My ex always makes me cranky ….
How often have you been thinking of your ex and thought “Arggh they make me so cranky!”
Thoughts, feelings & behaviour. Three intertwined things that impacts all of us.
Picture this with me.
Think of a time when you were really excited. Perhaps it was a catch up with old friends, your kids sports event or musical or a new movie. Remember the excitement, the anticipation and the feeling you had. What it felt like to have that beaming smile, to feel like you were riding cloud nine with joy and pride. How everything seemed perfect – even the little hiccups could not ruin that moment.
Now think of a time that you were dreading. Whether that be at work, at home, at the kids school, with your ex. Think of those thoughts you were having beforehand of how:
- angry they will be;
- horrible it would be;
- nasty or mean someone was (or is);
- they always blame you;
- you can never do anything right;
- they never put you first;
- they never think of your feelings (or the kids).
Now remember how the interaction went down once you did meet – was it bad? Did you get angry, upset or frustrated that they did what you had previously thought they would do? Did it cement your feelings about that person? Then did something else happen that day – perhaps you ran out of coffee, needed to stop and get petrol or something that just caused you a slight inconvenience and you said to yourself – yep that’s my luck.
The truth of the matter is – both outcomes were a direct result of your thoughts. Which is what is happening when your ex makes your cranky.
To be clear, I am not saying that had you been positive about the second event it wouldn’t have happened. What I am saying is that had you stopped buying into your thoughts the way you viewed that event would be different.
You see, what we think affects how we feel and how we feel affects how we behave.
The problem with this when you think about your ex is that at separation most of us are already having bad thoughts about our ex. They are (for some) the worse person in the world – no matter what they do. Stop and think about it – can you think of a time when they did something wrong and you thought to yourself – “Typical. They always do that to annoy/hurt/frustrate me”. It is easy to allow your ex to make your cranky. Can you though remember a time when they made you happy?
Our feelings don’t come from external sources.
We don’t feel angry, hurt or sad because of what they did. Stop and think about this in another context – we aren’t going to be sad if our child doesn’t come first in the race, we will still be happy, encouraging and proud of the effort they put in. We won’t be angry if they come home with a report card full of great effort but mediocre results. But yet we often say that we will be happy when:
- We get more money in the bank;
- We can move on with our life;
- The ex stops hassling us etc.
But that isn’t the case. Those external sources (whatever they may be) are just that. External. If we achieve those goals our thinking might change but it isn’t the goal itself that has created the change it is the thinking we have around it. If instead of waiting to achieve your goals you started to acknowledge everything that you are currently grateful for – your feelings are bound to improve. Sometimes it just takes us to stop and open our eyes to what we already have to realise that things are that bad.
If we think we are having a great day – we will feel like we are and then we will behave accordingly. If however we think we are having a bad day, we will feel that and all of a sudden we are acting that way. Next thing we are starting to pick up on all of the bad things that are surrounding us that day. It does not necessarily mean that the day is any worse than yesterday, but it is us buying into our thoughts that today is bad – that is what is having the most impact.
When you start to feel like your ex is making you cranky start to acknowledge the thoughts you have about it.
It does not have to be a representation of how you feel. You can let them come and go like the wind. You don’t have to buy into them. In fact you can change those thoughts and thereby change how you feel.
I don’t know about you but I would much rather have a happy day focussed on all the good things that are now in my life then a miserable day dwelling on how your ex makes you cranky.
Remember the choice is yours – so make today the very best it can be.
If you would help moving from cranky to happy come and join me in Improving Your Relationships.