How to stop random emotional meltdowns with your partner.
As caused by self-repressing behaviour and emotional dismissal of yourself.
Have you been in a situation when your emotions are so all-consuming, as you sit with your partner you can feel your mind gnawing at itself?
I have, and in-case you’re not familiar with the situation, this is how it progresses:
1. You are in silent emotional anguish.
2. You express your distress in an attention-seeking outburst to ‘relieve yourself’ of the pain.
3. There’re tears, yelling, frustration and a lot of confusion about what is wrong.
4. You eradicate the mood in a fantastic and destructive fashion.
5. You feel ashamed at your egotistical or insecurity-fuelled chaos.
6a. You must amend the mess you’ve created, or:
6b. The feelings of shame keep you in a dank state until you’re unable to sustain it.
But, if you are familiar with the above situation, read on...
I am a deep-thinker. I have come to witness the confusion that occurs when my thinking builds a whirlwind of momentum. The result is exhausting and damaging to my relationship. After numerous events of unnecessary proportion, I knew that I had to look inward. I had to pull the weed out from its roots – whatever the weed was.
Inward contemplation, self-awareness and trial and error helped me to recognize my triggers. Some triggers are a by-product of my personality that I wasn't respecting. But I found some fundamental issues that were compounding my emotional turmoil.
Issue one: I wasn’t spending quality alone time with my close friends.
The global pandemic has increased distance between people and their close network. Yet, distance can help us appreciate the people in our life and the importance of maintaining connection.
It wasn’t until I scheduled face-to-face time with my best friend that I realized how desperately I needed to vent. Had she asked me if there was anything 'wrong', the answer would have been an honest ‘no’. But, after hours of catching up, I kept bringing up more and more stuff to vent.
What was the result of venting?
By the end of the day I felt lighter than I had in weeks. I also had a lot more energy and positivity to share with my partner.
Venting didn’t mean I was unhappy in my relationship or that I had serious problems I was ignoring. It allowed me to complain about the small annoyances that are normal in any relationship. In that situation, I could vent in a way that wasn’t harmful to anyone. It allowed me to release emotional tension I had been unintentionally retaining. Any bigger concerns that arose were easy to identify. And, with my refreshed head space, I was able to communicate effectively about my needs to my partner.
Issue two: I was resisting my feelings.
When feelings arose, whether it was; discontent, frustration, sadness or irritation, I would ignore the emotion. But, the more I ignored the emotion, the harder to ignore it became. My willpower to avoid the emotion would deplete until I was at breaking point.
So, my solution was to think. I would think and dig and contemplate where the emotion had come from. In my attempt to remedy it silently, I continued avoiding it. Without fail, I would only end up an emotionally incoherent mess. And, I was still confused about where the emotion came from and frustrated by the situation.
The first step to managing my emotional state better was to understand why I was resisting my emotions.
This will be different between people. If you experience resistance (especially to emotions labelled ‘negative’) I recommend you ask yourself these questions:
1. What emotion/s am I resisting?
2. What story am I telling myself about this emotion?
Answering these questions will aid in your self-awareness about what mental dialogue you have about certain emotions. This can help you can begin to unlearn those opinions.
Once I recognized my subconscious motivation to resist, I was able to practice accepting my feelings.
Accepting the emotion is the quickest way to move through it. My mind wanted to understand the emotion – why it was there and how I could avoid it. I recognized my attempts to try to understand it were a subconscious way to continue avoiding it. I was tricking myself into thinking I was doing something about it instead of experiencing it.
I began accepting my emotions and was able to pull the random emotional meltdown out by its roots.
Mental health is a fundamental aspect of well-being. Preventative habits have a more positive impact on our mental health than waiting for something to ‘come up’. Connecting with the people closest to us and venting in a safe environment can do a lot to alleviate unconscious pressure. Practicing self-awareness and accepting emotions allows us to move through emotional states in a healthier way. The result is we can experience more joy and contentment in our life.
With the current state of the world, mental health has been pushed into the limelight even more. While it can be harder to connect with our loved ones, it is increasingly important to make an effort to connect. For our mental health, as well as others’.