Hunting Down Your Undead Past
Finding the things in our past that still affect how we think and act isn’t as easy as it sounds. When we bury past hurts we lose track of them. Unfortunately, they still know where we live, and how to mess with us.
A common give away is over reacting; treating a minor issue as if it were a big deal. A simple comment taken as a major attack, a brief glance treated like an obscene gesture, or a minor mistake made out to be a grievous sin. When we see these things in others we know there’s more going on than what is happening here and now. The over reaction is about the past not the present; what happened in the present is just what yanked the chain on some undead event from long ago.
Examining strong reactions is a good way to hunt down your undead past. Is your reaction valid for what just happened? Don’t rationalise it, look at it as objectively as possible. If your anger, fear, shame, or feeling of betrayal is too great for the present events, you’re on the trail of an undead event from your past. If you can make time to dig when over reactions happen, do so. If not, make a note to think through it later. Try to identify the past event or events causing you to over react. If you can’t come up with an event, try think who may have hurt you in this place.
Additionally, admit first to yourself and then to your wife that you over reacted. At first it will likely be hours later, but that still helps her and it teaches you a good habit. If you can get to the point of being able to say (or even yell) “It’s not you, I’m over reacting” while you’re doing it, you will make things much better.