Any steps or ideas on processing emotion quicker?

    I know we have talked about this before, but man, I really struggle with this and I am wondering if there’s any practical steps to take to work through it faster.

    I have to admit, I don’t fully know what’s going on or why I react the way I do, is it defensive, is it passive aggressive, is it personality, etc. etc.?

     

    The problem, particularly speaking about my husband… he spoils plans or a moment, which in turn, can spoil the rest of the day/evening for me.  It could be he doesn’t keep his word and he’s late, or it could be he goes on an angry (verbal) tirade because he was only given half the carry out order and didn’t realize it until he got home.  And to top it off, when he calls the restaurant he puts the anger (blame) on the family, who is sitting there listening, rather than owning it himself. (Although, he perceived and assumed I was angry with him, but it was a total assumption because there was nothing to give that idea other than beginning to notice that not all the food was there, and asking if he checked the order before he left. I also believe his anger was justifued, but the way he handled it was wrong.) 

    He receives correction/rebuke, because I do point out his wrong behavior, he accepts responsibility and even apologizes and asks forgiveness, more than once, to all he wronged…  but here’s my problem, I can’t get out of the mental and emotional funk I was shoved into.  I do know that I am a delayed processor, meaning, I take in all the information being thrown at me, I deal with the facts, but I don’t process through the emotion and the event as a whole, until later, after I am removed from the situation (it’s the act of “keeping your head on your shoulders” during an emergency.)  It’s like fortifying walls come up, I become like steel, and the only emotion I might be feeling is a contained anger.  

    Any ideas?  Is it even possible for me to work through the processing quicker? How? As I write this now, I am seeing myself a little more clearly and I wonder if it’s just how I am created and so I need to accept it and realize I just take more time to work through things.  I may never be one who can work through my emotion on the spot, even if one does apologize and seek forgiveness quickly.

    I think I’m also a delayed processor. Never heard to put that way before. My initial reaction is usually emotional which can be bad. I tend to think about it later and work through it to what I think is a reasonable answer or response.

    Most men have anger issues. It’s very destructive and hurtful. I heard Dr. S.M. Davis preach on “Anger, the Great Destroyer” and it changed my life and my relationship with my wife and daughter.  I had to ask their forgiveness. Like an alcoholic, anger is always lurking under the surface. Thankfully, the Lord has given me a lot of victory over it and I’m learning to keep my mouth shut and my emotions calm. Dr. Davis has a a whole series of DVD messages on anger. Every man should watch all 5 of those videos.

    Asking forgiveness doesn’t always take away the hurt or the damage. You can throw a stick of dynamite into a room and apologize for it later. But the damage is not undone by your apology. Your reaction is normal IMO.

    on February 22, 2020.

    I don’t know that “delayed processor” is a professional term, it’s just how I described myself. 🙂  I know in our therapy, the therapist talked about there are Thinkers, Doers, and Feelers, and there is an order we all do those three in.  My husband is a Feeler first then he does, and then thinks.   That may be your case as well.   I am a Thinker first, then I do and then I feel.

    I have heard Dr. S.M. Davis give that message.  We even helped some friends purchase that DVD set.  I don’t want to discount the good it did, but I am a little cautious of his teachings because I now see a lot of it wrapped in old covenant thinking rather than new covenant. I am not saying people shouldn’t listen to him, but that discernment should be used through the filter of Jesus and the new covenant

    on February 22, 2020.
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    9 Answer(s)

      No advice, SC, only what has worked for us. Now, from what I gather on here, your DH is almost completely opposite of mine. So, throw out whatever doesn’t apply.

      I grew up with a dad who yelled and took things out on his family. I vowed I would not let my husband do that, to me or our children. And he doesn’t. He does not yell and very rarely takes things out on us.

