Permission to dwell in negativity: this too shall pass

Negativity breeds more negativity, is what I’m hearing. Toxic people are negative people and no good will come from them.

Right?

Well I am here today to say that sometimes, we need to give ourselves permission to wallow in a bad mood.

There. I said it. Call it catharsis or whatever you want.

There are simply times when I just want to be left to it. Wallow, self-pity, woe is me.

I blame hormones. (But that’s another fun and exciting blog topic for another day.)  🙄 

Look, we all could use more positives in our hectic lives. We’re constantly bombarded by media and the world around us with negative messages, images, video clips. It’s not easy to live like this unless we turn off the tv and the wifi.

Have you tried to get through the day without the internet? Just today I was commissioned to finish the tennis forms, and a kid needs a registration completed online, and there’s two bills to pay today…

Hibernation, or becoming a hermit does sound alluring at times…

I’m neither hibernating nor a hermit. I don’t have time

What I’m saying is, when that bad mood hits and you know yourself well enough to understand that it’s a process you need to go through, well then do what you can to do exactly that. Go through the process.

I give you permission to let your bad mood simmer. Sometimes that’s the only thing that will make you feel better, afterwards.

But there are some common courtesies we should probably adhere to while we roll around in our deep, dark abyss. Like this one:

Don’t drag the family down with you.

This of course is easier said than done. Everyone has these moments when we are more than happy to point at their actions as the offending cause of our bad mood.

Bad moods don’t accept rationalization; instead, they emerge slowly, over a period of time. Maybe it’s the clutter and dirt that got dragged in and accumulated, maybe it’s a financial decisions someone maybe that has the budget upside down now, or maybe it’s kids ignoring your instructions. When the mood takes possession of your brain cells, you can dish out blame as much as you like, it won’t really make it dissipate .

But instinctively we should at least try not to involve them in our train-wreck journey.

Right?

So how do you do that? How do you save them from joining you in your mad mood?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times my tweens accuse me of wrecking their good mood.  They refuse to accept, for example, that schoolbags and unpacked lunch bags left on the floor at the entrance is the straw that finally broke the camel’s back, and not the main culprit of my instability. They don’t understand that I’d been dealing with any number of issues throughout the day. They were in school, away from me. They didn’t see the cumulative grief of my day.

What they do see is my reaction to something stupid like bags on the floor. They label my freak-out as excessive, which ignites their own bad mood. And it’s futile during those moments to try and defend myself. To explain that the bags are not the reason I’m pissed off, but they contributed to my already fragile state…

Kids in middle school are old enough to get it, they shouldn’t need repetitive reminders for executing simple, routine expectations.

But I digress. This is just one example anyway, and a minor one at that. (But let’s stick with that one, for now, for simplicity purposes.)

So what does an exasperated parent do in a situation like this?

Well, the wrong thing to do is to react, to lash out. To start yelling.

“How many times have I told you guys to pick up your crap?”

What I really WANT to do is hide in my bedroom with a glass of wine and the remote, or a good book. Ignore what I instinctively know will fuel my already raging emotional fire. I should escape, and deal with their stuff later, when I’m calmer, more relaxed.

But letting it go is often not practical. When their dad comes home he’ll be the one to trip over their stuff. He deserves some dinner when he gets home from a brutal commute, not a sprained ankle. Then, the kids have homework, and usually there’s activities to schlepp them to before, or after dinner. Not to mention that they too need to eat. Can’t have a kid collapse during a hockey game now, can we? So if they’re dawdling around with screens on the couch in front of he tv while I rush around making dinner, acutely aware of their scattered bags in my peripherals, this does not calm my agitated state. The state that was already agitated before they arrived home from school.

Blah.

Having said all that, I don’t really want to encourage you to go through these dips in mood all alone. What I’m trying to say is that bad moods will come and go, and we are allowed to have them. Perhaps this is a way to manage stress, in some ways.

It’s all in how we deal with the bad mood.

The aim here is give us all permission to have those moments where the bad mood festers, and to allow us to travel through it.  We may react wrong, make mistakes along the way, end up having the whole family involved by sheer blind rage over stupid issues that consume us but no one else, but we will prevail and take up the reigns again. After the storm, when it’s all over.

