Moodiness is natural. We all have times where we get irritated, angry, or 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. Some people have more frequent and more volatile mood swings. If your partner is one of those people, you may find yourself walking on eggshells.
We may have an underlying problem such as depression or anxiety. Have you ever escalated your someone's bad mood by your reaction to it? If you act out emotionally at another's mood swing, you will likely make a bad situation worse. For example, have you ever become angry because someone was 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 another's mood, but you can influence it. 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 someone else's mood swing. You cannot control someone else's behavior. Focus on controlling your own and remain calm. Don’t take it personally. 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. Chances are, your partner is looking for an emotional reaction from you. If you separate yourself from the mood your partner is experiencing, you suck the life out of any negative behavior surrounding it. People are not likely to change if they are being “rewarded” for bad behavior. 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 Sam gets angry at someone, she wants her husband’s understanding but not his help. He has learned this over time, so instead of offering solutions (which just irritates Sam), he will just listen and let her know he understands why she feels the way she does. 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 when a mood strikes. As long as you beware of giving into or rewarding the moodiness, you can minimize the intensity and duration of the bad mood.
All mood swings are temporary. The key is to find YOUR calm and content place even while your partner is in a bad mood. You may need to get some distance to do this. A moody person may simply be going through a rough time in his or her life, especially if moodiness is not normal. They may be exhausted, ill, worried, or unhappy. If so, once the root cause is resolved, the moodiness is likely to recede. They may just need to be listened to and supported. However, if they are habitually moody for no apparent reason, there may be more to it. Remember that while you need to show compassion, your feelings matter too.