Rising Tensions m14.jpg

When your family is cycling through the f-wave and you're traversing the e-wave, minor irritations can erupt into significant conflicts. When I was out of work, it felt like I had boarded an out of control emotional roller coaster where the highs were much higher and the lows much lower.

Tension can reveal itself in many ways. Any unresolved aspects of your relationships with your spouse, children, and other relatives will rise to the surface.

  • Small nuisances, like failing to take out the trash or leaving the dishes in the sink, can become trigger points for disagreements.
  • Big battles over minor things, may also produce bouts moodiness.
  • Feelings of jealousy may arise as your spouse goes off to work every day and leaves you behind to wallow in your misery.
  • Kids, can unintentionally hurt you by demanding sneakers you can't afford or throwing broken promises (such as canceled ski trips) into your face. But all the tension in your household doesn't originate with others; some of it begins with you.
Because your livelihood has been unceremoniously snatched away, you're susceptible to a condition that PIT members have dubbed the "crazies" in which you may:
  • Exhibit erratic behavior
  • Unpredictable emotional surges
  • Impulsive, inexplicable choices (for example, a PIT member who'd been bemoaning his lack of money suddenly stunned his spouse by buying a brand-new fire engine red, luxury convertible that the family didn't want or need).
Sometimes you may begin to feel a bit like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, because (at times) wild mood swings become common.. The crazies come and go according to which e-wave stage you're confronting, and sometimes family members may not be quite sure what mood to expect from you from one minute to the next. I told my family that I felt like a "cat on a hot tin roof," or like the rhesus monkey experiment where they continually shocked the monkey until ulcers formed.

Here's what you can do to stem the negative effects of rising tension and "crazies" in your household:

  • Make sure everyone understands that employment is a temporary condition and not a disease. Emphasize that the tension and the crazies, too, will pass.
  • Recognize and intervene when your family members try to turn each other into scapegoats. Sometimes the solution is as simple as leaving the room when hostility surfaces.
  • Immediately increase your level of daily exercise. You'll feel better both physically and emotionally. In addition, an exercise break can create needed personal space and cool down time.
  • Find productive, victim-free ways to let off steam.

┬ęCopyright 2008 Professionals In Transition Support Group, Inc.

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