The following is the eighth segment in a 13-part series based on the book, Divorce: It’s All About Control — How to Win the Emotional, Psychological and Legal Wars, by renowned family law specialist and managing partner of Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation in Los Angeles, Calif. This continuing series deals with one of the most destructive wars–the Internal Wars—and the Enemies Within, all of which can be just as devastating as the emotional, psychological and legal wars. The Internal Wars deal with “way too much” and “far too little,” — both of which can be vicious enemies. As I mentioned in the prior four segments which covered alcohol/drugs, over-spending, gambling and overeating, each one of the Internal Wars deals with self-abuse in one way or another. This segment highlights overworking.
Falling victim to the “Mood Du Jour” is yet another issue. While this may seem an odd inclusion on our list of “Way Too Much” War skirmishes, it is not. This category covers a lot of ground! For instance, when moods are swinging, those affected by such changes can react and overreact in erratic ways and wind up constantly fighting nonproductive battles that are all within the realm of the Enemy Within. Too many mood swings could become quite a problem and grounds for a “Way Too Much” War. The “over the top” moods I am referring to manifest themselves in weird and often destructive ways. For example, driving too fast is usually a symptom of too much anger or frustration. Crying too much could lead to too much isolation. Fantasizing too much in a state of bitterness may distract you from the tasks at hand and lead you to conjuring up ways to get back at your ex. Sounding off due to profound desperation could culminate in blurting out what you wished you had not said. Yes, all these are just a few samples of other Little Enemies that can grow to be big ones. And here are a few life circumstances that fuel the “Mood Du Jour” Enemy Within—egg that Enemy on—that may or may not apply to you: Menopause, Midlife Crisis, Unexpected/Unwanted Pregnancy, Postpartum Blues, Realization of One’s Own Mortality, Physical Handicaps. Can you think of other conditions that affect mood? Those who undergo constant mood fluctuations find themselves in behaviors they can come to regret. Do you snap at those you love? Do you spout off at the wrong person and do you do so at the wrong time? Check your moods. You may find that your Enemy Within is your inability to manage your feelings appropriately. Extreme and frequent mood swings can be the formidable opponent in a “Way Too Much” War.
As we have done with the other categories in prior segments in this series, I have made a list of reasons why you may want to get your mood swings in check so they do not entice you onto the battlefield:
- I do not want my ex to think he or she has gotten the best of me by seeing how upset and off balance I have become emotionally.
- I do not want to regret lashing out at the people I love and care about.
- People may not want to be around me because they never know what to expect in terms of my disposition.
- I may just hurt myself physically (get into an automobile accident, drive my fist through a wall, for instance).
- People will begin to pity me and that will rob me of my dignity.
- I do not want my ex or anyone else to think this life crisis has rendered me Out of Control!
- I may be creating a pattern of behavior that will stick with me.
- Overreacting is one sure way to turn off a potential new love interest.
- Not getting a grip on my moods may cause me to engage in some type of rash behavior characterized in some of the other “Way Too Much” Wars like gambling, over-eating, etc.
- Nothing screams in neon more brightly that I am Out of Control than to wear my heart on my sleeve.
Once again, these are a handful of reasons why you may want to keep those moods in check. Feel free to make a very personal list of your own. Yes, now is the time to do so.
Stacy D. Phillips is a co-founder of Blank Rome LLP, which specializes in high-profile family law matters. She is a Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.