Why Do I Overreact?

You know, when your child throws a fit, that’s only slightly larger than yours?

No, only me.

Well, if you are a mom who has ever overreacted then today’s video is for you.

Overreacting. Why do we do it?

Before we talk about why we do it, I want to talk about what overreacting is. It’s easy to see the overreacting. When we yell at our kids, when we didn’t want to, we get way more upset than we feel like we should. An overreaction is when it’s a level two offense, and we have a level six or eight or ten response to it. And that response can look like exploding, yelling, getting upset. It also can look like shutting down and withdrawing.

It’s just when the reaction is bigger than what the behavior called for. That’s when we’re overreacting.

But why do we do that? Because as moms, none of us like that, that just produces a lot of guilt. Maybe some shame regret. We don’t want to overreact. We want to show up appropriately for our kids.

We overreact because something within us needs attention.

When a child disrespects us or lies to us, instead of being able to look at them and the current situation and evaluate what to do, something within us gets triggered that this is much, much bigger than right now. And it’s also about us instead of about the child.

Maybe there’s a wound that says you’re rejectable that you haven’t dealt with yet.

When it feels like your child rejects you, it’s not dealing with the current situation and what’s going on. It’s tied to all of those rejections in the past, typically to ones when you were very small. And so if you find yourself acting like a child in your reaction, that’s a good indication that whatever is crying out for your attention happened when you were a child of about that age, if you’re acting like a two-year-old probably something happened when you were pretty young. If you’re acting like a teenager, maybe it is tied to something there that you haven’t dealt with.

There is something in you, an unmet need or a wound that’s afraid of getting wounded again.

Something saying, “Hey, I need attention here. This feels like the same thing again. And I don’t want to go through this again. This wasn’t any fun.” That’s why you’re overreacting.

How do you stop overreacting?

Learn to listen and give yourself space.

When you have overreacted to go back and sit with the Lord and reflect on what were you feeling? What were the things you were telling yourself, what was going on inside of you? And don’t try to be rational about it. It’s emotions, emotions, and rationale don’t go together. So don’t try and make emotions rational. That’s not what it’s about in the beginning. It’s about hearing those emotions, identifying them, and recognizing them.

If I was feeling rejection, is there something to deal with in the current situation that actually was rejection? Or is it just reminding me of this feeling from the past? And I have a process, I call it Mending the Gap because we have what we know in our head to be true. And then what deep down inside we feel to be true. And there’s often a gap between those things.

We know where the righteousness of Christ. We know we’re enough in him, and yet it’s really hard to feel that we’re enough. It’s really hard to believe that we’re really okay or that we’re really fully accepted just as we are.

We know it’s true, but it’s really hard to feel it’s true sometimes.

Mending the Gap between the two is a process that I’ll do another video and link to that of bringing it to the Lord and finding out what of this is true and what of this is not true. And walk through forgiveness and receiving truth and repenting. And it’s a beautiful process to be able to deal with the stuff from the past so that we can show up for our kids in the present and just be dealing with the present for them.

Overreacting can look like the exploding, ugly word-vomit all over your kids.

It also can look like shutting down and withdrawing.

It’s a too big reaction to whatever happened. It’s happening because there’s something inside you, a place that is wounded or afraid that needs some attention.

You can learn to address those things.

Learn to listen to what your emotions are telling you to find out what you need. And to walk through that process is something you can definitely learn to do on your own. It’s something I walk my clients through all the time. It’s a process I would love for you to learn, to walk your kids through. So it’s a tool they have going into adulthood, not something they have to learn in adulthood.

If this video has been helpful, I would love it. If you would like it, subscribe, and share.

I will be producing more videos about dealing with your emotions and how that impacts your relationships with God, yourself, and others.

Thanks for being here and remember that your healing heals generations.

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