Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fire in the Sandbox!

Sometimes, we have to look at things from a different angle to get a solution.  For about a year, I have been treating a skin condition with everything I could find – cortisone, tea tree oil, blue goop and avoiding all lotions, creams and oils.  Things would seem to get better and then BAM! It comes back with a vengeance and spreads even further. 

I knew the cause of my condition, but I wanted an outward fix for an inward condition……let me just repeat that for myself to hear…..I wanted an outward fix for an inward condition.  Well, I am nothing if not consistent….  How many times have I told myself, if it wasn’t for x..y..and of course Z, I would not have behaved that way.  If he wouldn’t JKL then I wouldn’t LMN….what a load of KaKa!!  I want to fix all of the outward manifestations of an inside problem…..but I really don’t want to examine the actual inside. 

To rid myself of my condition, I have to eliminate all US wines, cut down on other wine, limit cheese, bread, and sugar—oh and drink a nasty concoction involving Apple Cider Vinegar.  Um….yeah…..see my reluctance???  But……my condition worsened until I had to do something and I am seeing great, amazing progress!!  I had to readjust my inside to get a true outside fix. 

After my X’s affair, the deacons of my church strongly suggested that I install software on his computer to keep him off certain sites and to monitor his behavior.  I told them in no uncertain terms that I was his wife, not his nanny---they said I was a fool.  Well…maybe….but I don’t think so. 

Prior to the discovery of the affair, we (read Becky) had a system of boundaries and checks and balances—that just meant that my X and my friend had created elaborate ways to get around them.  I had come to realize that my X’s behavior was between him and God—why should I control him??  Letting go of controlling his outward behavior allowed me to retain my dignity in a difficult situation.  It was not my fault…..I could not fix it…it wasn’t mine to fix.  The affair was an outward manifestation of an inward condition…no band-aid in the world would fix it. 

The Man has a wonderful saying—that when we fight, it’s simply our dysfunctions colliding.  My dysfunction butts up against his…doesn’t politely say excuse me…..and his butts right back.  We’re like two kids in the sand box emotionally pushing each other back into our own space.  I pick up a handful of sand, throw it in his eyes, and he exclaims, “that wasn’t fair!”  He finds kitty poop and smudges it on my favorite shirt….and it’s ON! 

What he says is accurate, however, the word dysfunction makes me feel broken….unusable….defective.  The actual definition of the prefix Dys is:  diseased, abnormal and faulty.  Dysfunction is so overused and has such a negative connation that it’s difficult to accept my behavior as a dysfunction….I am a Princess….I do not DYS-function!!!  (Of course, this has nothing to do with my tendency to avoid things….look the other way…you see nothing….) During my run today, I decided that there is a better word for me:  Mis-function.  I am not functioning the way I am supposed to….I have misfired. 

Many of my Mis-functions are actually a result of my strengths….which I think is pretty common…..

Affectionate can mis-function to become smothering
Problem solving can mis-function to become blaming
Detail oriented can mis-function to become critical
Protective can mis-function to become controlling
Passionate can mis-function to become bat s**t crazy!

To grow emotionally, I must look at my mis-fires, my mis-functions and discover what is going on inwardly that creates the outward behavior.  I have to get better at expressing my emotions—not my frustrations, not my list of gripes, but those feelings that press the FIRE button at a moment’s notice. 

But, just like my initial attempt to “heal” my skin condition, I typically want to fix the outside…(read:  everyone else).  But for true emotional healing, one must first look to the inside and the outside will follow.