THE MOM’S SPACE: Anger
Stepping outside the “Me Bubble”
We all lose it. The constant pressures and unrealistic expectations mothers experience make us feel overwhelmed and maxed out. When it becomes too much, we lose it. The gentle, therapeutic term for this is dysregulation. Our toddlers do it when they throw tantrums. Our teens do it when they’re hungry, scared, exhausted, stressed, and hormonal. Sound familiar? We all do it. The good news is there’s a way to prevent the frequency and intensity.
Imagine you’re standing in the middle of a giant bubble. I call it the “Me Bubble.” When expectations and stressors increase, the pressure inside our Me Bubble builds. Our life feels unmanageable. Inside our bubble we become anxious, frantic, and out of control. Our self-talk tells us we are failing, disappointing everyone, and there’s no way out. We start to see people and situations through a fear-tainted lens. In an effort to make ourselves feel better, we blame and resent others. Eventually, it all becomes too much and our Me Bubble bursts (tantrum, dysregulation). We feel immediate relief. Until we don’t.
While the burst feels like a welcome release, it only lasts a few moments. Then the shame, guilt, and regret consume us. Our negative self-talk becomes louder. We withdraw or spiral. The pressure and expectations to do “better” increase, and suddenly, our Me Bubble fills back up…only to burst again. Stopping this vicious cycle starts with frequent self check-ins.
- What are the current pressures I feel right now?
- What is making me feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed?
- How might I have contributed to the way I feel?
- Do I have realistic expectations?
The answers to these questions give vital information that allows us to be honest with ourselves so we can implement the next steps.
What To Do Next:
- What boundaries do I need to set?
- How can I set more realistic expectations for myself and others?
- Where I can I find the support that I want and need?
Ideally, these questions give us valuable insight into how we not only prevent unnecessary stress and pressure in the future, but also how to step outside of the bubble before it bursts.
How To Step Out of The Bubble:
- Embrace self
- Seek truth
- Find trust
The first step, embracing self, is a way of acknowledging and accepting. Think about wrapping your arms around yourself, like the mother you always wanted and needed might do. With unconditional acceptance, she would probably validate your feelings and lovingly speak truth. It might sound like this: “It makes sense you’re feeling overwhelmed. You’ve taken on a lot and are trying to hold it all together. It’s OK to feel angry, defeated, and sad.” Then she might ask, “What do you need to do to make it better?” And finally, she might say, “You can trust yourself. You know what to do.” Imagine saying this to yourself. The Bubble probably wouldn’t inflate.
If it’s too late and the bubble has already burst, mending is crucial to prevent the bubble from refilling. Our loved ones deserve it. So do we.
How To Mend
- Use empathy
- Be vulnerable – tell them what’s happening for you
- Apologize – hold yourself accountable for behaviors
Mending allows us and our loved ones to feel seen, heard, and to heal. When we mend, do frequent check-ins, acknowledge what we need to change, and step outside of our Me Bubble, our life feels more manageable. We feel empowered, content, and joyful. We act with patience, acceptance, and kindness. And the best part, our Me Bubble feels safe, calm, and…regulated.
MOLLIE GEE is a licensed clinical mental health counselor, mother of two, and owner of The Nest Counseling. Follow her on Instagram @thechubbydebutante.