My emotions stir with the familiar sound of my feet dragging on the concrete sidewalk. It’s the only sound I hear echoing off the stairwell outside my apartment door. I can’t tell which is more tired, my heavy eyes or sore feet. Most might say driving a taxi all night isn’t physically exhausting, but after several shift-filled nights, I really don’t care what people say, just that I am ready for bed!
The silence of the newly dawned morning allows the sound of the tumblers compressing echo the hall as I enter my key and reality enters my mind. I almost forgot; she was nowhere in my own hometown.
After opening my apartment door, I momentarily forget the foe in the other room as my daughter runs to my tired arms. “Hey, little lady. Did you have breakfast yet?” She smiles and runs to the small table just a few feet from my front door to continue her meal.
I stare at her for a moment and then take a deep sigh as my attention turns to the other adult in the room. Yes, she is still here. The funny thing about memory is that even when we want to recall all the details of an event, they are either shown through a different lens, or we can’t recall the details at all.
This is all I recall.
Time must have passed.
With my hands around her throat, I could see her eyes start to swell starving for oxygen. My eyes fixate on her struggling face; the anger swells and blocks any sort of reason. I continue to squeeze and press my 175 pounds against her slowly growing limp body.
I was emotionally done!
The abuse had to stop.
I deserve to take my revenge after three hospital visits and years of emotional and physical abuse. Maybe I will go to prison for the rest of my life, but I will finally have this torturous soul out of my life, and I can emotionally move on. I tighten my grip and she smiles. Through her choking breath, she laughs and says, “Harder! Is that all you got?”
Her words shock me into reality.
I stare down at her near the lifeless body as my white-knuckle grasp begins to loosen.
What was happening?
Was I just strangling my soon-to-be ex-wife?
What is going to happen next?
Am I done for?
I bolt out of the room, grab my keys, and drive down the road. After about 2 minutes I pull my Jeep over and begin to vomit all over the side of the highway. I almost killed her and almost threw it all away because she used me again. Something must change!
What is your story?
I know we don’t all have a dramatic story like mine, but I guarantee you have a story. A story where we let our emotions take control and we did something we almost immediately regret. Yell at the kids, your spouse, or mouth off to a cop which results in a bigger fine. I know this story isn’t the only one I have either.
The best problem-solving I know is to ask yourself why you are experiencing these emotions until you get to their source. Trust me, I understand getting to the root cause is no easy task. Our emotional response to a situation is our mind simply asking us what the crap is going on? DEFENSE!.
We get to choose whether or not we want to answer the question.
Let’s see what Jason has to say:
I realize that most of my anger at my kids is actually a justifiable emotion. That being said, I fail in the proper application of this anger.
Seriously though, can you blame me? I work my ass off every single day and by 5 p.m. I am incredibly exhausted. My wife often complains about the things that we don’t have so I can’t exactly slack off at work. I need that promotion after all.
Through all of this, I basically realize one thing; I am allowed to have emotions, but I am not allowed to distribute them to everyone I know. So that means, I’ve got to figure out what to do with all these emotions. I am not going to lie; this idea of tracking my emotions is exhausting. But if I want to seriously be a better man and father than my own dad, I’ve got to put in the work.
“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” ~ Proverbs 29:11
Almost every event in our life we can associate an emotion. When your first child is born there is a ton of excitement and fear. Or when your favorite team scores the winning touchdown, shrieks of excitement are quickly followed.
I want you to start tracking your emotions. Don’t think too much about this or add too much detail. When you feel a change in emotion, write it down. Were you sitting in your favorite chair watching a show when your new dog pees in the corner? How did it make you feel? One word works. After a week or so, see if you have any patterns. Let me know what you find.
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