I’m futuristically angry. Not exactly angry right now but at some point I’ll be ticked off about an experience that has only come to pass in my mind.
Do you ever get upset, I’m talking fiery mad, at things that haven’t even happened? Like you’re enraged in advance? I really hope I’m not alone. It’s quite possible that I am just strange, but I feel like this happens to other people too.
I think it has a lot to do with my personality. I am an INFP (The Mediator) on Myers-Briggs. I’m not one hundred percent sure where I fall on the Enneagram. I have a lot of three (The Achiever) tendencies but also a bunch of nine (The Peacemaker) tendencies. If this is complete gibberish to you, don’t worry. I’m still an Enneagram novice myself, but it is fascinating. Maybe after I’ve finished reading The Road Back to You, which is about the Enneagram, I’ll write a post about it. Until then, if you’re interested, let Google be your guide.
If you don’t subscribe to the idea of specific personality types, that’s ok too. The meat and potatoes of it is I am incredibly averse to conflict and confrontation. I am acutely aware of everyone’s level of contentment at all times. Disagreements make me wildly uncomfortable, and I am a people pleaser by nature.
It’s a double-edged sword. I’m guilty of saying what people want to hear and not giving my honest opinions when I know they’ll be opposed. Generally speaking, I am easy to be around and a great teamplayer, but I often let minor aggravations slide because I don’t want to confront any issues.
And like I said, I’m angry.
I’m a teensy bit bubbly under the surface about the things I’ve let slide. I can’t hold a grudge to save my life so it’s not that severe. It’s more like putting pressure on a healing bruise than a punch in the face. I’m prematurely upset because I’ve determined a pattern of behavior that I can anticipate happening again.
For example, I love being asked for help because I genuinely enjoy helping others, but I hate being told what to do. Sometimes people have “capitalized,” for lack of a better word, on my helpfulness and over time suggestions turn into demands and requests become requirements. I catalogue these instances in my mind and the next time an event is approaching I’ve already imagined demands and lack of gratitude.
So I get angry with nothing yet to be angry at. I can go from zero to one hundred in seconds. I have a mini war-zone in my head, picture the chaos scene of Mean Girls, wherein someone wrongs me and I leap across the table like a jungle cat.
The bothersome experiences don’t have to be anything significant, it can be as simple as someone consistently not following instructions, the kid at the car wash repeatedly not putting in the paper floor mats after I’ve asked, or a little teasing that became persistent and sharpened its edges.
The majority of the time none of these imagined situations come to fruition. I believe, by and large, people have good intentions. And when I feel the heat of anger bringing a flush to my skin concerning something that has not taken place, I have to shake it off. Sometimes it’s just a fleeting thought and it darts out of my mind as quickly as it came in. Other times it takes a little longer and a little prayer. But in all cases the emotion only affects me. I’m the one getting worked up and frustrated and the opposing party is none the wiser.
One of my favorite scriptures is Ruth 3:18, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out…” It reminds me to take a deep breath and not jump to conclusions. Although, to be fair, sometimes I am on the diving board doing back flips into the pool of conclusions. I can only do my best.
If I am being honest with you, even writing about this makes me a feel a little exposed and uncomfortable. I feel like some of you will read it and think, “Oh my stars, she needs therapy!” Frankly, who doesn’t? But I also believe some people will read this and think, “Yes! I get mad at things that have never happened but I feel real, visceral anger about them.” And to you I say, thank you for understanding the absurdity that occasionally grabs my brain. To those who also recoil at the thought of confrontation, I’m with you. Thinking about it puts my stomach in knots, but I’m working at being braver.
God’s word teaches us to be slow to anger and to be strong in the Lord. May we all try a little harder to give people the benefit of the doubt and may we learn to speak up for ourselves when necessary.
Be kind and brave,