Know what’s really cute and hilarious? That Reasons My Son Is Crying blog. When kids’ overreact, it can be quite adorable, given it’s not your kid and that you are only subjected to a still photo and not the live version.
You know what’s neither cute nor hilarious? When a full grown person yells and swears and gives you the finger because they were inconvenienced that you slowed them down by (god forbid) driving the speed limit.
In my estimation, the age where overreactions of any kind are no longer cute is about 2.75 years. If you are older than that, please keep reading. If you are not, you are a very smart young person with a bright future.
Overreactions aren’t pretty, and yet they happen repeatedly. Why? Because overreactions are always about something else, not the situation at hand. If reactions were in proportion to the situation, then they would be about the situation. Then you would just deal with that situation. It’s really workable.
Overreactions are less workable because they are a response to something else entirely, and most of the time we have no idea what. Whether we are the one overreacting or we are the one witnessing the overreaction, it tends to be quite confusing.
Overreactions are responses to an emotional trigger to something in the past. It could be the near or distant past. Maybe I felt oppressed by parents who controlled most of my choices and then tend to sulk for days if my wife so much as asks me to take out the trash. Maybe my boyfriend makes a lot more money than me but after years of cohabitation, continues to expect me to contribute 50/50 to the bills. So I flip out yelling when he so much as uses my shampoo. I’m acting way-out-there territorial, when really I’ve been building resentment for years about having no free money, while he has plenty.
Unless you start to understand where the overreactions come from, it’s hard to figure out a response and a way to move on. In relationships, most overreactions tend to push the other partner’s buttons and it spins into a conflict. Most of the time, people argue about the situation of the day- the trash or the shampoo. But if it’s an overreaction- it’s not about the situation at hand, and therefore the conflict cannot be resolved.
Going back to my argument from yesterday: until you get a handle on what your feelings are all about, you can’t truly have satisfying relationships. You are going to be stuck in an overreacting pattern somewhere in your life. There is a chance you will be the a-hole yelling at me for going the speed limit. I know, it’s not what I want for you, either.
Are you able to identify overreactions in your life? Do you know what they are about? What might be different if it actually got resolved?