Unglued: The Stuffers

Unglued: The Stuffers

Every week, we’re reading through one chapter of Lysa’s book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions. We get together on Thursdays to talk about the chapter, share our thoughts, and grow together. This week, we’re on Chapter 6: The Stuffers. So glad you’re joining us!!

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Jamie’s Thoughts

I’m writing my thoughts a little differently today. Seeing as how I am primarily a stuffer, you can imagine that it felt like she was talking directly to me this week. Sure I can be an exploder (mostly with my husband or kids), but primarily I’m one of those, “I’m fine” girls. After all that’s who we are supposed to be, right? Good Christian girls are always fine, especially good girls who were used to being exploded on as children, like me. In an effort not to spray passions all over the wall, I learned to stuff.

To say that good Christian girls are always fine is well, that’s a myth and a falsehood. Good Christian girls are not always fine, and they desperately need to learn to express their emotions in a healthy and whole way, instead of allowing bitterness to grow and eat away our insides.

You know my favorite thing about this book? God’s sharing through Lysa things He’s already taught me and He uses her to encourage me in the imperfect progress journey. Now, if I could only take what I’ve learned and am learning and use it to parent my children and to teach them about their emotions in the process. That my friends is something I continually think about as I read.

Back to me and you. :)

Are you a stuffer? If so, why do you stuff? My list is different than Lysa’s, but I stuff because:

  • I am a people pleaser, so I am constantly battling my own needs and my need to please you.
  • I don’t feel safe enough to confront the offender.
  • I did not always understand how to deal with emotions in a healthy manner.
  • I’m scared of hurting the other person.
  • I don’t think I am valuable enough to the person for them to care about what I feel.
  • I am prideful and don’t want as Lysa says, “to lose control” or “to get rejected.”
  • I haven’t had time to process exactly what I’m feeling or why I feel it.

As Lysa says, I have also stuffed because “it feels more godly.” But if even when I think I am acting godly, it is not godly if I do not actually process the emotions, put them to rest, forgive, and move on, but instead allow bitterness to grow and resentment to creep in.

Sometimes stuffers build barriers. Friends, this is usually me. I’m used to getting hurt, building walls so high no one can get in, and moving on. Thus the reason, I’ve struggled so with friendships. But, due to some godly women in my life, I’ve learned that with every conflict is the opportunity to grow and go deeper in a relationship. Those women who’ve had the courage to see they’ve hurt and then talk to me about it, for you, I am ever indebted. You taught me so much about the love of Christ. My prayer for each of you who stuff and builds barriers is that you would have husbands and sisters in Christ to teach you this too.

Sometimes stuffers throw retaliation rocks. They save up hurts to spew out later when it is time to explode.

“When my stuffing eventually leads to an explosion, I am armed with a rock pile of past hurts and offenses and ready to make my case. Prove my case. Win my case, at all costs. I react from a place of hurt and anger and say things I later regret.”

“When my desire is to improve the relationship, I seek to understand where the other person is coming from and care enough about the relationship to fight for it rather than against it. Instead of reacting in anger, I pause and let the Holy Spirit redirect my first impulses.”

Yes, unless my hubby keeps pressing me to speak before I’m ready. He knows it is true. Thankfully, God gave me a patient man whom He knew I would need.

Special Situations and Tips from Lysa: (for more info read the book :) )

  • Set boundaries instead of building barriers. The difference? Transparency.
  • Know what you really want.
  • Some people really may be impossible to get along with in a healthy manner. “All things are not possible with people who refuse to be led by the Holy Spirit.”
  • Give yourself some time to process what you feel.
  • Ask yourself if your expectations are unrealistic or realistic. If they are realistic, “discern how {you} can communicate {them} with gentleness and in the right timing.”
  • Remember: “Feelings are indicators, not dictators.”

Are you getting closer to soul integrity?

Kayse’s Thoughts

When I took the Unglued assessment last week, I came out as “A Stuffer Who Builds Barriers”.

Yup. That’s me.

Offend me, hurt me, insult me, and most likely I’ll still be nice to you. I might even throw a smile or two your way.

But I will not answer your emails or phone calls, and I will probably try to avoid you at all costs. Or just make as little contact as possible.

I could say that I do this because I don’t feel like you’re a safe person, or maybe we’ve just grown apart.

But really, it’s because I’m hurt, and trying desperately to protect myself from feeling that way ever again.

I’ve been this way for a long time. I’ve been thinking about it this week and it really traces as far back as I can remember. And you know who it comes down to?

My mom.

She was a protector, my momma. And while she was the nicest, kindest, more generous person you would ever meet, you did not mess with her kids.

So whenever I came home with hurt feelings, crying over something someone said or did, her response to me was always the same.

“Just stay away from them, sweetie. They aren’t your real friends and they aren’t worth your time.”

I get why she gave me that advice. I get what she was trying to do. She was protecting her baby girl from getting hurt by those people again. There was just one flaw that I think she might have missed.

If you run from everyone who ever hurts you, you end up with no friends at all.

Even real friends can hurt you. No one is perfect. Just because someone has offended or upset you doesn’t mean they aren’t truly your friends. And while it’s true that some people are just not safe, it’s also true that it’s a tragedy to write off relationships before you’ve had a chance to work at reconciliation.

I never really learned how to work at effectively communicating hurt in a way that fostered growth in a relationship. I’m learning that now, after 2 years of marriage counseling, but it would have been good to know a few years back. Just saying. smile

I’m so challenged by Lysa’s idea of soul integrity. Honesty that’s godly. It’s freeing and terrifying all at the same time. And I’m a pretty honest person to begin with. But telling someone when I’ve been hurt? That scares me to death. It’s been my MO to stuff those feelings and build a barrier that protects me. Keeps me safe.

Keeps me from others.

I cannot be effective in the body of Christ if I cannot maintain soul integrity. Christ Himself stood as a physical reconciliation for us, and I think He begs us to follow in His steps.

I think it takes a little bravery, a little boldness, and a lot of prayer.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Where do you tend to see yourself stuffing your emotions? Can you trace it back to identify a trigger in your past?
  2. How does building barriers keep you from effectively serving?
  3. What has challenged you about this idea of soul integrity?
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Comments

  1. i read your title & gulped hard.
    and that list of reasons why you stuff? yep, you can pretty much just copy & paste them as mine, too.

    thx for this, my kidred spirit,
    your fellow stuffer

    • I’m having trouble with my comment system, so that I don’t see them all in real time anymore. Thanks for sharing your friend’s post with me. There is hope for us meeting one day! :)
      I’m glad to have a kindred spirit out there. Love that.

  2. Jamie, this sounds like such a good book! I wish I had time to read it right now, but I have too much going on. It’s definitely going on my list! Though I’m not a stuffer, I do have the same temptations to stuff…and I love the wisdom she shares and the tips listed. I think anyone can benefit from this, because it’s all about learning to communicate effectively, all the while being led by the Holy Spirit. Having self-control with our emotions, but still dealing with them…not ignoring. So much wisdom shared in this post. Thank you!

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  1. […] going to need a moment to go “cry in the closet.” I’m the kinda girl who tends to stuff all her emotions down into the private place. So come Monday, I was feeling an explosion of emotion coming on. But I know unequivocally that in […]

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