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 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 in a little emotional spin since her day was already 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 as the following explanation will.
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!
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.
Click HERE for Part 2 of this article will explain more about the feelings and logic (thoughts) part of the Satanic Spin.
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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?)