Volcanic Anger… Lookout world! There she blows!

Have you ever been consumed by volcanic anger? …Or worse yet been an unsuspecting victim? 

Volcanic Anger

During our recent vacation we toured the ruins of Pompeii, and looked across the bay at the seemingly peaceful Vesuvius, the volcano that was responsible for the destruction that entire city. As peaceful as Vesuvius appeared, we were reminded that it is still a living volcano that could erupt again at anytime.P1050460

People can be just like that volcano….

Several years ago my husband and I were sitting in church, and an announcement was made that a new study was being offered on the topic of anger. My husband poked my ribs and asked if we needed to take that class. (…As his short “Irish Fuse” had often been a joke in our home.)

His jab made me laugh and I was thrilled about the opportunity to attend, mostly because we were new to the area and it was a great way to get to know people.

Before long, I begin to realize that although I don’t have a drop of Irish blood in me, and usually have a rather long fuse… I needed that class more than he did!

I discovered that I was an expert at letting little irritations build up over time. (Incorrectly assuming that by not speaking up, I was being a peacemaker, when in reality I was being a peace-FAKER.) And as I allowed those little irritations build up, they would eventually blow. Holy cow – could I blow!

When I erupted, people around me were usually SHOCKED, and wondered what just happened. My behavior would sometimes alienate them because they didn’t know what body snatcher just replaced the Chery they thought they knew with the two- headed monster standing in front of them.

The class gave me a lot to consider:

  1. Did I have the right to be angry with others if I’d never told them what my boundaries were or asked them to respect those boundaries?
  2. Did I have the right to brew inside until I blew, if I’d never tried to talk about something that was bothering me?
  3. If I really cared about other people and the relationships we shared, wasn’t authenticity important?   What if by sharing my struggle and listening to their perspective our relationship become stronger?
  4. What’s  really more damaging to a relationship… Sharing a struggle when it is small or trying to repair a relationship after I’d blow up all over it?

After our vacation I visited with a friend that shared a story about someone she loves that is struggling with some painful situations that are eating him up inside.

I asked if that friend has ever shared his pain with the people that are hurting him.  He hasn’t.

So I shared my volcano stories. …Immediately she related and described a recent experience where she erupted over a situation that had been building for nearly a decade – and the fallout that occurred.

Pressure grows inside all of us when:

  • We assume the worst.
  • We dwell on those assumptions and feed them new “evidence” frequently.
  • Our dwelling turns into obsessing, and obsessing turns into a negativity that saps all joy
  • And then one day, one little thing causes our volcano to blow and consume anyone in its path. ‘

The big difference between a real volcano and people is that we have a choice. We can choose to prevent volcanic activity or to fuel it.

  • It takes courage to speak up when we hurt.
  • It takes commitment to a relationship to invest in the things that are uncomfortable.
  • It takes wisdom to speak up before the volcano blows.
  • It take confidence and maturity to listen to the response and to be willing to look at our own behavior in the same way we ask others to look at theirs.

Speaking up decreases the possibility of eruptions. (Which can help to build trust and strengthen a relationship.)

Yes – There is always the risk that a relationship will end. But if it does – it would have eventually anyway. …And this way there is less destruction to both lives.  There is also the possiblity that the relationship will be strengthened.  

What are your thoughts?How about you?

Is there a situation in your life that is eating at you?

Are you naturally a peacemaker, a peace-faker or a peace breaker?

Is the relationship important enough to take the risk?  


Related posts:  I Dare YOU:  To be The Change You Want To See

7 Quotes that Inspired a Young Leader

I was recently cleaning closets and opened a box of paperwork, re-discovering  one short story and several quotes that I found so inspiring as a young leader that I shared them with all of our front line employees, supervisors, and managers at our daily meetings.

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Then I purchased beautiful paper, typed them up and copied them onto that paper, cut them out, boxed them up and sent them to some of our other locations to share with their teams.

When I re-discovered them, I felt like I ‘d just found buried treasure.

And then I thought of the stories we all hear, about people who climb the ladder of success and sometimes forget where they’ve come from.

So if you have a leadership title of any kind, take a closer look:

Integrity Matters Because…

Today I visited with a neighbor that was emphasizing how much the company her husband works for values integrity.

Integrity Matters Because...

As she shared her thoughts I imagined the difference between the list of core values that hang on walls and collect dust, and those that are used to guide decisions.

She went on to share a story about a compound that the company had decided they would not continue to use for their expat’s housing because of extraordinary cost.

The first thing the company did was to decide that anyone that was already living there could stay.

  • (A choice that will cost the company a few extra dollars but prevents unnecessary stress on families. And keeps their workers more focused on their jobs.)

The second decision came when a new executive moved to the area and insisted on living in that compound.

11 Tips for Dealing with Manipulators

Last week’s post:  Together You Stand, Divided You Fall is the first part of this “mini series.”  If you missed it, click here.

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When I was a teenager I watched daytime soap operas. In each of them there was always a manipulative character that consistently pressed invisible buttons, somehow always getting what they wanted.

I remember wondering if anyone could actually be that conniving.

This weekend a news article and a video covering a completely different story were shared on social media causing me to think about manipulative people in real life.

Both were shared to stir hate and both effectively stirred up some of their intended audience.

  • The article made me angry.
  • The video shocked me.

…You’ve heard it before, maybe a million times.  Does it mean anything to you?

This slideshare was one of the first articles I wrote when I started blogging and it carries a very important message for our world.

  • It also sets the stage for an important post about how to deal with manipulators that will be out next week.

What are your thoughts?I’m curious, have you pondered the importance of those words before?  PLEASE Share!  

“Together You Stand, Divided You Fall.”