Butters Ate My Shoes
By: Javan
August 30, 2013

Butters handles his loneliness and anxiety by sometimes eating my shoes. Heels and All! We had a scare recently where he had gotten into some old doggie meds. That was ruff!!

In this picture, Butters is found guilty, expressing his remorse…..

Although Butters is strong and healthy, he went through a rough few days of digesting and not digesting the foreign objects he had eaten. He had a lot of attention, help, and eventually got back to normal. He’s a resilient little guy (he’s actually huge) but, he suffered needlessly. His “acting out” didn’t lessen his situation. He was still home alone, but he added to the misery of his emotions.

It’s not unusual for people to experience a similar acting out of frustration and anxiety. Relationships can often bring out reactivity and defensiveness in people. Sometimes, the decision making can result in more frustration rather than help. How do you manage feeling stressed, anxious, worried, or lonely? Everyone has moments where they feel uncomfortable with their thoughts and feelings. Especially over a situation where it seems like it won’t get better. Once the worry becomes too overwhelming, the body and brain plug-in to take action. People need to pause for a moment and reflect. What action and why?

The concept of letting go, allowing things to happen, and to delay interaction is challenging. Ordinary, daily tasks can become the cause for arguments or just stress. A simple example is the mundane, “Where do you want to go for dinner?” And then, no one can come up with anything that everyone can agree on or no one wants to decide. This could initiate some discomfort in the group or family and trigger one person to make the decision on their own. Without discussion, a decision is made and everyone now feels obligated to follow. Even though it may not be the decision they wanted…or the option they would have chosen. Many times, these trivial moments can turn into heated arguments.

More serious situations that cause heightened anxiety are major life changes, We lost our beloved Molly and Dobie over the past two years. My father passed this May. Loss of a loved one, separation, divorce, getting married, or becoming a parent are major life changes. The normal defensiveness, worry, anxiety, and fear is ever present. The body and mind tend to be on overdrive and overly alert. One spouse may not want to separate or divorce, while the other is dead set on leaving the relationship. When one person manages their fear and anxiety by trying to control or influence the other, there can only be a more negative effect on the spouse who wants to leave. In both examples, the person making the decision to react is short circuiting the process for everyone else. Their own discomfort becomes overwhelming and overshadows the needs of others. Or, does not allow for the process to unfold, exposing more data which might have aided in the resolution. Without allowing the conflict to arise, the situation remains unresolved and now more issues have been added to the pot. Just like Butters feeling anxious or upset that he was left alone. He only made it worse by eating my shoes and making himself sick. So don’t eat your shoes! Now there’s indigestion and discomfort added to the problem.

Don’t hit the panic button! Decide for yourself. What would be healthy, happy, and fulfilling? Do the work by not using the knee jerk reaction you’ve always used out of defensiveness. It’s the thoughtful process of being self-differentiated. Knowing in your heart and mind, that you can see the mistakes and flaws of life as challenges that help you grow. Find peace in you, amidst the stress before you eat your shoes.