      I tell him right straight. The last major time, he was on his way home and something went wrong with his pickup. He called me and I had to go tow him home. Well, when I first got there, he took it out on me. I was just doing things wrong! I looked him straight in the eye and I told him he didn’t need to take it out on me, I didn’t want to be here, either, and neither did I have time for this. I possibly told him he could either be cheerful or find another way home, but can’t say for sure. Immediately,

      The other area where the frustrations happen here are when my DH decides to use Google Maps. He has tremendous faith in that system. His wife has NO faith in it. So, we take a family vacation to a large city, where we haven’t been before. I have warned DH but he still likes to try Google locations. Guess what. Inaccurate again! Thats where things have the potential to go bad. I want to lay it on heavily! So, I have focused on keeping him calm. If he starts taking it out on the family, I say look, we have lots of time. He gets frustrated and his tendency would be to pull aside finally and sit there and say, what do I do? I don’t know what to do.

      I tell him, ok, now stop. Lets enjoy the ride and not get huffy! Lets pull put a map. Lets read it. Lets figure out where we are. (And I really want to yell and say, if you had listened and not had such faith in that thing, we would long be there! )

      The Google Maps thing happened again on this week. However, he kept telling me he didn’t trust it. I let him rant. It got us there, but the longer way around.

      If stuff happens in front of the children, I kindly tell him, please don’t take it out on us. I think its good if they see issues resolved. And anger isn’t always a bad thing, but its what you do with it.

      As for me, I used be able to be upset for a whole day. For me, it helps so much to just tell him kindly that his remark this morning ticked me right off. Sometimes apologize, sometimes we don’t. But it doesn’t wreak havoc with me like it used to! I am learning to let it go.

      Under the stars Answered on February 22, 2020.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.  🙂  I have actually come a long way in staying calm and letting things go.  I don’t hold onto control as much as I used to.  Setting up some boundaries has helped a lot.  But there are still these occasion that something out of the blue comes in like a wrecking ball.

      I really have a hard time talking sweet (“please don’t….”) when in situations like that.  I am doing marvelous just to keep my own temper in check, because my instinct is to “fight”, not “flight” nor “freeze”.

      on February 22, 2020.

      My real instinct would be to lay it on and lay it on heavy! And to preach a sermon! And not a nice one!

      on February 22, 2020.

      LOL! Good thing we have the sanctifying work of the Spirit!

      on February 22, 2020.
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        Processing emotions completely can be complicated, and the time can vary considerably.

        Some thingsyou described would seem minor to me as a one time offense, but if they are recurring issues, and you have brought them up before, chances are you are not reacting to the stated offense so much as reacting ot not being seen or heard when you brought them up before. That complicates things if you are not aware of the shift, and you may well believe you are upset about one thing, but are feeling un-heard. If you are tryimg to het over the wrong thing, and not addressing your feelings about the actual hurt you are experiencing, it makes sense that it would be difficult to overcome.

        On the floor Answered on February 22, 2020.

        The late thing is a repeated offense, so what you say could likely be true there. The anger thing, that spurred this question, I don’t feel fits that category. My husband stepped out of his norm with how he displayed his anger, including some crude language, for our family.  I am sure it was the mama bear coming out.  We teach our kids not to speak a certain way, and here he is doing it as he is yeliing and red faced.  It would be one thing if it was just he and I.  I would have let him ranted and maybe have not said a thing until he cooled down.  But in front of three of our kids, and likely in the earshot of our dil and grandson, it was a righteous defender coming up out of me.  But it sure ruined a birthday.

        on February 22, 2020.

        Anger certainly complicates things. It is normal to respond aggressively to anger even when it isn’t directed an you personally, especially if there are factors such as you describe. My wife was never good at ignoring ine of my episodes.

        on February 22, 2020.
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          @seekingchange. Yes, it’s possible, but the only method that I know of that works well involves training in mindfulness meditation. This is easy to find but less easy to cultivate. There are many YouTube videos to get you started.

          Contrary to some beliefs, meditation doesn’t have to be counter-Christian. What I’m talking about simply allows you to reduce the activity of your brain’s prefrontal cortex and calm your entire system through deep breaths. When it’s practiced regularly (building up to 15 minutes a day), you can almost instantly calm yourself and channel your mental energy toward something more productive.

          It starts with deep breathing, often 3 counts in and 5 counts out. You focus on nothing but that breathing at first, mentally counting it. It’s a belly breathe, not a chest breathe. When first starting, that’s enough to focus on. Just the breath. If other thoughts pop into your head, you notice them, but just let them go. And it’s best to start this by lying down, but eventually you will be able to do it anywhere, in any position.

