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  1. #1

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    Hi, I'm new here and seeking help to address and change the way I deal with my moodiness.

    I have always had a quick temper, I come from a family where yelling and threats were the way I was kept in line. I am 33 years old now. 4 years ago, I was in a serious relationship with a man I was planning to marry. Ultimately, he broke up with me. One large reason for this is my unpredictable moodiness. Although I am usually quite cheerful and attract many people with my personality, I admit I have a dark side and I cannot control it.

    I am not violent and I do not throw things, but I do get worked up quite easily. After that relationship, I went to therapy to work on conflict resolution skills. Now, I can say that I can successfully talk through a conflict, calm down, and work towards a resolution. I also have worked on letting go of past fights and allow myself to calm down after agreeing to make up.

    However, I still have one large problem. When I am in a bad mood, I often do not even realize it! And I end up snapping at whoever is closest to me for no reason, often overreacting to whatever they have said. My most recent boyfriend has just broken up with me for this reason. I talked to my best friends and they admitted that it is true. That sometimes they are nervous and uncomfortable around me because I snap at them undeservedly. Honestly, I had no idea that I have been doing this for years! Otherwise, I would have brought it up in therapy before. Now, I am unemployed and cannot afford to see a therapist. Therefore, I'm on my own.

    How do I recognize when I do this? How do I figure out why I do this and what causes it? How do I gain awareness of when I am in a bad mood and about to snap at someone or overreact? I think this happens when I am frustrated, embarassed, or annoyed, but I am not sure. I have no idea how to act in any other way but I would really like to try.

    Feedback and advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    Hello, Qgirl:

    This is just to let you know that i read your post and will reply when I have a chance to do it properly -- I'm on the run between phone calls and clients this week and I don't want to give you one of those superficial "25 words or less" replies.

    Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, "I'll be back."

  3. #3

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    Thanks, I appreciate it.

    I understand that this is not going to be an easy thing for me to work on. Since I haven't been able to monitor my behavior before, I am not sure how I am going to catch myself now, even though I want to. In particular, I am interested in a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach to this problem.

    But since I have recognized this as a pattern in the way I treat the people that I am close to, I have a strong desire to address this problem so that I can have a lasting relationship with someone. I am deeply afraid that this issue will prevent me from a loving and lasting relationship. I was wondering why I feel "chronically single" and I think that this might be a large reason why. The fact that my very close friends agree that this is something that bothers them also reinforces my resolve to do something about it.

    I have a large host of other issues going on and I have sort of spread them around this board already. I appreciate any feedback you can give me. Thanks!

  4. #4

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    Unfortunately, I have to run out again for a while, but I noted (I think) that you said that at the moment individual psychotherapy isn't an option for financial reasons (?).

    For now, have a look at these self-help resources and see if you can find a copy of this book on cognitive behavior therapy: David Burns, The Feeling Good Handbook. Penguin, 1999

    See also: http://www.psychlinks.ca/pages/anger.htm

    I have some questions I want to ask befoe I point you in any other directions but that will have to wait.

  5. #5

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    Thanks, you are the second person actually to recommend that book by David Burns. A friend of mine yesterday sent me a link to it. Definitely going to order it asap.

    Yes, at the moment individual psychotherapy is not an option for me. I have run out of unemployment benefits and still have not been able to find a job. I signed up to a Temp Agency but they haven't found an assignment for me yet. This is a difficult period of my life, and my priority is Rent Money. So I am doing as much as I can to help myself on my own.

  6. #6

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    One more thing: Look at the threads on omega-3 essential fatty acids in this forum (probably under Alternative Medicine).

    Back later...

  7. #7

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    I do eat plenty of foods such as salmon and dark green leafy vegetables. Do you suggest a supplement? A friend of mine takes something called Sam-e. Would that possibly be helpful?

  8. #8

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    SAMe has been reported to be helpful, yes. Tryptophan may also be helpful but you'll need a prescription to get that.

    However, I still have one large problem. When I am in a bad mood, I often do not even realize it! And I end up snapping at whoever is closest to me for no reason, often overreacting to whatever they have said. My most recent boyfriend has just broken up with me for this reason. I talked to my best friends and they admitted that it is true. That sometimes they are nervous and uncomfortable around me because I snap at them undeservedly. Honestly, I had no idea that I have been doing this for years!
    Do you see any pattern to this at all? Does it happen when you are worried, stressed, nervous? Or perhaps when you are overtired?

    Step one is to try to identify what is going on when you get into these moods -- what is happening in your life -- what are you thinking, saying to yourself -- what is the trigger.

  9. #9

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    Do you see any pattern to this at all? Does it happen when you are worried, stressed, nervous? Or perhaps when you are overtired?

    Step one is to try to identify what is going on when you get into these moods -- what is happening in your life -- what are you thinking, saying to yourself -- what is the trigger.
    I agree... I need to identify what is the trigger. Unfortunately, I have been so clueless about this, I have NO IDEA what I was thinking at the time of all my past lashing outs. I asked a couple of people to relate recent stories and they both had something in common... I think I was embarrased, I felt like I was being mocked and it made me angry. These scenarios make me sound completely stupid, but I will mention them anyway.

    1) Sitting on the couch watching tv with a friend who isn't known for her tact. A button on my shirt near my bellybutton is open and she points at it and says, "You know... your shirt is open. Don't you want to close that?" I snapped at her and said, "Ok, so? Does it bother you?" I was annoyed that she was pointing at my stomach and it felt like she was accusing me that I should be embarrassed about it and close it up. I felt that it was unnecessary of her to point it out, particularly since no one else was there and she has done things like totally unbutton her pants in front of me if she's eaten too much. And no, I do not tell her to button them.

    2) I was with my ex, he was visiting me and we needed to catch a bus to go to a restaurant. It is the busline I always take, but I was unfamiliar with this particular stop. I wasn't sure which block the stop was and I got it wrong. Finally we made it on the bus and he chided me for not knowing my own city. That angered me profusely and I started snapping at him. We got off at the stop for the restaurant and I didn't see it and started walking in the wrong direction. He stopped me and laughed again at my mistake and pointed out that the restaurant was behind me. By this time, I had worked myself up so much that I started walking away to go home and said I wasn't hungry anymore. It turned into a fight and he had to calm me down and convince me to go inside. Once inside, I told him that I thought it was mean the way he was making fun of me and that is why I was upset. I was frustrated and embarassed that I was making mistakes and he was pointing them out. He says that he didn't feel like he was making fun of me and was thrown off guard by my responses.

    I think the two triggers here were being embarassed because I felt foolish? When I am alone and make mistakes, I am ok about them. I guess I don't like being made fun of, or having my mistakes pointed out to me, it hurts my feelings. I know I shouldn't have taken it so personally, but at the moment all I could feel was a flush in my cheeks and feeling heated.

  10. #10

    Bad Moods & Taking it out on others

    Try these exercises to see if they shed any light on why you get angry or moody:

    Developing Insight into Self-Concept

    Insight into Feelings

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