I've realized over the past few weeks of reading, self-observation and observation of others, that there is certainly more than one way to experience being "unglued". I think when I read the book the first time, I only considered my, well - full tilt 'explosions' so to speak.... the yelling & screaming moments. Or the tearful moments (um, usually accompanied by the yelling).
But really, there's a lot of ways that we experience or display 'becoming unglued' isn't there?
- slamming doors
- throwing objects
- grumpy or snarky responses to others
- shutting down and not doing ANYTHING
- overeating/stress eating
- quietly (but angrily) withdrawing from others
Really, this IS covered in Lysa Terkeurst's book. But I think I sort of glossed over the other things the first time because I so heavily associated myself with the 'exploder', it was really the only part I focused on. The only thing I worked on. Now I realize I need to look at it all. Because all of those other things precede the explosion.
Lysa specifies 4 categories of unglued reactions -
- The Exploders who Shame Themselves - (my book has a LOT of underlined and highlighted lines and comments in the margins in the chapter covering this one - another sign that I so closely identified with this the most)
- The Exploders who Blame Others
- The Stuffers who Build Barriers
- The Stuffers who Collect Retaliation Rocks
I remembered that there were various categories and that I had identified with all of them but it was the first one that really stuck. But really I'm getting ahead of myself. I haven't even re-read all of chapter 2 yet, let alone chapter 3 where she discusses these categories. But in rereading chapter 1 and 3, watching the videos and making observations of myself and those around me, I found myself looking ahead at my old notes and thinking, "Oh yes, now it's all coming together...I can see clearly now". And now what I need to do is stay focused on making it better and asking for and accepting God's mercy and grace in doing that. And accepting imperfect progress. That's the hard part.
But I AM MAKING PROGRESS.
I'm recognizing again the signals in my body and the circumstances that bring it about. I recognize the tightness in my chest and muscles, the agitation growing within and my breathing patterns.
And I know, after completing session one on the video and the workbook, what my absolute biggest triggers are. They weren't surprises, but they reconfirmed what I need to do to avoid the triggers and that I need to speak up for myself in trying to make those closest to me understand these needs. NOT that I feel others are responsible for whether my triggers occur - but if they understand, it has the potential to help. So here they are:
- SLEEP - I can say with absolute assurity that my biggest explosions are closely associated with the amount of sleep I've had. This is better than it used to be, but there are still nights I have insomnia for one reason or another, and it really has an effect on my mood and ability to handle stress.
- HUNGER - I can say with just as much assurity that hunger is equal to sleep in relation to my explosions. Now that we primarily use the paleo diet, I do so much better with this issue. While I can now usually (not always) go for longer periods of time without eating and don't always have to have major meals by a certain time, I do know that eating well-balanced meals in a timely fashion really do affect my ability to handle day-to-day life stuff well.
- NOISE - I like the quiet. I really do. And soothing sounds like the breeze, songbirds, ocean waves, and low volume soft music. Put me in a loud situation and I'm stressed. Does that always make me unglued? No. I can handle football games, loud rock music coming from my daughter's bedroom, a concert - but mix it with the other factors that I've mentioned or in a stressful time or event? yeah, not so much.
- TOO MUCH GOING ON AT ONCE - The mornings are bad.... I'm usually hungry and trying to keep up with my morning routine to get the day off smoothly and I panic if I'm behind. Add an unexpected phone call, the dog getting sick, my child not being able to find shoes and needing to get somewhere that's on my list of things to do that day and it gets hairy. Throw in someone asking me to do something extra or having a computer or some other technology problem and well, I'm not always the most patient. Mornings of course, aren't the only time for this. The week we moved was crazy.... unexpected problem after unexpected problem on top of needing to cook in a unpacked disorganized kitchen, handling phone calls on top of phone calls, meeting the needs of my youngest and older son, finding things for everyone - well, there was a lot going on and it's a miracle I still have hair. It's a miracle there's any glue left.
- INTERRUPTIONS - This is less likely to be a trigger if the other ones aren't occurring, but one I really need to stay aware of and work on. It can be the smallest thing for me too. Example:
I'm here at the computer, in the middle of a great train of thought, really getting the words out and, "Mommy I need to go potty." (He's 4, why is he telling me this?)
"Okay dear, go ahead." I go back to the keyboard.
"Which one should I go to?" (We have three bathrooms and he's in this phase where he seems to need me to tell him which one to use)
"Uh, it doesn't matter. Just pick one."
"Tell me which one!" he yells, which I find annoying when I'm trying to get something done, you know? Actually I find it annoying anytime.
"Yours." I answer in a huffy voice. "Go use yours." (It's not his, but he identifies it as his as it's the main bathroom that he uses most often and where the bathtub is that he uses.
"No- K_____ is there!" (his brother). Ugh. I rub my temple. The tension is building within me.
"Just use the middle bathroom then."
But now my focus is gone. Did I scream? No. But inside I am unglued and I have let this interruption ruin my focus and my mood is on edge for several minutes, sometimes longer paving the way for another interruption to totally set me off. I really need to find a better way to handle little interruptions. I really need to learn to call upon God even in these small situations. I need to learn to call upon God in all situations.
So these are the main things I have learned thus far in my journey of raw emotions and making wise choices while going through them. I have recognized my biggest triggers and in what ways (there are many - my list above only scratches the surface really) I become unglued.
And I've realized I've left God out of these situations. Rarely do I call upon Him until the situation is so totally blown out of proportion that I see no way to crawl out of the hole. Then I cry out to Him. THEN I get down on bended knee and ask Him for His hand. Why do I wait until then??? Why, when I first feel those physical changes in my body, or when I realize the triggers ar occurring,don't I reach out to Him then? That, I believe, will be my first biggest step for true progress.
I believe He has led me to this journey. The books that I've chosen (see my first original post on this subject) and others I have recently stumbled upon are seeming to be gifts of grace sent by Him. I must listen and follow.
Please join me. Share your own thoughts.
How do you experience being "Unglued"?
What are your TRIGGERS?