          Your brain will fight this. It’s your prefrontal cortex’s job to worry about those thoughts. It’s tough for it to let them go. That’s why daily practice is necessary. It allows your brain to realize that your thoughts are not putting you in imminent physical danger, so it’s ok to ignore them. The mental count is key, because you’re focusing on numbers instead of your thoughts.

          Level 2 involves tensing and relaxing every major muscle group, starting with the feet and working your way up to the neck. You’re doing this while continuing the breathing and focusing solely on the count.

          I usually close with a prayer of peace and thanksgiving that God has given my body the ability to relax.

          Like I say, your body will fight this at first because it’s built to be tense during a perceived danger situation. After a couple of weeks of practice, you’ll find that it goes faster. When I was fully implementing this, I found that I could be fully relaxed with complete control over my emotions within about 10 seconds. It really does work that well. It becomes muscle memory for your body at that point. You start the breathing, and your body knows to relax almost immediately. I’ve used this in meetings at work without people even noticing.

          Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on February 22, 2020.

          Thanks. I don’t think I have ever tried breathing, or not in the way you describe.  I have noticed that having Christan music on, if we are in the car after one of these offenses, will help pull me out of it the quickest,  I know it’s because it’s renewing my mind with God’s truth.

          on February 22, 2020.

          I agree. I have a couple of hymns that I listen to if I’m overly stressed. Bible reading works, too. God’s there when we call on Him.

          on February 22, 2020.

          @DG–your instruction sounds very similar to information I have heard from several disparate sources. To the extent that I have practiced it (I confess to poor follow-through) I can testify to its effectiveness.

          on February 22, 2020.

          It’s something I picked up in my mental health program. It’s hugely effective if regularly practiced. I was once very good at it. Not so much anymore! Like you, my follow through is not the best.

          on February 22, 2020.
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            Throughout my life, I’ve tended to be reactive in certain situations and conditions. Unpleasant surprises, annoying/uneven people, hidden agenda (disingenuous people), and unnecessary chaos can cause me to respond angrily with an unpleasant effect on my mood and the situation.

            Some years ago, to address this lifelong behavioral response, I focused on the practical application – believe me it’s hard and I’m still learning – in James 1:19. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

            When I’m in meetings, I often write down ‘QL, SS, SA’ at the top of the agenda. It helps. Also, when in a stressful situation, I continue to learn how to relax and think, ‘How big a deal is this?’ ‘Don’t make it personal.’ ‘How can I help the person emoting or acting inappropriately?” These techniques have helped me.

            Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on February 22, 2020.

            Thanks for the ideas!

            on February 22, 2020.
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              If I understand right, when your DH messes up and you get really upset with him, you do process through the anger, hurt, frustration, etc., but it takes time and often by the time you are ready to be happy with him again, whatever pleasant period of time you were expecting (date, family dinner, etc.) has passed. You want to work through all those feelings faster, so that you can get back to the happy while there is still time to enjoy the date or whatever. Have I got that right?

              If so, I have worked through this and feel like I have come a long way; unfortunately, as we have discussed before, our DHes are fairly different, so I may or may not have much help. First, I also had childhood experiences (with both a dad and a should-have-been father figure) where the dad’s moods ruled the household and I had little recourse if I felt emotionally unsafe. I too swore I would never allow my children to face what I had as a child, so our worst conflicts almost always center around parenting.  I have always overreacted when he would be the slightest bit stern because I couldn’t look at my DD or what was happening around her without a transparent overlay of me and things I faced as a child over top. I often accused him of “acting just like _____” (mostly the other male parent figure, but sometimes my Dad, too.) Some of her biggest challenges in growing to maturity are the result of my inability to stop feeling like a helpless child. Finally recognizing the need to parent her according to what is happening in her life instead of what happened in mine has helped me to *sometimes* back off and trust that he is a good father even when something he does makes me feel like going mama bear on him.  (Not that your husband’s temper tantrum was a good thing, but that’s not the part I think you were asking about.)

