Do you remember the last time you crossed your ‘Lose-It Line’?
The Lose-It Line is the point at which you cross over from calm, cool and collected and … well … completely lose it. It’s where anger takes over and all healthy, reasonable, rational decision making and conduct goes right out the window. The point of no return.
My last major infraction was just about three years ago.
After much contemplation, I decided to close the child support case against my ex-husband. He still owed me a large sum of money, but Lindon and I were getting married and I wanted to cut all ties from the negativity of my past…even if that meant giving up on money that was legitimately owed to me. It just felt right. Clean. A completely fresh start.
I discussed this desire with my sons, and upon getting their blessing, I proceeded.
After filing the paperwork to close the case, I received a nice, little surprise. Child support services had managed to collect some money from my ex and passed it along to me. I immediately called their office, unsure if it was mine to keep. It was! Even though I had filed to close the case, any money collected in the future was still mine.
Sa-weet! I gotta say, while it wasn’t much, I was glad to get it.
About a week later, I received an email from my ex-husband’s wife. This was highly unusual as we didn’t communicate at all, so naturally I was extremely guarded. In a nutshell, after some lame small talk to butter me up, she asked me to return some of the money. HELLOOOOO? Are you kidding me? Huh? Really? Had I read it right? Incredulously, I had.
I just couldn’t wrap my head around the nerve. The gall.
I was technically still owed a LOT of money, which I voluntarily agreed to forfeit. Where was the appreciation for this? I was lucky enough to receive a small payment…only to be asked to give it back. It was beyond comprehension. This selfish, ‘Indian Givin’ stuff wasn’t working for me.
So, I lost it. I mean really, really LOST IT. As in L-O-S-T – LOST IT!!!!!!
I started composing an email to my ex and his wife, aggressively pounding the keys as I typed…and then I stopped. I was too angry to write. All sense of logic went right out the window and I picked up the phone.
I won’t go into the details of my tirade, but suffice to say, it’s nothing I could or would repeat here. My voice was raised, my words were vile and my delivery was fierce. It was a vicious assault…but I was justified, right?
After I hung up it took me an hour to calm down and stop shaking. I was furious. Decades of hurt and bitterness had come rushing to the surface and I had done nothing to restrain my emotions. I stepped over the ‘Lose-It Line’ in a big, bad way. This couldn’t be healthy, physically or emotionally.
What came next was a period of tremendous self-reflection. Did my outburst feel good? At the moment it did, but the regret I felt afterward wasn’t worth the momentary pleasure. I had righteous anger but my actions were far from righteous. If God was standing next to me, would he have been proud? No chance. And the truth is, he WAS standing next to me. Ugh….
Since then, I’ve made a conscious decision and assertive effort to raise my Lose-It Line. Ideally, I’d love to never step over it again, and I’m going to do everything I can to ensure I don’t. But how do I accomplish this when I feel hurt? Angry? Betrayed? Persecuted? It’s definitely a challenge so I’ve put a few helps in place.
I make an effort to:
- Avoid volatile situations
- Ask questions instead of launching missiles
- Bite my tongue
- Walk away
There’s no foolproof solution, but these steps have kept me on the right side of the line for three years and I have every intention of keeping it that way.
Where’s your Lose-It Line? Does it need adjusting? Perhaps some raising? If you get close to your line, do you have healthy behaviors in place to keep you from stepping over? You know the FIVE P’s! Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
The long term damage from a rabid, verbal assault can be devastating. Your personal walk can suffer. Your witness will be compromised. You might permanently destroy a relationship worth salvaging. You could permanently scar another individual. You may lose out on blessings in your life.
Don’t be caught off guard. Evaluate where your Lose-it Line is and vow to do your level best to stay on this side of it. Have a plan in place to avoid succumbing to the grip of rage and retribution. Take responsibility. Step up your game. No more regrets. No more shame. If I can do this, you can too!
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