It has been far too long since I wrote a post! The last two months I have been going through one of those rites of passage for an American – buying my first home. Like most anticipated, positive events in life, it has brought out the worst in me and my husband (well, mostly just me – he’s a bit more calm than I am). For one, I abandoned the blog and my intention to post weekly, but I also have felt a mixture of extreme happiness mixed with extreme irritability which has done a number on how I interact with others (mostly the hubby). Because my books are still mostly packed up, I’m going to paraphrase some thoughts on why this might be happening from several writings on mindfulness and Bowen family systems theory. Some mindfulness practioners have suggested that the emotion of joy is a very vulnerable emotion. If you think about it, being joyful can be a little risky. And on the other hand, Murray Bowen in his writings about family relationships wrote about conflict between people ironically serving as a way to engage with others while simultaneously keeping distance from them. Add feeling joyful/vulnerable together during a positive life event (like buying a house) plus our human need to connect with others around this event, but also maybe maintain some distance (due to our feeling of vulnerability) and you get irritability and tension!
My clients often ask me why they are fighting more with their fiance while planning their wedding or yelling more at their partner after just having a new baby together. It seems a very common experience for “happy” things in life to also bring with them some increased internal anxiety (even when we aren’t aware of feeling anxious) that can result in more conflict in our relationships.
I think practicing awareness of any feelings of vulnerability that I am having around being so happy about our new house will be my goal for this week, so that I can more fully experience the joy of this event.
Have you ever noticed increased tension in your relationships during a life transition that you expected to be happy or positive? What are some ways that you found to cope with this?
Thanks for reading!