What Triggers Your Anger?
Do you ever have those days when you explode over something minor? The situation unexplainably turns into something that triggers your anger? Well, that’s what happened to me a few weeks ago. A very dear friend of mine cancelled our get together for a fun evening. She was just tired, and needed to rest. Even though it was a simple cancellation of a planned evening of fun, I didn’t talk to my friend for days. She kept texting and asking me if I was ok, but I could tell I didn’t want to answer. What was going on? Why was I acting so silly? She was just tired and wanted to stay home. That happens. After about 3 days I began to get frustrated that this feeling wouldn’t go away So, what I do when I can’t figure out things, is go to God and ask Him.
WHERE DOES THE PAIN COME FROM?
Lord, why am I acting so silly over this cancellation? I suddenly had a picture of my mom and I. And I was telling her how much it hurt me when she didn’t show up for things we were going to do together. I was about 41, and my husband and I had lived far away from the farm I grew up on for 17 years. I was so excited about living back near to them and wanted to get together all the time. My faith in Jesus was brand new and I had been deeply impacted by the scripture “honor your father and mother”. I wanted to show that honor by moving near them and helping them to live well these later years in their lives. Only problem was, mom wasn’t as excited as I was. I think she liked being in charge of their lives and suddenly I zoom in and want to hang out with them every day! Why don’t you come up here to Omaha for dinner? Let’s go shopping. Why don’t we take a trip to Colorado, or to Missouri where my sister lives, the list was endless. But many times we’d get all ready to go, and my dad would call the morning of and say “Your mom’s not feeling too good and she can’t go.”
I would be so disappointed, but “Well, can you go, Dad?” At first he was so excited he came right along with me. He loved someone planning adventures and he just had to show up. Dad was such a fun companion. He always had an encyclopedia of interesting stories or a song or two at just the right moment. Mom was still working part time as a sub for elementary schools and wasn’t too keen on coming home and being by herself.
Of course what I didn’t realize back then, is that our whole family was structured around making sure mom didn’t get mad. If she did, we all moved to our distant spaces until she felt better and then things got back to normal. With my new found faith, I suddenly had the courage to talk to mom about the pain it was causing when I would make a plan and she would cancel at the last minute. I thought I explained it with the best care that could be taken, trembling inside, because I’d never questioned mom before, but it was not well received.
Mom decided after that conversation, that they couldn’t do anything with me. Dad included. So whenever I would call, she was too busy, and I couldn’t come out. I was so hurt. Not knowing what was happening, I allowed a hard place to be made in my heart regarding my mom. Mom and I didn’t have the same tools that are available to me now, she just got mad; and I responded by withdrawing. And that’s how it ended. I never talked about it again. I didn’t have any kind of filter back then either. It just plain hurt.
Thankfully, I became pregnant with our third child, Christian and all wounds were tucked away and we focused on this new life. We talked more often, got together when we could and enjoyed his birth in the spring that year. But that place I tucked away the pain? Never dealt with until now. It affected me every time someone cancelled a fun adventure and I never knew it was connected.
HOW CAN WE HEAL?
When the Lord shows me past wounds, I know it’s time to get the forgiveness hat on and let go. My mom wasn’t trying to hurt me. She was wounded herself, and trying to figure out how to make it through her life. Having dad around to do what she wanted comforted her.
I forgave my mom for using anger to get her way
I forgave my mom for not following through on her plans
I forgave my dad for not standing up to mom and telling her she couldn’t keep doing that to me
I really think mom wanted to go, but then for some reason she would change her mind at the last minute. I think she just had a lot of depression and didn’t know what to do with it. I don’t think she was intentionally trying to hurt me.
I also had to tell those pesky thoughts of
To just leave!
That I wanted to receive what God had for me:
Always wants to be with me
I can trust Him
Ability to talk to my friend and tell her I’m sorry
Now, here’s the final step. Are you having days when you know you’re getting more upset than is normal? Check in with God about where that anger’s coming from. He might have a little work for you to do and then a little love for a job well done.