Just about anything that feels good, when taken to an extreme, can end up not feeling so good anymore. A lovely glass of wine may be delightful, but several glasses may make you sick and impair your judgment. A delicious piece of chocolate cake is a nice treat, but if the piece is so large that you take in an entire days’ worth of calories, your waistline will not appreciate the cake in upcoming days. Buying a lottery ticket to engage in a brief fantasy about being a millionaire may be an entertaining diversion, but squandering away the household finances, chasing a nearly impossible dream, is foolishness.
Taken to the ultimate extremes, we would define engaging excessively in these types of activities as addictions. Most people are quite familiar with the concept of calling a heavy drinker an alcoholic, or a heavy gambler a gambling addict, or someone who engages in relationship after dysfunctional relationship a love addict or maybe a sex addict. However, are activities and substances the only things that you can become addicted to? Absolutely not. You can also become an emotional addict, being unwilling to live without the experience of certain mood states.
You can become addicted to anger, anxiety, or depression, just as certainly as you can become addicted to beer, heroin, or internet porn. Emotional addictions, like others, are generally born out of our childhood experiences and then get more fully expressed during teen years. As mindful as you are of your kids getting addicted to crystal meth, you should also be on the lookout for signs of addiction to gloom, despair, rage, or hate.
It is quite common to see teens dressed in shocking apparel, and the manner of dress changes about every 5 years, so there is no one ‘style’ to be on the lookout for. However, each generation puts out a new style that is clearly angry. Often, black color can be an element of the angry style, and items may be accessorized with metal pieces, sharp objects, or jewelry that appears painful. Military clothing has always been popular with teens, but if a youngster looks like he or she is dressed to engage in immediate combat, that is something you may want to notice.
Rebellious messages on tee-shirts, hateful slogans, antagonistic stickers, these can all be signs of a teen very stuck in his or her negative emotions, someone addicted to pain and suffering who desperately needs your compassion, kindness, and understanding.
Their anger may stem from childhood abuse or hardship, from fearfulness of an unpredictable caregiver or home environment. They may be hateful or full of rage because they are confused and scared about becoming an adult. They may have wrapped themselves up in a cloak of anger to protect themselves from deeply-seated fears, anxieties, and insecurities. They think if they look scary to you, you won’t hurt them, and, for the most part, that does work, but at the same time that no one hurts them, no one reaches out to them, either.
The next time you see a ‘scary’ looking teenager, take a moment to ask yourself if their style might be a call for help masquerading as a tough character, and then ask yourself if you can extend yourself to them to provide some comfort or assistance.