Stuffers are people who hold back emotion in an unhealthy way. They turn inward with reactions to an offense instead of working it through in the moment. Rather than saying what they need to say when it needs to be said, they grow silent, try to shrug it off, and then smolder. If someone picks up on their tension, they deny it. Sometimes, those bottled-up feelings reach a break point, where even the slightest trigger can bring big emotion. In Asia, they call it “swatting a fly with a cannon.” In America, we call it “going postal.” Here are five signs you may be a stuffer:
1) You rehearse. Even old conversations replay in your head; you walk through what you wish you had said or what you will say at the next opportune moment.
2) You are indirect. You use silence, body language and other kinds of indirect communication to punish an offender. Even if that person is unaware of the offense, you justify your response by their ignorance.
3) You keep lists. You find it easy to recall a whole string of wrongs when emotions flare.
4) You rely… On someone else to draw out your thoughts about a sensitive subject, which may require great perseverance on their part.
5) You frequently hear the comment… “Where did that come from?”
1) Read. Part of an ancient letter from Paul to the Corinthians contains a famous passage usually read at weddings. Some people call it the “Love Chapter.” The next time you find yourself fuming and withdrawn, read through this chapter, substituting your name for the word “love” in each instance.
2) Be direct, but respectful. Next, go straight to the person with whom you have a difference and speak directly about how their actions or words made you feel, but do so in a way that does not violate the chapter you just read.