Feelings go Up and Down

This seems obvious, that feelings go Up and Down, but you would be surprised at how often people forget this.

The nature of feelings is that they’re sometimes intense. Sometimes you can anticipate them, sometimes not. Occasionally something catches you by surprise. When you can anticipate them, they’re easier to deal with, if you’ve anticipated them accurately, that is. But we as humans are really bad at that! We don’t anticipate how we’re going to feel very accurately at all.

We’re not very accurate predictors of feelings

I’m not going to hunt down a study and prove it to you at this moment. Instead think about the last time you thought you would feel a certain way when you knew some big event was coming up. Let’s take Graduation. We’re coming up on Graduation season. Most people anticipate feeling really, really happy, ecstatic even, giddy, joyful.

But most people will also say afterwards that it was a bit of a let down, or they expected to feel better than they did. That’s because they anticipated feeling a certain way and didn’t anticipate the mix of feelings that they may experience. So chances are they felt really, really happy but also nervous and perhaps a bit sad. Those last two brought down the happiness a bit.

Generally, Feelings go Up and Down.

Yep, so you’ll feel some happiness and then it will go down a bit and you feel more normal/neutral. And then you’ll feel happy again, etc, etc.

But this also applies to negative feelings. So when we’re sad, we’re bad at predicting that we’re going to feel better. We think we’re going to stay sad forever. But generally speaking, that’s rarely the case. We feel sad, then we feel closer to “normal.” Then sad again, then neutral, then maybe even a moment of happiness happens, then more neutral.

We go up and down and a bit around with our feelings. They key here is to talk to yourself about them. So when you’re in that sad state, tell yourself that you will feel happier again sometime soon. Sadness is not going to last forever. Just knowing that and reassuring yourself will help you feel better, less sad. Knowing that it will pass truly helps.

Talking to a counselor or psychologist or psychotherapist also helps. They help you figure things out. They help teach you strategies to deal with and handle sadness and other feelings. They help you notice what helps and what doesn’t.  And they help you talk about the feelings. If you’re in South Florida or Broward County and need a counselor, then feel free to contact me at 954-309-9071 or visit my Florida Psychotherapy website.

Fears about being a Good Parent

Most people with a baby on the way have fears about being a parent. There are those people who either had younger siblings (alot) or are teachers or work with kids all the time who seem to have less of them. But then there are the rest of us.

I see this come up in my Prenatal Yoga Classes allllll the time. Pregnancy is the time when those fears come to the surface and really rear their heads. Here’s the question . . .

“Will I be a good parent?”

Yes, big one –  big, giant question.

Most of us are decent parents most of the time. Most of us are great parents some of the time (think Christmas morning). And most of us are, well . . . not the best parents some of the time.

We get tired and snap at the kids. We get exhausted and just want to sleep. We run late and have to pick up dinner or throw something together. We get lonely and just want to talk to our friends. We get bored and feel like we’re going to die if we have to play that game or read that book even one more time.

So let’s reframe this question. Let’s ask it a different way.

How about “Can I be a good parent some of the time?”

The answer is probably Yes. Now let’s ask, “When I’m feeling less than about 75-80%, can I get some help, ask for support, take a break, take some time to myself to regenerate?” That’s the way you get back to “good” parenting. Not by pushing through it or working until you snap.

Hopefully your answer is Yes, yes, and yes again. In the meantime, give yourself a break. We’re not perfect all of the time. We’re human. Human parents.

Mama Madness

Here’s a quote about motherhood from “The Sunday List of Dreams” by Kris Rasdish. This is an experienced mom who is talking to one about the transformation that happens when you have children.

“First of all, you are scared shitless,” Connie tells Mattie. “Even if you’ve had other babies and can bounce one on your leg while you  write poetry and cook dinner and save the whales. Then, you look at them and see this wonderful pathway into the universe. This transforming tunnel that is like an electric charge that turns you into a raving maniac, a protective lioness, someone who could push over a car, rip off the face of a stranger, kick ass form one end of the world to another, to save your baby. You go mad. Mother mad.”

Yes, that’s Mother Mad! Mama Mad! Mommy Mad! And it does feel like a tunnel. Sometimes it’s immediate on the moment of birth, the tunnel being labor. Sometimes it’s gradual and happens over weeks and months. Sometimes it takes something like a car accident or an old lady at the grocery store reaching in to touch your baby (not!) or a doctor recommending something you know in your gut is not right for your baby. But eventually it kicks in for almost all moms. It’s what bonding truly is.

Most moms have moments where they feel like they could drop the baby off in the woods and never look back. But then their Mama Madness kicks in and the moment passes them by.

