As any parent knows, you can’t expect a child to be well-behaved all the time.
At times of stress, young children don’t have the ability to regulate their emotional tap, and their ego-centric view of the world often ensures that the needs of others around them are ignored. It doesn’t matter that Daddy has been driving for four hours and is clearly tired, if they feel bored, they can’t help themselves when they ask “are we there yet?”
Having said this, emotions flowing freely without any consideration of the consequences is not a phenomenon that is exclusive to children. I’m sure that we have all “lost it” at certain times in our lives, and it seems to me that the more often you allow yourself to do this, the less control you have over it happening again. It is like an emotional dam – when you are constantly papering over the cracks, further outbursts are inevitable.
As an emotionally volatile person, there have certainly been occasions when losing control has been a pattern of behaviour that has proved hard to stop for me. The emotion of “not being able to wait” has dogged my career and personal life since I was a child, and somehow it still sneaks up on me now and again. It is embarrassing to admit that this particular emotion gets the better of me, but I can’t seem to become its master.
Honestly, when impatience rears its head, I lose a little bit of control.
I suspect that we all have our particular weak spots, Achilles heels that are just too deeply ingrained in our psyche to resist. I’m sure that a few visits to a psychologist would sort out my problem with impatience, but who has the time for that sort of thing? My business and my family take up the vast majority of my focus.
So, the uncontrolled feelings of impatience (in my case) flood into my life and the lives of those around me every now and again. I tell myself that this is just who I am and that they should accept that, but is this really the attitude to have? Yes, no one is perfect, but when you have no control over certain emotions and situations, there is always the danger that you could cause irrevocable damage if things go too far.
The interesting aspect of uncontrolled emotions is how they change the perceptions of those around you. When you have witnessed a few such outbursts from a given individual, you will never quite be sure when the next might come along. Trust is rocked, certainty is questioned and distance is guaranteed. Toxic behaviour is called toxic because it sticks around, poisoning relationships long after the act itself has been forgotten.
“I can’t remember what he did, but I remember how angry he got.”
“I can’t remember what she said, but I remember how hurt she made me feel.”
When we let our emotions run out of control, they can cause us to do and say some terrible things. However, these things in themselves do not cause the greatest damage. It is the effects of the toxic emotions themselves that linger, ruining our lives.
If you cannot control your emotions, you cannot hope to control your life.
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