As I felt my heart begin to race, I knew I had to settle down before I said something I shouldn’t. I said a quick prayer to calm my soul and ask for guidance. My anger was boiling. And I wasn’t sure how to proceed with the conversation.
I was in a heated discussion with my stepson on a decision he was making that I didn’t agree with. At 22 years old, I don’t meddle in his decisions and we rarely disagree, but this was a financial decision that affected me and my husband also. So I calmly stated my opinion on the subject and he balked.
I could tell we weren’t going to come to an agreement, and I knew I needed to involve my husband. So I ended the conversation with, “I can’t and won’t tell you what to do, but I’ve given you my opinion.” I ended the call and sat in silence, stunned at how quickly I had allowed anger to overtake me.
In her book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions, Lysa Terkeurst re-enacts a difficult day at home with her kids when everything goes wrong – including the way she handled it. She went to bed that night an emotional wreck with nothing to show for her day but regret. But she allowed a different perspective to change the way she would react in the future as she deemed:
“I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.”
An applicable quote for stepfamily life! How often do we face things that are out of our control? Do we act out of control as a result?
I knew if I stayed on the phone with my stepson, I would eventually act out of control. He and I didn’t agree on the subject and it wasn’t going to change. I needed to involve my husband for resolution.
When my husband came in from work, he had already heard the story. My stepson immediately called his dad to vent after leaving our conversation. I wanted my husband’s opinion on the issue and was prepared to humble myself if he didn’t agree with the position I had taken. Thankfully, my husband supported my opinion and helped his son understand why.
Difficult interactions occur in stepfamilies frequently, especially in the early years when relationships are forming. But we have a choice as to how we will react when our anger boils or our feelings are hurt.
Terkeurst goes on to say, “Remember, feelings are indicators, not dictators. They can indicate there is a situation I need to deal with, but they shouldn’t dictate how I react. I have a choice.”
During my stepson’s teen years, I didn’t always see my feelings as indicators. Sometimes they were dictators that threw me into an angry tailspin. Instead of involving my husband for resolution, I tried to do it myself with angry words or extreme consequences. But I learned that conflict with my stepchildren was resolved more peacefully (and my anger boiled less often)when I united with my husband and we confronted the situation together.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)
How about you? How do you handle it when your anger boils in your stepfamily?