Advertising

Published on August 14, 2020

How to Deal With an Emotionally Unstable Partner

How to Deal With an Emotionally Unstable Partner
Advertising

When you fall in love, you think that your partner – and your relationship – is perfect, right? The idea that one of you could be emotionally unstable is the farthest thing from your mind. After all, being in love causes your brain to release all sorts of feel-good chemicals that make you feel like you’re on Cloud 9. In fact, when scanned, a person’s brain who is in love looks a lot like a person’s brain who is on cocaine. So, you really are feeling “high” when you’re in love!

However, as most of us know, that feeling of being in Heaven with your new love wears off after a while. Your brain eventually stops creating as many feel-good chemicals, and you slowly start returning back to normal.

In reality, this phase of love doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s just a fact of life.

While some people do go on to live happily ever after, others begin to realize that their supposedly “perfect partner” is not so perfect anymore. In fact, some even come to the realization that their partner is downright emotionally unstable.

Uh-oh. What do you do when that happens? It’s almost unbelievable – literally. How did this person turn into someone you hardly even recognize?

The problem is that you probably still love the person. And if that’s true, how do you deal with your emotionally unstable partner?

Advertising

Before we discuss how to deal with them, let’s first start by talking about how to recognize the symptoms of an emotionally unstable individual.

Symptoms of Being Emotionally Unstable

All of us have our bad days and our mood swings – it’s just the nature of being human. But how do you know when someone has crossed over the line from having just normal, everyday emotions to being downright emotionally unstable? Here are some of the signs.

Angry Outbursts

Everyone gets angry at times. It’s a normal and natural occurrence for every human being. However, how you express your anger is key to healthy relationships. So, if your partner seems to have outbursts of anger for no apparent reason (or over small things), then that is a sign.

Overly Dramatic

Again, we all have things happen in our lives that we don’t like. But a lot of people just deal with it, try to change things, and move on with their lives. An unstable person, however, will turn their life into unending drama when they don’t need to.

Gaslighting

Gaslighting[1] is psychologically manipulating another person into questioning their own sanity. For example, if they told you they would do something, they will deny ever saying it when you bring it up. Then, you wonder if they really said it or if you just imagined it. But that is just one example.

Mood Swings

It’s normal for people’s moods to change. No one can be happy 100% of the time, right? But for most, the change in mood is relatively minor. It’s usually dependent on something outside of themselves. But an unstable person could have extreme mood swings for no good reason.

Advertising

Inappropriate Anger

When most people get angry, it’s usually at someone who is close to them. That makes sense, because those are the people with whom we spend the most time. But if your partner frequently yells at a server in a restaurant or other random people, then that is not healthy.

Lack of Empathy

Empathy is the ability to feel what another person feels and to see things from their perspective – not just your own. Emotionally unstable people are generally unable to do this. They only see their own side of a situation.

Tries to “One up” You

They always seem to be in a power struggle with you. For example, if you had a bad day, they will tell you how theirs was worse. Or, if you are having an argument, they will always try to gain the power to “win” and make you lose.

Inability to Admit When They Are Wrong

Emotionally unstable people can’t admit when they are wrong. In fact, admitting they are wrong is a threat to their psychological well-being. It shakes the core of themselves and their self-identity. So, they will never admit “defeat,” even if they secretly know they are wrong.

Sense of Entitlement

They think they deserve everything, and nothing needs to be earned. For example, they demand that you do things for them because they think it’s their right to do so.

Dealing With Problems Irrationally

The best way to deal with problems in relationships is to have both people on the same team, and for them to come up with a mutual solution. However, emotionally unstable people are unable to do this because they only look at things emotionally, not logically.

Advertising

Too Intense

The intensity with which they express their emotions is extreme. They don’t tend to be moderate in any of their interactions. This may generate a feeling of walking on eggshells around them because you are afraid of their intense communication.

Blaming Others

Unstable people don’t ever look in the mirror and take personal responsibility for their actions. Instead, they always point fingers at other people and blame them for everything that is wrong in their lives.

How to Deal With an Emotionally Unstable Partner

Now that we know some of the signs and symptoms of an emotionally unstable person, here are some things you can do to deal with them.

1. Step Back and Observe

Ask yourself if you did anything wrong. Because they tend to gaslight other people (see above), emotionally unstable people have you question your actions and sanity. Be objective, and observe them and yourself. Did you really do anything wrong? Probably not.

2. Get Other People’s Perspectives

Tell your stories to trusted loved ones. Tell them what happens in your interactions, and get their opinion about whether or not your partner is overacting, or if you actually did something wrong. Someone on the outside will likely have a clearer view of what’s going on.

3. Don’t Play Into Their Drama

As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” In other words, someone can’t play a game by themselves. They need another person to participate. But don’t give into their drama. Refuse to engage in it and walk away.

Advertising

4. Walk Away When They Attack You

If and when they verbally, mentally, or emotionally attack you, just leave the conversation. Don’t allow them to do that to you! Demand that they talk to you nicely, and don’t accept anything less than that. If they can’t give you respect, then end the conversation until they can.

5. Demand Respect

Remind them that how they are speaking to you is unacceptable. One very important thing to remember is this: you teach people how to treat you. Demand that they treat you with respect[2].

6. Stay Calm

Don’t get sucked into their emotional storms. It’s easy to do because you want to defend yourself, but this just plays into their drama. Try to stay calm and rational because that’s the only way people can talk in a healthy manner.

7. Don’t Fall for Gaslighting

When they try to gaslight you, refuse to accept it. Take notes on things that they tell you and what they do, so you have a record. When they try to deny things to make you look crazy, pull out your record and show them the truth.

8. Suggest Therapy

Many times, an emotionally unstable person cannot get better on their own. Going to a trained therapist or psychologist is something that they should probably do – both on their own, and perhaps as a couple as well.

9. If All Else Fails, End the Relationship

Unfortunately, not all relationships can survive – even under the best of circumstances. If you have tried all you can to fix your relationship and make it healthy with someone who is emotionally unstable, sometimes it’s just time to end the relationship and find someone else that you are more compatible with.

Advertising

Final Thoughts

Being in a relationship with an emotionally unstable person is never easy. You feel like you never know how they are going to act or what they’ll say next. But that’s no way to live. Everyone deserves to be in a happy, healthy relationship. Don’t forget to love yourself enough to put yourself and your happiness first!

More on Dealing With Emotionally Unstable People

Featured photo credit: Kate Kozyrka via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

Is Living Together Before Marriage Good or Bad? How to Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage and Rekindle the Passion 10 Tips on How to Do Something You Don’t Want to Do How to Stop Being Absent Minded and Start to Be More Attentive How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures

Trending in Relationships

1 11 Relationship Goals Happy Couples Have 2 Is Living Together Before Marriage Good or Bad? 3 I Hate My Wife – Why a Husband Would Resent His Spouse 4 The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You 5 The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
Advertising

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

Advertising

  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Advertising

Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

Advertising

However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

Advertising

Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

Advertising

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

Read Next