…I wonder

The State of my Heart (or How I Became the Fighting wo*Man*, TFM #3)

Stormy, Shattered Heart

The Fighting Man (Part 3)

We continue with Part 3 of The Fighting Man (TFM). In the first article, “A Drawing of The Fighting Man,” we described TFM and even drew a picture of him! The second article, “The State of our Hearts,” talked about one of the causes that causes TFM to develop within us – a heart that is full of anger, bitterness and hate, and how it affects our daily interraction with others.

This article will delve into my difficult past and show you why I developed all of the characteristics of The Fighting Man. It is not easy to share all of this with you and to be so open about it, but I was the classical example of a heart full of anger, bitterness and hate, so what better way to show you what The Fighting Man can really look like? How I overcame is part of a future article.

Preface

I must preface this article with a very important note. I am no longer this person who is portrayed in the article. God created me as a beautiful, intelligent, loving, sweet, kind person – but until God delivered me from The Fighting Man, TFM covered me with his ugly apparel. Parts of the real “me” that God created used to shine out often, but The Fighting Man lived in me in its entirety. I thank the Lord that He showed me the way out of this horrible stronghold – a story that will be shared in the near future.

It Begins

For most of my adult life, I had an extreme hate in my heart. That hate was mostly directed towards all men, but it spilled out into a lot of my other relationships. I wore everything that is seen on The Fighting Man (first article). It wasn’t always that way.

Let me explain:

My life started out with sexual abuse before the age of five. When I was six, we moved from Venezuela to Spain for a year because my parents separated. Five years later, they separated again and we moved to Ohio for a year. At the age of twelve my parents finally divorced. This event shook me to the core and I began a downward spiral in my relationships with all people. My younger sister knew that the marriage was in trouble, but I lived in a naive world and had no inkling at all that things weren’t well between my parents. They never fought and I often saw them wrapped up in each others arms while they slept. So, when my mother announced the divorce, I felt like I had been slapped hard. I still remember my head reeling and sitting down by my mother’s feet sobbing, “God will help you to live together, God will help you! Please don’t divorce!”

At this point, I stopped talking to people and started to feel unworthy of relationships. I remember intense anger developing and taking it out physically on others, including myself.

My mother, dealing with her own hurts and disappointments, was unable to handle two younger daughters who were reacting to a difficult life with rebellion. This left us quite alone emotionally, resulting in a huge lack of self-esteem and some co-dependent behaviors.

After the divorce, my father would only spend a few hours with us every other Sunday, trying unsuccessfully to establish a relationship with two young girls who resented him and his new family. I felt intense jealousy that they received what we never got from him.

Don’t get me wrong – my parents are great people with good hearts and I love them passionately. They are now believers, although Dad passed away a few years ago. But they were not able to provide the love, security and emotional support that we needed to grow up with a healthy self-esteem.

To top it all off, we did not know God while I was growing up, nor the healing power of truly knowing Jesus Christ. I knew that there was a God, but I just didn’t know Him. He had given me the gift of faith without any knowledge. However, the lack of relationship with Him left a huge God-shaped hole in my hearts that we tried to fill up with drugs, alcohol, men, self-indulgence, and so on.

Our teenage years were very rocky, with choices made that got us into a lot of trouble.

An Anger Issue

The hurts I received as a child, and the neglect of nurturing relationships in my life, filled my heart with anger. A lot of anger. Especially when most men I got involved with chose to be unfaithful whether by looking, lusting or physically having relations with another woman while we were together, just as my father had been unfaithful to my mom. With each infidelity, that anger grew until I began to resent men and a bitterness sprang up in my heart. To make matters worse, I developed an obsessive jealousy which was the cause of many loud fights. I continued to receive many types of abuse through a good portion of my adult life, mostly anger and control issues.

This anger slowly turned into bitterness. If a man did anything to hurt to me, the compounded anger lashed out in enfuriated bursts of rage. I had no self-control nor self-discipline. Doors got slammed, dishes got thrown, and words were said that caused great pain. It was an extremely volatile way to handle relationships. And I was emotionally a mess!

I ended up getting married three times to angry men with their own problems. As a classic co-dependent, I married broken people in order to try to fix them so they would love me. I was just as broken, if not more – two emotionally crippled people do not a good marriage make! For years,  bitterness and resentment raged on and just grew stronger and stronger.

By the time I met my fourth husband, I had a deep hate in my heart towards all men. And I mean hate… if a man I didn’t know made an unsavory comment to me, I had the biggest desire to punch him really good. If a friend discussed some of the hurtful things her partner said to her, I was ready to go chew him out till he writhed in pain and shame. Rage always simmered underneath. In my eyes, all men were evil.

