I need to cover one more thing before I begin this week’s Word.
These are terms identifying the way different people handle their anger. Which one are you, or which ones are you familiar with?
Spewers: are people who, when they get angry, feel that the only way to get rid of the anger is to explode it out and then it will be over. They intimidate, threaten, and put fear into the one who offended them. They are not pleasant to be around because they can BLOW anywhere and at any time without warning.
Stuffers: are people who hold their anger in. They “repress (by physical means) and suppress (with mind games)” their anger. The biggest problem a stuffer has is that they hold it in until they can’t control it any longer, the reservoir bursts, and suddenly, they are like Spewers. They explode!
Leakers: are people that are “passive aggressive”. Are what? They, like Stuffers, don’t like their anger to show, so they let it leak out slowly using subtle “digs and/or barbs,” or by being “concerned” about the person that offended them and telling others about it rather than facing the one who offended them. They will deliberately do things that will make life difficult or unpleasant for the offender, but again, in very subtle ways.
We’ll come across these terms again later in the discussion, but for now I just want you to see the terms and think about them.
Time to take Action: Part 3 of a 5 part series.
I told you when I ended the last installment, that I would begin giving you some tools that would help you get an anger level back to where you function in the “0 to 1 range”. Now, before I go too far and you expect that at the end of this week’s “Word” you will be tracking at that level, let me say this … WRONG!
It’s not easy to bring it to that level, but if you stay with it and use the tools, you will see progress that will encourage you to continue the project, and over time you will get the levels down into that range. Remember, this is being written by someone that operated in those higher ranges normally. I made the choice to lower the levels to what they are now, and so can you!
So what is our goal?
“The goal is ……… To Stay Calm”
Definition of Calm:
Calm is -- “Almost never getting angry”
Calm is -- “Learning to express yourself better even when you are angry”
So how do we make it happen?
First thing I want you to do is stop and pray about this, and then make this promise
“I PROMISE TO STAY CALM FOR ONE WHOLE DAY!”
Tool #1: An Anger Notebook
What’s an anger notebook, and why would you want one?
I hesitate to mention one, but there really is a reason for having it. For me, it took a few minutes at the end of the day to record the number of times I got angry and what it was that set me off. By doing that, I was more likely to think twice about repeating the pattern the next time.
Now the only reason that I would hesitate to tell you about this tool is my concern that it doesn’t become a “reminder book”. The “he/she has done this to me five times in the last three months and this is the last time it’s going to happen!” book!
Let me share another story with you.
One night my son Karl and I were upstairs. He had just gone to bed. I prayed with him, hugged him, told him I loved him, turned out the lights, and went into our bedroom to read. Karl evidently felt that he needed a bit more attention. He began making noises, singing, and tapping on things in order to get it.
My normal response would have been to call to him to stop, and for him to settle down. Something like this: “Karl, it’s time to settle down and go to sleep, buddy.”
Then, if it continued, which it normally did, “KARL, it’s time to KNOCK IT OFF! AND SETTLE DOWN!”
And finally, “KARL, STOP IT NOW BEFORE I COME IN THERE AND SPANK YOU!”
However, because I had been keeping a notebook, I recognized that it was similar to an experience we had had a couple of months before. So I was able to think through the trigger pattern and stop the process before we became combatants.
I laid on the bed with my mouth closed. Within five minutes, the noise stopped. You see, he was making the noise to get attention. He knew very well what he was doing. Having done it before, he knew I would tell him to stop. He knew that I would tell him to stop, again. And finally, that I would come into the room and spank him. Well, in our house, if you spanked, you also had to “cuddle” after the discipline. Karl needed the attention and was willing to endure the discomfort of a spanking for the love that followed.
The conclusion to this episode was that I waited quietly for another five to ten minutes. Then I called him to see if he was still awake. When he responded, I asked him to come into my room for a “snuggle”. After five minutes or so of snuggling, he was very willing to go back to his room and settle down for the night.
Quite a difference. The notebook helped because I was able to figure out the “trigger” and “stop the anger” before it welled up in me, creating a major problem.
What do you need for a notebook? It really doesn’t matter -- I used pages in my Daytimer. I simply wrote down the number of times I got angry, how angry I felt (on a scale of 1 – 8, a very brief description of what happened, and finally what I thought triggered it.
My anger notebook was a reinforcement of the fact that I was winning as I watched the number of times I got angry, decrease.
Use it, but don’t abuse it! If you find that you are keeping score of the offenders and not the incidents and the triggers . . . get rid of it and try something else!
Example of an entry: May 6th: I had a problem today. I got angry at Guyla for something that she said. I had mowed the lawn and trimmed the edges. I was tired, and ready to put the tools away when she pointed out that I missed a strip down the side of the yard. I snapped back at her, “I’ll get it tomorrow!” Well, that wasn’t the right answer… for either of us. I went back and mowed the strip, but I was not happy. I had to think about it for a minute though, and I knew that she was right. My displeasure came from not getting the strokes of, “Thanks, that looks good” or the, “Great Job”!
Where do my rewards come from? Sure, from my wife, but the greater reward is from somewhere else…. MY Heavenly Father . . . When I do what I do I do it for Him, not another human.
I had to ask her to forgive me for getting angry over such a small thing like doing the job right the first time. She was right. My Pride got in my way as I reflected on it. Would I have gone back the next day and drug out the mower to do it right? Probably not. That borders on a lie, and what else can I say? I got angry over something that I just didn’t handle right.
Remember the Goal is ---- “I promise not to get angry for a whole day!”
Part four will be more tools to help us along the path.