Have you ever wondered why this happens?
You and a few friends at work are having a conversation about something and you make a comment to one of them in jest; and next thing you know they are very upset and all in your face and distraught over what you just said. You stare at your friend in disbelief, thinking to yourself, “What in the world is wrong with them, all I said was…(fill in the blank)!
I’m sure this has happened at least once to most of us. We may even have been on the receiving end of such a comment, and for no apparent reason we, as some people would say, “over-reacted”.
Have you ever wondered what this is all about and why that kind of “Over the Top” reaction occurs in the first place?
I have seen this happen with clients, or have had them describe instances of this phenomenon for years now and have given it a great deal of thought. What I am going to describe next is what I think is going on. Now this is only one person’s view, and I’m sure some people would disagree. However no matter what point of view you come from, I believe this is a good place to start the discussion.
When someone says something or does something we normally feel an emotional response well up inside us which causes us to respond in a certain way. I do feel, however, that it often gets more complicated than that.
Depending on what is said or done, depending on what emotion it brings forth for us, our brain can go into automatic pilot. In the blink of an eye, our mind pulls up every other time in our life something was said or done to us that triggered that exact same emotion…and BOOM!! We over-react!!
We over-react, not because of the one thing that was just said or done, but because of the torrent of events from our past, (that we may not even be aware are running around in our brain). These memories may be zooming around up there so quickly as to be subconscious; but the emotions they engender are very conscious and very real. The emotions are so intense, so strong and so amplified from all the times we have felt them, that the reaction we show to those around us is a result of ALL of those repeated expressions of emotion, causing the over-reaction.
As a result, to those around us, we seem to be way over the top in response to what they said or did, but in fact, we are simply reacting as we would if all those memories/events were in fact occurring simultaneously to us right there and then! It can often feel very overwhelming.
THIS EVENT CAN GROW AND EXPAND AND GAIN A LIFE OF IT’S OWN.
If someone near you experiences your over-reaction, they will in their turn experience an emotion because of it, and their subconscious can trigger their own flood of events that engender a stronger emotional response than normal and then THEY over-react.
The cycle can continue like this for several rounds and escalate into a very unpleasant experience for all concerned. BUT… If one or more of the persons involved can stop their over-reaction and hold it in check, or better yet, can react with LESS emotion than they normally would, their LOWER response can in fact serve to deflate the situation rather than helping it to escalate. Some food for thought!
Join me next time for: “What on earth are they trying to say?”
Thanks, and share Joy and Peace with someone today!