A Rough Day

Imagine that Jane is having an extremely rough day. Maybe you have had one like this too…

The children are not on their best behavior, and Jane is feeling overwhelmed from daily responsibilities. She is hoping when her husband, Tom, comes home from work that they can connect. She wants to feel supported.

This is not the case today!

Tom begins calmly sharing about his day, and Jane starts to feel anxiety and frustration. She interrupts Tom by saying, “Don’t you care about my day?” She continues to raise her voice, and the conversation ends in an argument. Jane could point her finger and blame Tom for the contention. But she might forget that three of her fingers are pointing back to her.

Or she could take responsibility for this argument but also realize that this was not all her fault…well kind of.

 

Influence in a Fallen World

We live in a fallen world where we are under the influence of negative forces and evil all around us. Although we do not like to talk about our earthly enemy, understanding his tactics to cause misery and destroy relationships is valuable.

Elder Jeffery R. Holland tells us, “We don’t talk about the adversary any more than we have to, and I don’t like talking about him at all, but… (every one)… needs to remember… Satan, or Lucifer, or the father of lies—call him what you will—is real, the very personification of evil. 

His motives are in every case malicious, and he convulses at the appearance of redeeming light, at the very thought of truth.

He is eternally opposed to the love of God, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the work of peace and salvation. He will fight against these whenever and wherever he can. He knows he will be defeated and cast out in the end, but he is determined to take down with him as many others as he possibly can.” 

This simple story of Tom and Jane’s argument illustrates how Satan, the enemy to your healthy, happy relationships, uses a strategy of manipulating your very thoughts to cause contention and disharmony. This technique spins any relationship and is called The Satanic Spin.

Jane Gets Spun

Let’s look at the details of this story to understand the brain function that caused Jane to lose her cool. It is helpful to discern the subtle strategy that the adversary used to get Jane to feel angry with the person she loves most in this life. Satan is no dummy. He wants you to feel like the dummy. He knows how your brain works and uses this against you! 

When Tom arrived home, Jane was already in a little emotional spin since her day was challenging. But what was it that sent the dominoes toppling over and caused this couple to get into a heated argument?

For many of us, it’s helpful to discover complex psychological principles by breaking them down into easy to understand terminology such as the following.

The Flash 

The first part of the Satanic Spin happens when we get flashed with a subliminal or subconscious event from the past. It can be a sound, smell, taste, feel of something, or even a word that our brain picks up on. Our subconscious brain can quickly pick up on our environment through our 5 senses and registers a subliminal message that we are not even aware of.

Here is a simple example of a subliminal technique. Over 40 years ago a marketing company cut out a frame of film and inserted an advertisement in its place such as an icy cold drink and popcorn. As the movie scrolled by at about 24 squares per second, the conscious brain missed the picture of the snacks. But the subconscious brain picked it up. Members of the audience were stimulated to purchase the marketed products. This experiment was so successful that it was eventually outlawed.

 

So, Satan hijacks our brain in a similar way with subliminal messages, or “Blasts from the Past” that could potentially harm us. But how?

As Christians, many of us believe in inspiration through Holy Ghost as we receive spiritual promptings through thoughts or feelings. Satan has similar power to influence our thoughts and feelings, but his intentions are to influence us for evil.

Satan causes much of the opposition we experience in this fallen world (See 2 Nephi 2:10-11, 15) and can influence our thoughts and feelings. 

Jane was being influenced by the devil, so her losing her cool and getting angry was not totally her fault. But it is always a choice, especially when we are aware of Satan’s influence. With proper training and tools, these type of relationship patterns and influences of Satan can be overcome with greater and more frequent success!

Chemical Drips

Jane’s brain flashed her with a memory of the past when this sound – her husband’s monotone voice – led to an argument. Your brain is always on the lookout for possible threats from the past to activate the survival mechanism in the middle animal brain.

This subliminal memory of hearing her husband’s monotone voice caused the negative chemicals in the brain to start dripping. As the drips increase, they may cause the frontal lobe (where imagination, creativity, reasoning, and values reside) to go to sleep. If your frontal lobe goes to sleep, you will make choices that are not based on your values.

It’s as if you are literally “out of your mind” because these natural chemicals in your brain are in the same family as heroin!

