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Moodiness Will Ruin Relationships

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Wednesday, 01 Jun 2016 03:57 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Are you a moody person? Do you have to deal with someone who’s moody? A mate? A boss? A child? A co-worker?

During one marriage counseling session, a husband complained that the past weekend had not been good because his wife had been in one of her moods.

I asked the wife what the husband meant. She shrugged and looked at him.

“What she’s doing now,” he said. “She won’t talk; she won’t answer; she acts like the kids and I don’t exist. And it doesn’t matter what we do to try to be nice.”

He explained that the family can clean the house, cook the meals, or buy her a present, and she still won’t snap out of it.

I asked Marilyn if what her husband was describing about her was accurate. She shrugged and said yes. “It’s just the way I am.” When she gets in one of those moods, she said, she wants people to leave her alone. Not talk to her, not try to cheer her up.

I asked how often her moodiness struck. She said a few times a month. Her husband said about once a week.

I asked how long her moods lasted. They both agreed — two or three days.

I asked if she saw her moodiness as a problem. She was noncommittal, but added that all her family was like this and her husband had known she was moody before he married her.

He said he had thought her moodiness was because of the stress of the wedding and her dad being sick at the time. He never dreamed it would be something he’d have to live with for the rest of their married life.

I asked if she saw her moodiness as something she wanted to work on to make things better at home with her husband and children.

She said, “Not particularly.”

I asked if she understood how destructive her moods were to her marriage, her children, and herself.

I said that each time she gets in one of her moods, she emotionally leaves the family. She’s not available for anyone. She closes everyone out. She discounts everyone’s existence. She sucks up the family’s energy as all wait for her to be in a better mood.

And I said I suspect during her moodiness she can’t possibly enjoy life or feel close to anyone.

She asked what she could do about her moods. I said she’d have to want to make a change. And I wasn’t so sure she was ready. She agreed.

I said my usual routine would be to quickly review her childhood and see who she learned this behavior from and how it served her as a child. This would take no more than a half session. I’d also send her to her doctor to make sure she was okay physically. I’d have her make a list of the advantages she saw in being moody.
“When you’re moody, everyone is watching you, trying to please you,” I said. “Maybe you get out of cooking, doing housework. Maybe you get to take a nap, guilt free. People don’t keep a behavior around unless they get a payoff. Sometimes understanding the payoff helps people give up the behavior.”

I told her that when a bad mood starts, I want her to do some things immediately to help herself shake it off. Research shows that if you get a project going — such as cleaning the garage — or if you do something for someone else such as running an errand, your bad mood will dissipate.

I advised no television or alcohol when she’s in a bad mood, as both of these things exacerbate the bad feelings.
 

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During one marriage counseling session, a husband complained that the past weekend had not been good because his wife had been in one of her moods.
marriage counseling, relationships, alcohol
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2016-57-01
Wednesday, 01 Jun 2016 03:57 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

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