“Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf ” ~ Jonatan Mårtensson
It is easy, when we are feeling grouchy, to take it out on those around us. Unfortunately, it usually tends to be those to whom we are closest. What makes it confusing for them is that we usually do not tell them why we are reacting negatively to them.
Instead, we criticize or attack them for something they say or do, or neglect to do. Often this comes at them from out of the blue, and they are puzzled, hurt or angry at the way we are talking to them. Rather than owning what it is that is troubling us, we push that into the background, and make another person “the problem.”
Perhaps this is in part denial of our own feelings. We may be angry at or disappointed in ourselves, but rather than deal with that we transfer those feelings to another. They may well then respond with hurt or anger, which makes us feel even worse. Soon a downward, negative spiral is occurring, creating even more levels of hurt and anger. The fallout can last for days.
This could all be avoided if we recognize when we are in a “bad mood” and make a conscious effort not to vent it on others. Taking some time alone to figure out just what is bothering us, and applying a little “mental first-aid” before interacting with others can be helpful.
Letting others know that we are grumpy and that it has nothing to do with them gives them a heads-up so they do not take our mood personally and react negatively to it. They may even show compassion and caring which can help to improve the way we are feeling.
Despite our best intentions, we may find ourselves in mid-vent towards another before we realize what we are doing. Even if we do not realize it until we are done, it is important to apologize to the other, letting them know we are sorry and they did not deserve the response we gave them. This will help to minimize damage to them and to the relationship. They will respect us for it, and we will have more respect for ourselves. (Recommended self-help audio: Mood Therapy and Releasing Anger.)
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
Related MP3s Available:
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Healing the Past