              So, our husbands being somewhat different, I should note that mine is very much a man who is thoughtful of my needs; and tries hard to remember and make a change when I express frustration about a habit. (Except some really ingrained ones that are mostly silly, minor irritations. At least I can’t think of anything major at the moment.) He’s also pretty sensitive to criticism from me; if I would get “righteously” angry about something and get in his face about it he would be instantly contrite and have such self-disgust that I would immediately feel bad for how bad he now felt. Nevertheless, there have been times when I was in the situation you describe, where I was overwhelmed with big feelings and didn’t think I could get through them in time to still have a nice time together.

              The biggest thing that helped me learn to “process” as you call it faster was a whole lot of hind sight, At a certain point in our marriage the date nights and the nice evenings and the time alone together that’s worth anticipating just got less and less frequent and less and less dependable. After a conflict that might have been resolved except for my overabundance of feelings ruined a handful of them and I found myself later in the evening, snuggled up to him and mourning the loss/ruination of our anticipated treat, I just started thinking of the choice I had in the moment rather than after it and decided I’d rather choose to put aside my right to be {insert feeling here] than to let my emotions steal from me by default the pleasure of being in harmony with my DH. There is nothing in the world more pleasant than when my DH and I are in tune with each other, talking about things little and big, laughing at the same things, touching each other freely. I want every moment of that I can get.

              One more thing that helps me to not prolong any disharmony with my DH sounds a little morbid, and I don’t say it lightly. I notice the widows that I know and think about how much they would give to have another afternoon or evening with their DH. I think about whatever it is I’m upset about, and wonder if it would be worth it to those widows to spend time talking about it if they did get that one more afternoon. I think about whether it would be worth it to me if I knew this one date would be our last. It seldom is. Occasionally, it is something that must be dealt with to preserve all the dates and harmony in the future. Those, we talk about; it becomes the alternate date, the silver lining if it just can’t be put aside. But usually I realize it’s just not that important after all.

              None of this is offered with even the slightest hint of judgement and it may not apply at all to your situation. It’s just what helped me learn to keep a bad moment from ruining several hours. At the end of the evening, after the date, I’ve never once been sorry to have chosen the date.

              Under the stars Answered on February 22, 2020.

              Thanks for the thoughts.   I do process through the emotions, it just takes time…. usually time away from him and the situation.

              on February 22, 2020.

              Many great thoughts here Duchess.

              on February 23, 2020.
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                Self awareness is definitely the first step!

                My advice would be to replace your negativity with something positive that you enjoy. A bubble bath, a good book, a TV show you like. The point is to get out of your head so that you can focus less on your negative thoughts and start replacing them with the positive.

                Another very effective strategy is to purposely help someone else with something. Focusing on their needs instead of your frustrations is a great way to get yourself out of a funk.

                Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on February 22, 2020.
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                  @Dovegrey, to me it sounds like what you are suggesting requires getting out of the situation as it is, would you say that is true? I do tend to do that after the event, but I am speaking of a little quicker than that. How does one, at the beginning of a date or planned evening, get offended and get in that funk, work through it in the midst of still having to be in the middle of the situation? Is that possible?

                  Under the stars Answered on February 22, 2020.
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                    A few thoughts I hope are helpful – will also be praying for growth for you and him in dealing with the frustrating things.

                    I too have a problem getting angry too quickly, not towards my family, but towards frustrating situations.  I am always convicted with the words “fits of rage” in the Word when this happens.  The example of getting the wrong order and driving all the way home only to have to drive all the way back is a frustrating one.  It isn’t convenient to dig through an entire order, but I try to always do a count of items.  If I have the right count, I take my chances on it.

                    A question becomes, how, as a wife, should you respond to the situation of your husband having a fit of rage.  My advice would be to just be silent and let it pass.  Explaining that you are frustrated for him if need be, you wish it hadn’t gone the way it did, etc.  Let me put it this way, in that moment he needs his wife to not be pointing out what he did wrong in the situation (even if he did wrong) – when this happens it makes his problem worse, he has whatever he is frustrated with (which has probably already been enough to push him out of who he needs to be) and then he has hardship with his wife as well.  It multiplies the problem.

