In my last post (Taken Over By Aliens) I wrote about the way I tend to catastrophize everything when I get upset, amongst other things. It doesn’t take anything for me to get upset, it seems, and I’d really like it to change. It’s exhausting to get upset and angry all the time, especially when it’s over little things. If I only got angry over big things, then maybe it wouldn’t happen so often, but it happens ALL the TIME!! And I’m SOOO TIRED of it!!
I just want it to STOP!!
When I was talking to McT about it during my FaceTime session on Tuesday, I told him how distressed it makes me feel everytime I get upset, because I feel like I must be disappointing God. Instead of trusting Him with whatever the situation is, I get upset about it and fall apart. Thankfully I’m no longer hitting myself, but I don’t want to get upset about it either. I just want to keep my peace and trust that God has the situation in hand. But somehow I can’t seem to do that, no matter what I do.
It’s SOOO ANNOYING!!
Then McT presented me with an entirely new thought about this problem, one which I had never considered before, and it completely changed my perspective on it. He suggested that maybe my responses to these situations that make me fall apart are because of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
PTSD?? PTSD?? Oh my! I had never thought of that before!! If it’s PTSD that’s driving my responses, that makes me feel like I’m not doing it on purpose!
Let me explain what I just said…
When I was a kid and I did something like spilling my milk at the dinner table, I had to act remorseful ENOUGH, otherwise my mother accused me of spilling it on purpose. Remorseful ENOUGH meant doing something like cleaning up the spilled milky mess I had just made while apologizing and crying and hitting myself. I think this was probably the genesis of the self-abuse that happened in later years. I had to act abjectly apologetic. This involved a great deal of weeping and crying and expressions of sorrow.
I never could seem to convince them (my parents) that I didn’t do it on purpose. None of my explanations or expressions of remorse and sorrow over this heinous act of spilling my milk were ever adequate to persuade them or satisfy them that I wasn’t the evil child who was trying to make things difficult for my mother.
It makes me feel frenzied inside when I think back to these situations, panic-stricken that I could never make it right, no matter how hard I tried. I can see the little ones running around frantically inside, grasping at air and screaming in terror because my mother was sitting there stone-faced, because one of us had clumsily knocked over a glass of milk by accident. And if she was sitting there stone-faced, that meant we were gonna get hit.
Damn, Mom!! You NEVER knocked over ANYTHING by accident??!! You were the PERFECT CHILD??
I DON’T THINK SO!!!
When I started writing out I’m sorry over and over and over again, it’s like a deep and gigantic well of tears was released, and I started to weep and sob huge gulping sobs. I think I had never really dealt with the spilt milk issue. I may have more to do. If so, God will be there with me to do it…
So the idea that PTSD could be what’s behind me getting upset all the time? Well, that generates a whole new line of thought for me. For one thing, instead of God’s judgment, which is what I’ve always felt when I’ve worried that He’s disappointed in me, all of a sudden I can feel His mercy. If it’s PTSD then I can feel His mercy and love. It’s like PTSD gives me a valid reason for why I do what I do, and I’ve never had that before.
And maybe PTSD explains why I’m angry in the first place.
Now that’s an interesting thought, and one which I’ll probably have to explore further in future posts…
I don’t want PTSD to become the catchall excuse for everything in my life, like, for example, why did you rob that store?
(I’m trying to think of an example that involves something that I would NEVER EVER do…)
Well, I robbed that store because my father hit me when I was little, so now I have PTSD. The PTSD made me rob the store.
NO!! NO!! NO!! I don’t think so!!
The PTSD that I have now as an adult is a result of the abuse inflicted on me by my parents when I was little. But now that I’m an adult, what I do with that is MY RESPONSIBILITY. I can’t blame any wrong behavior or sin that I might commit now on what they did to me as a child. I am responsible for my actions now, even if they are informed by what happened to me as a child.
Okay, so back to PTSD and my anger…
I get angry ALL the TIME, and over the littlest things, as I explained earlier. It happens a lot while I’m watching TV, and especially when I’m watching programs about true crime, and in particular while I’m watching programs about child abuse and domestic violence. I spend a lot of time yelling at the abusers in the TV programs, and telling them what jerks they are, and telling the police in these programs what they should be doing that they aren’t, and even telling everyone what they should be saying to each other. No one ever says what I think they should be saying!
It would be funny if it weren’t so indicative of what’s going on my heart. I’ve come to the realization that I’m probably yelling at Harry, and at my mother, and at everyone else in my life who didn’t protect me but should have when I was little. In other words, my anger at my parents is projected onto the people in the programs I’m watching on TV, because I don’t know the people on the TV from Adam’s housecat (if Adam had a housecat…).
I think the abuse is the iceberg that sank my Titanic anger, and as I work through my pain, I’m raising my Titanic back to the surface so it can be reassembled to sail again, hopefully this time without incident. And all the people who died when it sank are all my alters from when I was multiple who were so wounded and abused by my parents. Thankfully I was integrated back in 2003 by God, and through the efforts of a wonderful prayer team at the church I was attending at the time. So those alters have been healed and integrated into the whole that is me now.
But it’s time, I think, to deal with all that anger. I don’t know how that will come about, but God does, and McT is a really good shrink, probably the best I’ve ever had. He’s led by the Spirit, and he loves God and His Word.
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NLT.
I’m grateful for the freedom that God has brought me as I’ve trusted Him more and more, and the Holy Spirit has certainly been instrumental in this. All three Persons of the Holy Trinity have, and I can’t express enough gratitude for everything they’ve done for me. Jesus went to the Cross for my salvation ~ I’d be dead if it hadn’t’ve been for that. The Holy Spirit has been guiding, and comforting, and teaching, and counseling me all these years since I got saved, because that’s His job.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. … These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ~ John 14:16-18, 25-27, NKJV.
I know that’s a pretty long passage of Scripture, but the Holy Spirit is a pretty vast subject, and I wanted to make sure I covered everything about Him, and what He’s done and is doing in my life, though I’m sure I could find more.
I’m so thankful and grateful and appreciative and blessed and (these are the only adjectives I could find in my thesaurus for my feelings towards God…), and… and… and…
Jesus plus nothing equals EVERYTHING!!