There are moments when we allow our emotional state to get the better of us. I think there is never an excuse or situation that we shouldn’t exercise control over our responses. This is definitely a hypocritical statement as I certainly fail to consistently live by the words I write.
Back in 2014, I had a discussion with a group of women who all had very differing and strong views pertaining to an NFL player who was banned for physically abusing his wife. Some women held the ideology that because the wife had hit first that she had opened herself up to receive what was coming. They believed that both individuals had a right to be safeguarded and respected by the other and not because she was a woman; should she be excused from her behaviour.
Some rationalised that whilst in that state of rage; the man was governed by his emotions rather than reasoning. It is my opinion that both individuals deserve respect and that neither should have raised their hand to the other.
However, controversial as it may be, I don’t believe that a man being the stronger sex should respond to his wife hitting him by punching her. It is evident that the hit she received from him far outweighed the impact that her hit had on him.
The discussion really got me thinking about whether or not there is ever a justified reason to explode or respond irrationally in our anger.
Are we naturally wired and predestined to react irrationally in our rage, therefore, obscuring us from all responsibility? Or is there something within us that helps us to control our responses?
I remembered one of the women had given an example saying that if a small child ran towards us, hitting, spitting and kicking would we react in the same way to that child that we would if an adult ran towards us spitting and kicking?
Most women said no, they would understand and see that a child is vulnerable. They reasoned that they would hold that child back and protect themselves without harming the child.
It revealed to me that depending on the situation and person we can exercise rational thought even in a moment of fear.
I began to think about the students I work with, all have profound and multiple disabilities. Some of my students attack staff members daily either scratching, hitting, kicking, pulling hair and the list goes on. But there is nothing inside of any member of staff or should I speak for myself alone. There is nothing inside of me that would cause me to react to my students by retaliating and hurting them back. My students are young adults, but young adults with disabilities. Why is it then that when my students lash out at the general public and we apologise profusely explaining that they have a disability that people immediately let go of their anger and feelings of victimisation and soften with understanding?
Is the same thought process of rationalisation possible when dealing with all people? Including our children? I truly believe so. Every time we give over to our emotions we have failed to have self-control and have ignored the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. Every time we allow our emotions in a situation to govern our reactions, we have failed to honour God. Every time we blame someone else for how we feel we have given over control of ourselves to another being. I believe that there is simply no excuse for failing to control our reactions and responses.
But of course, we are human. So where am I going with all this?
This morning I failed to exercise all of the above. Despite my principles and beliefs, I hypocritically and irrationally lost self-control.
We were rushing to see my 3-year-old nephew get his award in a whole school assembly for outstanding speaking and listening in his Three Little Pigs project.
The plan was due it being INSET day we were going to watch my nephews assembly followed by a mummy and daughter day at the Science museum. My darling daughter took so long to get her shoes and coat on (20 whole minutes) that I ‘raged out’ once again. It was awful, I shouted, screamed and lost control. So much so that child #5 11 months old started crying and my unborn child started squirming and wriggling like crazy. My stomach hurt and so did my head.
I cancelled the Science museum ‘mummy and daughter day’ and sent child #4 to her aunties house after the assembly.
I’ve since spent the day feeling really guilty and very disappointed in myself. Why didn’t I stay calm like I would if my daughter was one of my students? Why am I so patient with other people’s children and far less so with my own children? The funny thing is I feel like I need to complete one of my Children’s reflection sheets (a simple but effective sheet I put together for them to write and reflect on their negative behaviour).
In short, today I failed to have control over my emotions. I feel as though I responded similarly to that NFL player. He was raged and so was I. The only difference is that I don’t hit my children and hope I’d never, ever do so in a state of anger.
Today I gave over to my negative emotions and I blamed my daughter for my actions. Once again I need to apologise to my children for my anger and for my behaviour. It’s frustrating, but it’s another moment to exercise humility and be the example to my children that apologising for our wrongdoings is the right and honorable thing to do.