                    Dealing with emotions/aftermath is much harder.  The best way is to prepare a mindset that doesn’t put us on the diving board where something can push us off balance off of it.  For example, plan a nice evening, but expect that he will be late.  I’m not saying it is right for him to be late, but as it is a common problem, expect it.  This isn’t going to sound easy, and it isn’t, but prepare yourself for things to not go as planned.  Could you still enjoy what you planned if he is 10 minutes late?  You could if you prepared for it.  Should you have to deal with him being late?  No.  But does it benefit you both if you do?  Yes.  The late is only an example as it could be a lot of things.  Second, if that preparation doesn’t help and you are thrust into it, the only thought I have is to trust in Him.  Lately I’ve been reflecting a lot on “God is still in His Holy place” when things don’t go to plan.  I do think sometimes we need to just make the best of it, whatever the it is.  Choosing to be content, even in frustrating situations, I think honors God, but it is much easier said than done.

                     

                    On the floor Answered on February 22, 2020.

                    Re: responding to my husband –  as one who grew up being an innocent child who could be treated unfairly by my dad, and feeling there was no protector or defender from one who God gave to tend to me (my silent mom), I will not let my children be put in the same place.  They, in their position, may feel they cannot call out the mistreatment by a parent, but I can and will.  I will not let their spirits be battered and bruised just because he’s the husband and I am the wife.  I try to do it in a respectful manner, but I won’t be silent, not when my children are at stake.  My children got to see and experience full circle the offense, to the correction and conviction, to the taking responsibility and trying to make restoration. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

                    Re: to the last paragraph –  I believe there’s good advice here, and I actually practice this 🙂  You might recall, I used the word boundaries around this, and you didn’t agree with it. 😉   He has a 15 minute grace period with certain plans, after that, I get to make the call what happens next (go out as planned, or cancel/postpone the plans), by where my mental and emotional state are.  There are other times, like appointnents, where there is no extra time to be had for a grace period of lateness, so he has been informed in advance what my actions will be in response… I will leave without him if it’s my appt, or I won’t go if it is his.

                    on February 22, 2020.

                    I didn’t see you mention anything about children in the top question – and I agree – how one reacts in a certain situation when there are children involved is important.  They will model our behavior and that raises the stakes all the more that we need to be steadfast in His ways in the way we operate.  Every situation is different and I am sure there are situations where you shouldn’t  be silent.  I’m not saying that is a blanket answer to all problems.  For a generic fit of rage over not getting the right food though, I’d probably just let it be.  He will likely see it when he isn’t in the middle of it.  Maybe explaining to the children at a later point that we have to be careful and in control of our anger.  I guess where I am going with this is that I don’t believe it will do your husband or children good if you are coming against him when he makes mistakes.  I don’t know that that is what you are saying you are doing, so I am not assuming that.

                    As we’ve discussed, I’m not big on the idea of boundaries because I think they can easily be lifted to a higher point than doing what is right by scripture/God.  That doesn’t mean I don’t think they can be valuable if they are kept aligned to scripture.  I am not judging you on this, but I disagree completely with this idea of “I will tell him what my actions will be” in case x, y, or z, and he must live with it.  Really what I am trying to say is that trying to be more flexible and adaptable under all conditions is something that I think will benefit you.  I don’t know the details of your situation, so again, I’m not judging, just offering advice that I hope is helpful.  Some things are more important than others comes to mind – there may be things where you have to say you are going to do something, but is him being late really important enough to rise to that level?

                    on February 22, 2020.

                    “I didn’t see you mention anything about children in the top question”

                    From the 3rd paragraph, “And to top it off, when he calls the restaurant he puts the anger (blame) on the family, who is sitting there listening, rather than owning it himself.”

                     

                    This isn’t really about the proper way for me to relate to him, but how to work through my own emotions in response to his behavior.

                    on February 22, 2020.

                    I hear you SC.  I really do hope and pray that these situations improve for you.

                    on February 22, 2020.
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                      Maybe you hit the answer in your last paragraph. Emotions can be complex and not everyone can process them immediately. Heck I’m still processing the emotions from my parents trying to undermine our marriage over the past 5 years and the other struggles my wife and I have.

                      Give yourself time to process and if it seems like it just won’t go away and your holding on to emotions like anger and resentment take it to God. Something I have had to realize is that while anger and resentment may feel good in the moment they rarely make things better.

                      On the floor Answered on February 24, 2020.
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