Chain overreactions

March 25th, 2008

Not long ago I realized that I should never allow myself to act within approximately 24 hours of receiving news, whether that be good news or bad. I don’t deal well with surprises or stress and am prone to impulsiveness in the best of situations; un-glad tidings, even only somewhat un-glad, tend to engender intense negative reactions that take a variety of freak-out forms. To make matters worse, when I’m acting under the influence of a surprise I’m absolutely convinced I’m being completely rational, even (and maybe especially) when I’m being the diametrical opposite thereof.

I’m glad that I learned that about myself earlier. It came in handy this evening, when an initial reaction to a situation was one of hurt and pre-defensive anger (note: anger is always a secondary emotion with me; it’s pain or fear that I don’t want to face, so I turn it outward). With just a little more information, though, my entire outlook on the situation radically changed – leaving me very, very grateful that I was for once able to remain quiet when the event occurred. I could have really hurt someone whom I love dearly and whose motives and actions are, thank goodness, much more ingenuous than mine. (I would like to be more like this person when I grow up. Perhaps I should actually tell her that.)

So, step one seems to be recognizing the problem. Step two is managing to keep myself from acting on the impulses I feel during the initial shock. I would like for step three to be avoiding the huge overreaction in the first place; I wonder if such a huge change could take place without some kind of cerebral transplant?


3 Responses to “Chain overreactions”

  1. Rebecca on March 26, 2008 7:32 am

    I am SO with you on that! I did NOT wait 24 hours on somethng recently and it might have helped. Maybe not… since that wasn’t the real issue! Still, it has been a learning experience for me, and not necessarily a pleasant one. I hate learning about myself and seeing my flaws. However, it is becoming more clear to me that I need to be a better person. I hate that too. Growing sucks.

  2. Joanne on March 26, 2008 1:11 pm

    A good friend of mine (former RS president of my ward in Seattle) gave a lesson where she stated, and I quote:
    “There are certain times, namely when we are in a negative emotional state, that any desire to make a decision that could potentially change the state-of-the-union, should be held off for more rational times.”
    I’ve tried (not always succeeded though) to live by this since that lesson.
    Hmmm…somehow I don’t think that changing this about our behaviour is quite possible. Otherwise, we would be ’emotionless blobs’ rather than ‘compasionate \ passionate spirits.’
    I think the trick is to learn how to calm ourselves faster, or step back and see all the bigger picture rather than our own initial gut views.

    Good for you for being (at least outwardly) calm and collected! That’s a great example and definately motivates me to do the same! You’re awesome!

  3. fishiefishies on March 27, 2008 1:19 pm

    Rebecca, I hear you! I’ve had opportunities aplenty recently to recognize areas of possible improvement. It’s pretty humbling, though since I’ve really started working on my relationship with God, it’s humbling in a hopeful way. But I have to stay focused on how much better I feel after I’ve made a change if I really want to get through the process of changing. ‘Tis not a quick, easily accomplished endeavor.

    Joanne, you’re awesomer. You speak French.

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