Getting Nowhere with Sadness

Yesterday, my oldest was quite grouchy. She was snappy and short and fierce. I couldn’t figure out why. I got no guidance on it. Toward the end of the day, I was losing patience. “What’s going on?” I asked her. “Why are you having such a hard time today?”

She complained about her sisters being mean to her and other mis-haps that left her distraught, but we didn’t really get to the root of what was going on.

PROBLEM: My daughter was snappy and fierce.

Finally, at bedtime, I sat at the edge of her bed and talked with her. I suggested she take some big breaths and ask herself, “Why am I feeling so sad?” (I asked about sadness rather than anger because her anger is usually a cover for feeling vulnerable in sadness.) She took some small breaths, but was really fidgety. I asked her to try to calm her body and take more deep breaths, but she refused to try.

At that moment, I began to get a little impatient. I pondered whether I should persist, and I felt it was time to be done. I did not feel the prompt to continue helping her, I did not see her willingness to try, and I did not want to push her (or myself) into a fight. So I left her on her own, to navigate it herself.

SOLUTION: Well, honestly, this one wasn’t solved. I just had to let it go and let her try on her own.

Not every moment of emotion is dealt with perfectly. Not every time are we willing to stop and ask ourselves what it is the emotion is trying to tell us. And maybe that’s okay.

Leave a Reply