Moodiness is natural. We all have times where we get irritated, angry, or downright cranky with the world for no apparent good reason. Sometimes those moods are due to a lack of sleep, hunger, hormones, or just because we had a bad day.
While it is normal for everyone to be a little moody from time to time, some people have more frequent and more volatile mood swings than your average Joe. If your partner is one of those people, life can really become wearisome and unpleasant. You may find yourself walking on eggshells and constantly wondering when the next explosion may occur. You may wonder how to handle living under the same roof with “Jekyll and Hyde.”
Here are a few tips for you when it comes to approaching your partner’s mood swings.
1. Determine If Your Partner Needs Professional Help
An emotionally volatile partner may have an underlying problem such as depression, anxiety or a personality disorder that needs professional help. There are many options available when it comes to treating mood disorders and depression.
If you believe your partner has an issue that cannot be handled alone, initiate a conversation about seeking help from a counselor, therapist, or doctor. It may take more than one discussion to convince your partner to seek help, but don’t give up. There are methods and prescriptions available that can dramatically improve yours and your partner’s quality of life.
2. Take Responsibility For Your Reactions To Your Partner’s Mood
Have you ever escalated your partner’s bad mood by your reaction to it? If you act out emotionally at your partner’s mood swing, you will likely make a bad situation worse. For example, have you ever become angry at your partner because they were upset? It is human nature to feel that way, but you have to take responsibility for your reactions.
You may not be able to control your partner’s mood, but you can influence it if you do not control your own. Indulging in your own emotional reaction may feel like the right thing to do, especially in the heat of the moment. However, try to remember that your reaction makes a huge difference in the length and intensity of your partner’s mood swing.
You cannot control your partner’s behavior so don’t even try. Focus on controlling your own and remain calm. Don’t take the mood swings personally. Your partner is lashing out at you, but the reason for the mood swing likely has nothing to do with you.
Often, moody people start to get preferential treatment from their partner. Sometimes it is just easier to “give in” or do whatever it takes to end the mood. If you get involved in the drama, you will be encouraging more temper tantrums or fits in the future. Chances are, your partner is looking for a dramatic, emotional reaction from you. If you separate yourself from the drama your partner is attempting to create, there eventually will be less of an urgent desire to start the unpleasant behavior in the first place. People are not likely to change if they are being “rewarded” for bad behavior.
4. Develop A Strategy Ahead Of Time
You can often identify patterns in your partner’s mood swings. You may notice certain triggers that bring them on or reactions that make them better or worse. For example, when I am angry at someone, I want my husband’s understanding but not his help. He has learned this over time, so instead of offering solutions (which just irritates me), he will just listen and let me know he understands why I feel the way I do. He has developed a strategy ahead of time. You can do it too.
Maybe your partner needs to be left alone for a while or distracted with a favorite television show when a mood strikes. As long as you are not giving into or rewarding the moodiness, by all means give them what they need. By doing this, you will always minimize the intensity and duration of the bad mood.
5. Consider Your Options
There are hard times in every relationship. However, if your partner is habitually moody and no amount of patience, empathy or love seems to help them, and your life is suffering because of the mood swings, you may need to ask yourself if you need this person in your life.
After being in a relationship with a consistently moody person for a while, you probably know what life is going to look like. If your partner is emotionally or physically abusive, it may be time to leave. The sooner that decision is made, the better it is for all parties. However, if you choose to stay, choose to love even during mood swings. Try to see and remember the person you fell in love with and recall the reasons that the two of you have made it this far.
All mood swings are temporary. That is why they are called “swings.” Try to remember that even when it feels like it will last forever. The key is to find your happy place while your partner is in a bad mood. You may need to get some distance to do this. Soon the mood will blow over, and life will return to normal. This too shall pass!
A moody person may simply be going through a rough time in his or her life, especially if moodiness is not normal. Your partner may be exhausted, ill, worried, or unhappy. If so, once the root cause is resolved, the moodiness is likely to recede. Your partner may just need to be listened to and supported. However, if your partner is habitually moody and cranky for no apparent reason, there may be more to it.
Remember that while you need to show compassion towards your partner, your feelings matter too. If your partner is a moody bully, you cannot allow yourself to be abused. Use these six tips to determine the best course of action for your unique situation with your partner.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.