This could be a learning experience. A lesson, of sorts, of what not to do next time. (Bags on the floor won’t cause the apocalypse…)

Know that I often fail spectacularly in making wrong choices during my bad mood spells, especially in the parenting department.

But then, this is why I have a blog. 😉

So readers, tell me, what do you do when the shit hits the fan in your household and you can’t board a flight to Barbados to escape it all?

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13 thoughts on “Permission to dwell in negativity: this too shall pass

  1. You and I are SO similar it’s unnerving. I get in from work, and usually hit the ground running – picking up after the kids, washing up, putting things away – the “routine”. My other half has a go at me for doing it. Of course she leaves a nest of garbage in the living room every single night, without failure – and a trail of “stuff” around the house – that I clear as I make my way around the house on a morning. And they wonder why we appear to be in a bad mood most of the time…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’re right in giving yourself permission to have your moments of frustration. Psychology research says that catharsis doesn’t help us with those frustrations, so any type of “lashing out” is, on the other hand, NOT so healthy.
    I am a huge proponent of natural consequences. That has taken a big frustration load off of my shoulders. When I started letting my perfectly capable child be responsible for some things that I would normally do for her, I began to feel less aggravated. Of course, if you’re like me, and a little bit of a control freak, that is a tall order at times.
    You said yourself that the kids haven’t been home all day to witness what builds up to your breaking point. I can relate to this. Then the mom guilt kicks in whenever you lose your temper.
    Bottom line, I haven’t been reading your blog forever, but as a mother, I hear you. I feel the frustration in your words. I think more than just giving yourself permission to feel what you need to feel, there has to be some permission given to let go of some unnecessary work. What can you do to make your life easier on those days/nights when you’re so busy? It might mean that everyone gets a sandwich because it takes one thing off of your mind so you might actually get to enjoy watching your child’s hockey game. I’d give yourself permission for THOSE types of things, in addition to the permission for feeling what you need to feel. Take a good inventory of things that can be dialed back to give you some breathing room. And then, once you get it, don’t forget to use it, and breathe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve thought about this too, like planning ahead knowing things could go south quickly on some days. And yes, we definitely hand over some of the responsibilities, we’ve long stopped dealing with their equipment, for example, or laundry. 😉

      Awesome advice. Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I appreciated this perspective. I love ‘go through the process’! I once heard someone say that basically you can cry and be upset about a situation, just don’t unpack and stay there. Kinda reminded me of this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I disagree. Negative is never a good place in my opinion. However realistic clear thinking is neither positive or negative. Sometimes just calmly clearly evaluation is just the balance we require so we don’t react but instead constructively respond to situations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point. I have a hard time sometimes to get beyond to the negativity….taking a time out, to regroup, might help redirect that emotion.

      Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your insights.

      Like

  5. I think it’s balance. As much as I want to feel more grateful and to be a positive optimistic person. I am more than a little sick of the constant bombardment of “life is so wonderful and beautiful” motivational crap I see everywhere. I’m guilty of this too! “suck it up buttercup” type of positivity quotes are a bit better. But sometimes you just need to breathe and know “that this too will pass” and allow and forgive yourself for being well, a bit of a bitch. And not the good kind! 😘 I love your posts x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments, and for taking the time to comment. I love that we have engagement like this in the blog world. ❤

      Gosh that motivational stuff….I keep seeing it too and have this knee-jerk reaction. Like, reality isn't all that. It's not all sunshine and butterflies. Sometimes reality is brutal and harsh and all the snowflake-types need a lesson in how to deal with a dose of that reality.

      And yet, at the same time, I feel like I'm the odd one out, the only one who doesn't surround herself with the knicknacks of inspiration or optimism. Which isn't to say I can't use more positives in my life, I definitely could. I'm cynical enough. It's just that most of the advertised inspiration seems almost phony, fake. Mass produced. So I don't know…I'll let my mood do its thing and hope tomorrow I start fresh.

      Liked by 3 people

      • You’re definitely not the odd one out. We’re all taking it a day and a decision at a time. I’m learning that I need to be authentic to my truth even if it’s different to the accepted norms… is the only way that i’m going to “feel” better. We are all experiencing “life” through our own unique lenses and I don’t think any one person has the right answer. X

        Liked by 1 person

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