A Trust Issue

I had been hurt so much by the male side of the population that I trusted no man. Even after I married my lovely husband, I struggled between love and hate. If he hurt me in any way, I was ready to throw it all away.

By this time, my outbursts had finally subsided as I had learned some self-control and had worked through some co-dependent issues a few years earlier, but hate still flowed strong and it didn’t take much to set it off. It got to the point that it truly affected my relationship with him – and it affected my life.

I have great patience; “the patience of a saint,” many would say, but the anger inside my heart seethed; even my children experienced bouts of uncontrollable anger and frustration.

It was easy for me to be very negative and I’m a positive person! I no longer found joy in life and wished it were over too many times to count. My thoughts were continually black. I continually replayed the wrongs done to me, and imagine new ways of “getting back.”

Oh, I had what I call “pockets of joy,” but the general feeling in my heart was ugly. Depression dogged my every step. Despair was my best friend during tough times and I wanted to give up.

The worst part came a few years ago when God showed me that this hate towards man included hate towards Him. The lack of trust went as far as not trusting Him! But that is another story. 🙂

I was the Fighting Man!

The Fighting Man was me! My thoughts continually judged and criticized every one. I rehearsed and rehearsed the wrongs done to me and imagined better come-backs to really cut the other person down.

It didn’t take much for anger to spring up in my heart, no matter how small the offense. To illustrate this, let me share a true story that is still agonizing to this day:

I remember taking my two kids and their little cousin to Lowe’s many years ago. My oldest son Christopher, who was four at the time, and his cousin Jennifer fought non-stop. Already I was at breaking point because of a volatile and rocky marriage. In addition, we were moving home and most of the cleaning and the packing was left to me.

While waiting at the checkout stand, I turned around to settle the two fighting cousins yet again, and quickly separated them by putting Jennifer in the cart and telling Christopher to not talk anymore. When I turned back towards the register, I noticed that the couple who were behind me had cut in front and were checking out. That was it!! I totally lost it!!

I ranted and raved about inconsiderate, rude people and how insensitive and selfish they were. I think the people at all six registers could hear every word I was saying. The couple ignored me and continued with their check out as if nothing had happened. I slammed things onto the moving belt of the register still complaining, my rage evident to all. When they left and the cashier checked me out, she asked for a picture ID for the check I wrote. She took one look at my face and stammered, “Never mind… have a good day!” obviously eager to get me out of there.

I stormed out of the store still raving mad. I was really angry at the people, but I was especially furious at the kids for having put me in this situation. I got to the car, the two still fighting all the way. I yelled at them, spanked their butts and shoved them into their car seats. When I straightened up, I looked and behold! The couple were standing by their car, their mouths hanging open, wondering about this lady who evidently was having a Super Duper Adult Temper Tantrum. I exploded and made a very indecent gesture to them and screamed at the top of my lungs across the parking lot to them, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY DAY SUCH A GREAT DAY!!!!” At this, the lady gasped and hurried into the car, and the happy couple drove away.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 NLT Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.

Proverbs 29:11 NIV A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

I still remember this situation with shame in my heart. I showed myself for the fool I was! But can you see this Fighting Man in all its glory? I became someone I was not proud of:

  • I was angry
  • I hated
  • I raged
  • I fought
  • I lied
  • I cheated
  • I judged
  • I criticized
  • I argued about everything
  • I was depressed
  • I found fault with everyone and everything
  • I didn’t think about consequences
  • I spent ages thinking about ways I could have really taken revenge
  • I thought I was always right and would fight to prove it, regardless of the consequence to the relationship
  • I was offended by every action and spent my time on the defensive
  • AND I reacted with violence – spanking was done out of anger
  • My state was one of argument – I would pick apart anything that came my way and take offense with it

I didn’t like people, but I most especially didn’t like myself. Thank the Lord that He did not allow me to stay in this frame of being!

How Does This Apply to You?

Maybe you can identify with a few of these characteristics, maybe you can identify with all of them, and maybe you can add to this list! We may exhibit these characteristics on a daily basis or they may pop up unexpectedly during the week. Regardless of how often and when, TFM is a reality!  We all own a portion of The Fighting Man; it is our inheritance of being a part of this world and we cannot escape it.

The objective here is to offer hope. There are some powerful weapons available to help overcome this ugly side within us, and also methods we can use to keep peace with others who have TFM in them. The next few articles deal with my experiences in overcoming TFM through the healing process that God used to break that stronghold of anger, bitterness and hate.

If you find that you have identified with The Fighting Man, then read on for the tools needed to overcome.

I must end with some key scriptures that deal with these emotions:

Ephesians 4:30-31 Amplified And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).

Romans 3:13-15 NLT Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies. Snake venom drips from their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They rush to commit murder.

1 John 4:20 NIV If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

1 John 2:9 NIV Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.

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