get the best of a situation. Unchecked emotions can lead a person into a situation that causes them to wake up and ask, "How did I get here?" Strong emotions can move a person to fuss and cuss, even when they really want to hug and love. They can cause a person to cheat, lie, or be moved to such a place of anger that they abuse or even kill.
When a person doesn't have a handle on their emotions, their emotions have them. When someone has no control over their own emotions, they try and control other people. If you feel your are in a relationship with someone who is controlling, understand that they don't have the ability to control themselves. The weakest person on the planet is one who has no control over his own emotions.
Yet, our society perpetuates and even glorifies the out-of-control emotional reality star. Reality television isn't even considered good anymore unless someone is at odds with their spouse or boyfriend, cussing out their friend, near blows, or throwing shade about the confidant that they should try and protect. Yes, reality television is lightly scripted, but don't be fooled into believing that the harmful words and actions of the people on these shows are not causing emotional damage to one another. Yes, they may be getting paid, but a person who makes a lot of money, but is emotionally damaged is a broken person with money in the bank. There is no true wealth there.
In my own life, my husband, Robert, and I have had to mature to a point where we don't allow our emotions to dictate the flow of our days and the security of our marriage. We are human, so of course we are not perfect, nor do we expect each other to be, but there are times that we manage to push the wrong button or rub the other person the wrong way. The younger versions of our selves would spend way too much time up in arms trying to defend, or accuse. We sometimes went hours or even overnight in anger, and I'm not talking about being a little upset, I'm talking full blown anger, the kind that if provoked any further could have easily lead to divorce.
One time early on in our relationship, Rob and I were in the middle of a petty argument that was escalating fast. In the mist of our fight, his best friend came by to visit. We both tried to keep our cool at first, but something was said, and we picked up right where we had left off, as if his friend wasn't there. As a matter of fact, I rushed back up the stairs and began packing a suitcase. I yelled something down to Rob and he yelled back up at me. As I made my way down the stairs, suitcase in hand, we both slung hurtful insults at the other on the staircase and his friend was standing there in the middle of the living room, scratching his head and shaking his head. I headed to the door, "I'm out," I said.
Rob walked over to where I was standing and grabbed the door nob, "You can stay here, I'm leaving."
Thankfully, Robert's best friend is a good guy and he said to us, "Wait a minute, y'all are going too far. You two need to talk this out."
Deep down, I didn't want to walk out of that door. I wasn't even sure of where I was going to go. I didn't want Robert to leave either, because in my young mind, it would have meant that he won. All I ever wanted to do was talk it out with Robert, sensibly, but we were both so angry that we could not get to the core of the issue. Instead we were caught up lingering in the petty irrelevant, layers that prevent emotional individuals from working their way to the actual issue at hand.
That night we ended up talking through our disagreement, whatever it was at the time, and we made up and moved forward with our relationship. That was not the last time that an emotional argument threatened to end what for all intents and purposes was what we thought was a strong, healthy relationship.
Through time we have both grown tremendously spiritually. We don't get on the emotional roller coaster ride. It is not for the grown and sexy. We have been blessed to gain a better understanding of how unmanaged emotions can lead a person down a path that has the potential to be hard to come back from. We respect emotions and recognize that although they are often valid, they should not dictate our actions. We don't want to be victim waking up and saying, "How did I get here?"
If you want to grow up and get off the emotional roller coaster, here are a things to consider:
1. Know that emotions come and emotions go. Just because you feel them doesn't mean that you have to react to them every time.
2. Respect how you feel, but remain calm. Allow yourself the opportunity to process how and why your are so emotional. Make every effort to give yourself the time and space to disconnect from the strong reaction. Once you have calmed down and are sure you can come in peace, address the person who caused you to be so upset.
3. Don't rehearse how you feel. Repeating over and over again, "I'm pissed," isn't going to solve the issue. As a matter of fact, if you say you're just how angry you are, then you will be that much more upset. This could make matters worse.
4. Begin the conversation with the intent of coming to a resolution. Keep you tone under control and talk. Don't go in trying to give the other person a piece of your mind. Nobody wins. If your tone is not right, you're not ready. Walk until you're really ready to talk.
5. Stick to the one issue you are dealing with. Don't fall into the trap of going in the circle of bringing in all kinds of other issues that are irrelevant.
6. Be transparent about how you feel. If what the person said hurt you deeply, set aside your pride and let them know. If you dealt with a similar issue in your past and this situation brings up old wounds, share that as well. If the person isn't sensitive to your pain, maybe they are not the one for you.
7. Don't jab. Refrain from talking down to, insulting, or cussing out the person who hurt you, doing so is a direct indication that you are not in control and your intent is to hurt.
8. Be open to forgive. If the person who hurt you says they are sorry and don't continue the behavior, be quick to forgive them. If they just say, "I'm sorry," and continue the same behavior, then it is time to reevaluate. Chances are it isn't healthy for you.
Proverbs 16:13 (KJV)
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.