Are you ever moody? Overly emotional? Crazy!!? Or how about hysterical? The word hysterical comes from the Greek word hysterika, their word for uterus. Yeah, it was thought the uterus was the cause for women’s excessive emotions and erratic behavior. Thanks, Greeks! I guess it’s been common knowledge for a while that women can get, you know, a bit untethered.
For me, the hormonal changes in my 40s combined with some anxiety has made me way more unglued than I’m used to. I’ve always been a rational person and prefer to look at things logically. Except now I’m having these moments where I don’t feel rational at all and none of my feelings make sense and where are all these tears coming from?? (But please don’t call me hysterical.)
Unfortunately, the nature of my moods can put stress on our marriage and puts Joe in a no-win situation. I’m sure we’re not alone in this. That at the end Joe feels like, I don’t even know what you want me to say because somehow everything I say is wrong.
So in one on my less unglued moments, I thought about what is it I need him to say? What are my fears and insecurities? What am I actually feeling? What are my triggers? What is driving this?
Maybe my husband could use a cheat sheet to help me in those untethered moments. Even though my husband loves me, it doesn’t mean he always understands me or knows exactly what I need. Ha! I don’t think I always know what I need- so I need to let God search my heart and show me what’s going on with me first before I blame my husband. When I acknowledge my own dependence on Jesus first it helps me to give my husband a lot more grace . And helps me give him a little help instead of expecting him to read my mind.
To my husband, when I’m emotionally untethered:
Don’t minimize my feelings.
(Hint, Don’t say: I don’t know why you’re feeling this way. It’s not a big deal.)
This has been a big one for me. I really need Joe to validate my feelings and know that they are real for me. They are there, and they are what they are. Please don’t minimize my feelings and act like they don’t matter.
Don’t maximize my feelings.
(Hint, don’t say: Well if you’re feeling this way we definitely have a big problem.)
I also need him to not act as if my temporary emotions are king and are going to dictate my life. I need him to tell me that I will not always feel this way. That *this negative feeling* is not bigger than God and not outside the scope of His power!
We can acknowledge those feelings but we don’t have to be scared of them. That’s the problem with anxiety. I have a negative feeling then I get anxious about my negative feelings then I get anxious about being anxious.
Just because I’m panicking doesn’t mean I want him to panic. When I’m untethered, I need him to be tethered.
Tell me it’s okay if I’m failing.
(Hint, don’t say: You are falling apart. Why can’t you get this right?)
The pressure we put on ourselves women can be overwhelming and very unrealistic. I can fall into spells of overwhelm where I’m sure that I’m dropping way more plates than I’m spinning. I love knowing that it’s okay if I don’t have straight A’s. Remind me not to expect perfection in every area of my life. And that I truly am learning from whatever areas I fail in!
There is therefore now, now no comdemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And that doesn’t mean I don’t have to acknowledge my own sin and confess. But I don’t need to listen to the voice of the accuser who simply wants to remind me where I’ve failed in order to keep me discouraged. Focused on myself. Because of what Christ has done, my failures don’t define me.
Remind me of what is good in my life and where I am growing.
(Hint, don’t say, you have no reason to be sad when you’re so blessed.)
Tell me that you see me loving well and working hard. Tell me about the areas that I’m excelling. That’s probably why you’re drained. Sometimes I’m so close to it that I can’t see the big picture. I see your small wins and how you are growing.
In my head, I know those things. I’m aware of my many many blessings even when I’m sad. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t nice to hear. When I’m sure that everything is a mess.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phillipians 4:8
Help take the pressure off.
(Hint, don’t say, when are you going to be over this?)
When I feel overwhelmed, there’s this pressure to figure it all out. Right now. What’s comforting to hear is: This won’t always bother you. You are a work in progress and that’s okay. We don’t have to figure this all out today.
Phillipians 1: 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Offer to help, not fix.
(Hint: don’t start a sentence with, “You should”. Just don’t.)
I love it when Joe is able to help me talk through whatever it is that’s bothering me. Just listen well and help me process. If I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, saying it out loud, making a list and saying, yeah, this right here is what feels the most un-doable. This is the pain point. Where I feel the most inadequate. Then we pick one area to work on and say let’s not worry about the rest. Take one step at a time.
Great questions to ask: What is the one thing that you wish you could take off your plate right now. What is the one area that I can help you with? What is that one thing that is really pulling you down? How can I best support you?
Being able to articulate the answers to these questions help me to de-maximize the issues and see more clearly rather than everything looking foggy and confusing and overwhelming.
Pray for me.
I love it when Joe shows his love for me by praying for me. Sometimes it’s out loud, when we are together, and other times I know he is praying on his own throughout the day. This takes the pressure off of us-to figure it all out and say all the right things and points us toward Jesus, who knows us better than we know ourselves.
There’s something about feeling untethered that makes me rely less on myself and more on my Savior. He can handle all of my emotions. They don’t scare Him. Open up the Psalms to see David expressing a whole lot of emotion. I love to pray and journal about what I am feeling and offer that up to the Lord. In our weakness, He is strong!
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Phillipians 4:6-7
Do you struggle with overwhelm or anxiety? What is it you most need to hear in those moments?
If your anxiety or emotions feel out of control, talk to a trusted friend or professional to find out if there’s something more going on. Having a support system and godly counsel is essential to our emotional and spiritual health.