I also believe that the opportunity is always there for moms who have never felt Mama Madness. Yes, they’re out there, sometimes feeling like they’re keeping a dirty secret. Those secrets often come out in therapy. Once it’s told though, we have an opportunity to work with it. Not to judge it, but to work with it. To figure out how to get to that Mama Madness feeling. Yes, it can be created, even with a child who is 10 or 20 or 30. It takes work, but it’s work worth doing, and it’s possible.

Separation bad for the Mama, bad for the Baby!

Occasionally in my private practice in Hollywood I’m called on to write an immigration report. You can imagine that there are plenty of immigration reports  in South Florida. We’re a highly populated port city.

I’m not writing to take a political stance about immigration. I am here though to write a bit about Mom and Baby/Child separation. Assuming there is no abuse, it’s very clear that Moms should not be separated from their children on a permanent basis. I’m not talking about vacations here or even an extended trip that has to be taken for various circumstances. Even then, babies sometimes go into infant depression and children feel effects of a separation as well.

A permanent separation can deeply and traumatically affect a child. It can affect them into their adolescence and adulthood with higher rates of anxiety and depression as well as substance abuse if their mom is lost to them.

Politically, it’s a conundrum – A mom comes here illegally then has children here that are legal but can’t necessarily take them back to her home country if she’s deported.

From an attachment perspective, it’s a no-brainer. They shouldn’t be separated, period. A child, if at all possible, shouldn’t grow up without their mom.

Positive and Negative Spirals

Our partners in life are one of the biggest influences on our growth, development as a person, and happiness (parents are the other big one). If you’re having trouble, you and your relationship are worth improving!

People tend to underestimate how much of an influence your love partner has on your life. Stop for a minute. This is the person you see every day, who you usually live with, who you talk to about everything (hopefully).

They can help you grow as a person and support your dreams and hopes in life.

They can also influence you in ways you’re not even aware of. Research studies have shown that couples’ rate of breathing, heart rates, and walking paces synchronize when they’re together. Their communication styles also synchronize and they become very efficient at communication. Someone who can do all of this to your body also has an influence on your emotions and mind.

One study showed that negative interactions between couples also synchronize, which means that the “negative spiral” is a real effect! It’s not just in our imaginations that we hit a rough spot. It really does happen. It also means though that you can enter a “positive spiral” and hit a really good spot.

Positive spirals build on each other and help protect the couple when they hit a rougher patch. If you haven’t had a positive spiral in a while, talk to your marriage partner to see if you can shift it together. Do some things you enjoy together to help shift you into a positive spiral.

Reactions to the eBook

Since launching my free eBook, some reactions from readers have come in. In sum, they like it! Several people have emailed me to say how much they enjoyed it and that the tips are relevant and practical.

As an author, that’s great to hear. Usually you write, pass it by several people to edit (that you trust to be brutally honest), then edit it again yourself. But you don’t really know how it’s going to strike people until you put it out there.

If you haven’t read it . . . here are Warning Signs of a Marriage in Trouble:

• Ridicule
• Eye Rolling
• Name calling
• Hurtful comments
• Sarcasm that is hurtful
• No sex or happens infrequently
• No or very little attraction
• None or very little affection
• Either partner avoiding phone calls or emails
• Refusing to discuss things in the relationship
• Not wanting to talk to you, cutting conversations off
• Defensiveness – not being able to talk about most things
without one or both of you becoming defensive about it
• Constantly working, to the point where you never talk or
spend time together
• Criticism – being truly critical of your partner. Criticism is
sometimes disguised as helpfulness or “honesty.” It feels
good when your partner is truly trying to help you.
Criticism makes you feel defeated, like something is wrong
with you.

The eBook goes into what to do about those if they’re going on in your marriage. It’s Free, so Download a Copy if you want to improve your marriage.

Lifetime TV Interview airs tomorrow!


The interview for Lifetime Television airs tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. on “The Balancing Act.” Like always, they’ll let the viewers know about my website and that there are more tips available to them. If you would like to get a preview of “Your Marriage CAN Change Overnight: Ten Tips for Couples in the New Millennium, just go to the website for a Free copy.

I recommended downloading the eBook over just reading the Ten Tips on the website. The eBook goes more into the tips and also includes “Warning Signs of a Marriage in Trouble.”

Most couples intuitively know when their marriage is in trouble. It’s hard for them to seek help though.

Couples therapy or workshops can be like car maintenance. Go get your oil changes or new tires. Therapy is much more difficult if your car is pulled over to the side of the road and is on fire. Even then, plenty of couples are able to turn it around and improve their marriages.

Almost by definition, a couples therapist is going to have hope for your marriage – that it can improve, change, that both of you can be happy and grow, that you can make your way through this rough spot and onto safer ground. This is my hope for any marriage in trouble.



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.