Angerization

I wanted to take a minute to talk about angerizing emotions. For men who struggle with sexual integrity issues, there are usually 2 ways emotions get dealt with – Sexualizing or Angerizing.

When the integrity issues or addiction are/is active, emotions that should get appropriately felt and expressed are stuffed and stunted. Instead, they end up getting turned into sexual energy. This happens in the form of fantasy, masturbation, the pornography viewed, the women flirted with, or the escort ads perused. It is especially true of what we would typically categorize as negative feelings – hurt, fear, failure, shame, disappointment, loneliness, rejection, boredom, injustice (feeling falsely accused) or feeling misunderstood. It can also happen with positive emotions too- some guys act out as a reward mechanism, in effect not knowing the experience of healthy celebration and recognition.

During active addiction or struggle, the sexualization provides a relief; a temporary reroute of the emotions, diminishing their intensity and thus the perceived negative impact. For some guys the acting out doesn’t take enough of the edge off, so the residual emotional churn becomes irritability, frustration and general rudeness.

Often though, when the addiction ends and someone stops acting out, the release valve is removed and the emotion gets turned into serious anger. Sometimes it is intense – rageful, out of control, scary. It can even scare him! When that low level anger is present, the angry feelings are familiar. But when that’s not the case, the newfound rageful experience can feel like a monster trying to escape. The chemical, endorphin release of acting out provides a soothing or calming effect, but without it the anger can be raw.

Don’t let the anger be your lead, let it be your guide. When you feel angry, it is telling you there is more to the story. Your heart is trying to feel and express something, and likely longing to connect with God and others.

Lustful Looking – Woman at the Well

In the Book of John, Chapter 4 we read a story of Jesus hanging out with a Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. Jesus, being Jesus, knows more about her than she realizes upon initial interaction. Whether by divorce or adultery, which are debated, this woman is no stranger to men. And likely also no stranger to reeling men in.

So here is Jesus, solo with this woman, in a potentially precarious situation. Let’s get down to brass tacks here – he could have flirted with her. He could have fantasized about her naked. He may have been tempted to look down her shirt when she leaned over to grab her bucket of water!

But Jesus wasn’t a lustful looker.

He was more concerned about her soul; her present life and her eternal destiny. He wasn’t interested in the flesh she wore – he was living with the perspective that his life was short, his purpose was redemption, and his call was proclaiming the love of God.

Here’s a tip to stop lustful looking – be more concerned with the soul of a female human than the flesh that soul is covered in. Focus on our greater call of reflecting God’s glory rather than being so simple and shallow as to be lulled into the temporal temptation of flesh.

The next time you’re at Starbucks waiting on your super soy, light whip mochanilla frappawhatever, I encourage you to take a bird’s eye view and see the many souls in line around you in need of a Savior, rather than the people waiting to pick up their orders. Be mindful of the brokenness on the inside, and fight the urge to objectify the body on the outside.

 

 

Bungee

I’ll get back to the tips to stop lustful looking, but I wanted to write a quick reminder post.

This post comes largely as a result of so many men (sometimes including myself) forgetting our connection to the person we love the most on the planet. For many wives, I know this doesn’t make sense. For most women I talk to, they can’t fathom that somehow a disconnect occurs when their husband pulls out of the driveway. But, it often does. I’ll explain.

For a lot of men, when we leave the house it’s as if we are entering a whole different world. One where they are going to fight the battles of the day; be it clients, employees, bosses, quotas, code syntax, administrative stuff or spreadsheets. And it can feel, in many ways, like its us against that world. Since we’re in the war, home life is like a distant country we’ll arrive at somewhere north of quitting time; after we fight the last battle of the day. This unfortunate compartmentalization means that for a lot of us, we forget how deeply impacted our wives and family are by our decisions when we’re away from them. When we shift from the home to the work compartment, we’re actually not moving from one to the other – we are taking one into the other. This is a critical distinction in a post-betrayal marriage.

I think of it like a bungee cord. Picture a looooong bungee cord attached to your wife’s heart. The other end attached to yours. When you leave the house tension mounts on the cord. Every move you make jostles her. The farther away the more tension. The more places you go the more tension. We have to remember that every sudden turn, every inch of distance, every tug on the cord creates reverberations back to our wives that brings into question our whereabouts, goings on, and whom we are interacting with. It taps in to their fear, insecurity, and for many the feeling of being “duped” again.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking work is work and home is home. They are inextricably linked. And don’t forget that every move you make has an effect on the people that share your last name.