Some of Jane’s values are to speak with patience, kindness and understanding to her husband. As you look at the complete Satanic Spin above, you can see the alarms. More and more negative chemicals continued to be dripping into Jane’s brain as she listened to her husband talking. If she is aware of her feelings before the negative chemical level is too potent, she can choose to do something proactive and stop the spin that is causing her frontal lobe to go to sleep.

Once her frontal lobe goes to sleep and Jane is thinking from the animal or middle brain, she will most likely react with fight, flight, or freeze. And in this story, she went to fight by raising her voice and saying unkind things to her husband.

The Feelings

The third part of the Satanic Spin happens when you have a partial feeling. Your amazing brain looks for things from the past that created this partial feeling and connects past events to your current situation. In Jane’s story, her partial feeling of anxiety showed up because she had experienced it many times in the past, especially in her interaction with her husband upon his arrival home from work.

It’s typical for us to not notice chemical changes in our bodies, especially men. But with adequate training, you can learn to describe changes in body chemistry with the words: bored, irritable, frustrated, anxious, depressed, lonely, angry, etc.

Imagine little buckets in your brain filled with chemicals. When the buckets are spilled the chemicals cause a variety of unique feelings. Satan is looking for the opportunity to tips those buckets with his fiery darts which are negative thoughts. He generally causes a few drops to be spilled at a time rather than a whole bucket. Wanting to remain undetected, this is another subtle strategy of the adversary.

As Christians, many of us believe in inspiration through Holy Ghost as we receive spiritual promptings through thoughts or feelings. Satan has similar power to influence our thoughts and feelings, but his intentions are to influence us for evil.

Satan causes much of the opposition we experience in this fallen world (See 2 Nephi 2:10-11, 15) and can influence our thoughts and feelings.

Logic – Your Thoughts

The human brain stores memories of everything you have ever seen, tasted, smelled, touched, felt or experienced in any way. Suppose you connected with someone you haven’t seen in a long while. The brain searches its filing cabinet with a question like “Where have I seen this person before?”

Jane’s brain flashed her with a memory of the past when the sound of her husband’s monotone voice occurred. This same sound led to an argument several times before. Jane didn’t feel safe in this situation. Your brain is always on the lookout for possible threats from the past to activate the survival mechanism in the middle animal brain.

For Jane, this subliminal memory in her brain’s filing cabinet – her husband’s monotone voice – caused the negative chemicals to start dripping. Your brain processes this entire four-phase cycle in less than one second. With every cycle, strong negative feelings increase along with deviant chemicals to sooth the mind to the point of being “stoned.”  This causes the frontal lobe (where imagination, creativity, reasoning, and values reside) to go to sleep. If your frontal lobe goes to sleep, you will make choices that are not based on your values.

Although we always have free agency along the way, there is something to the old adage of Satan made me do it!

The Best Strategy to Prevent a Spin

Get in touch with your feelings and realize they are a guide or beacon to you. This can make a huge difference in preventing yourself from saying or doing something you regret. Many people often ignore their feelings. They don’t realize when they are slipping into their animal brain thinking, which really isn’t thinking as much as acting on instinct. Some people don’t understand the value in acknowledging their emotions and using them to their advantage.

If you find yourself experiencing anger, frustration, fear, or any painful emotion, find a way to shift your energy and lessen that emotion. Do this before interacting or continuing to interact with someone near and dear to you. You might do something physical such as take a walk, run, do some push ups, or do jumping jacks. Perhaps take a calmer approach by meditating or praying for a few minutes. Maybe singing a joyful or energizing song, listening to inspiring music, or even dancing can help you interact better with others.

And, it doesn’t need to take a long time. Just take a few minutes or so with the activity of your choice to neutralize those negative brain chemicals. The sooner you become aware of negative emotions bubbling up, the quicker doing a simple activity can pop those bubbles and calm you down.

Give this powerful strategy tip a try. But if you still struggle with patterns of frustration, anxiety, sadness, fear or guilt in your marriage relationship, consider a complimentary 30-minute call. This valuable call is with a certified marriage coach. Simply click the link below to get started. This assessment call will give you clarity on using the strategy discussed in this article. Or you can learn other strategies you might need to strengthen your relationship against the influence of Satan.

 

 

Maurice W. Harker, the head therapist at Life Changing Services, has a unique way of teaching about the adversary’s strategies to deceive and weaken ourselves and relationships. For more on the idea of Satan’s influence, listen to a short podcast clip by Maurice Harker: Did Satan Make Me Do It?)