Stop Walking on Eggshells

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Welcome to Talk RX with Doctor Neha. A woman from New York wrote me an interesting question. She wants to know “Why is it that my friends at work as well as my family at home, when I’m with them, I feel like I’m walking on egg shells. How do I have so many moody people in my life?”

One thing I want to say is that you choose whom you surround yourself with. Certainly, we don’t often get to choose who our family is, but we choose who our friends are, who we surround ourselves with, where we live and what profession we go into.

The first question to ask yourself is “Which of these relationships have I chosen and what am I getting from them?” You value something in these relationships and there is some good from them. The part that I hear you struggling with is around the moodiness—you aren’t quite sure how to deal with people when you don’t know how they are going to be in a relationship, a conversation or when you run into them.

I’m going to take a leap of faith here and make a guess. I’m going to say that you might be someone who likes harmony and who wants to have your exchanges and your relationships with people be peaceful and easy. Who doesn’t want that? But I would ask you to go a step further and ask yourself if you avoid conflict. Are you someone who wants relationships to always be nice so you turn yourself into a pretzel to make sure that everybody around you is okay? If that’s what you are doing, it’s an exhausting dance.

Clearly, you have some colorful and animated people in your life. They may bring excitement and drama into your life and at the same time have you feeling a little uncomfortable. Ask yourself, what is it that I get from them?

Now the second piece is asking “What is the lesson that they’ve showed up in my life to teach me?”

For me, I’ve noticed that I started to become the one who was moody and that was because I didn’t have the right relationship to my work, to the people at my work. At the time I was a physician partner and I felt like there were rules and belief systems around me that didn’t align with how I wanted to take care of patients. I started to become grumpy and irritable—I started to become that person that you are talking about. What I learned from that situation and those colleagues is that I needed to actually leave that partnership and become a consultant to that very same organization. Now I am consistently happy and excited every time I go there. That was my lesson.

One way you could learn from this is not to focus on the other people’s moodiness, but ask yourself, “Do I try to keep everything in harmony and consistent? Am I turning myself into a pretzel around this people or am I allowing them to be where they are?” Maybe they do have a rise and fall of emotion, maybe that’s part of why you love them. And maybe you need to change your relationship with them. Maybe you don’t need to live with them; maybe you need to live two blocks from them. Or with colleagues, maybe you don’t need to work with them on a certain team; maybe you need to be a consultant instead.

I don’t know exactly what the answer is for you particularly, but if you start to think about these questions, you will come to an answer that’s going to serve not only you, but also your friends or family. Once you start doing this exploration, I’m going to advocate that you actually have a conversation with these people and share with them what you’ve learned about yourself.

If you notice that you have judgments or opinions or beliefs about somebody else’s moods or struggle in relationship with somebody, make sure you ask yourself these questions and get to the root of what’s happening and then have an honest conversation with them.

Send me your questions—drop me a tweet at #askdoctorneha or write your question and comments down below.

Your Awareness Prescription for Moody People

  1. What do I get from the people in my life?
  2. What is the lesson these people are in my life to teach me?
  3. Can I accept where others are on their journey and manage myself rather than trying to change them?

To riding the emotional waves,

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  • Liz Frank

    hoping to listen to video….asked to sign in. is it here?

  • drnehasangwan

    Thanks Liz – hope you are able to access the video. Seems to be working now.

  • jacquelynbodeutsch

    Hi Dr Neha! I love your videos! Thank you. I have a question. Long story short I am having trouble with my parents. I try and be honest and have the conversations you talk about in your videos, but they are not on the same page at all. Very dysfunctional and controlling. I feel like I am the one being mean when I make boundaries because they are so upset by it. I do not like being around them though, and honestly think it is not good for me to be. How are we supposed to handle irrational people especially when they happy to be your parents?! Thank you!

  • drnehasangwan

    Such a great question Jacquelyn. Thanks for your courage to learn how to communicate effectively & for trying to change the conversation in what can be some of the most challenging dynamics in life…family!! So Congratulations❤️
    The short answer is that in family, these dynamics have been going on for a long time. Often times we’ve taught people how to treat us over decades. So when you learn & grow & change, they don’t understand what’s happening / can resist. Drawing boundaries will be in my next book, so stay tuned! Right now, know that you are learning to listen to the sound of your own heart slightly louder than you can hear the voices of others. And, as you speak up and let your heart have a voice, it can cause some waves in your family. The most important piece of honest conversations, is that they are also compassionate. Also, you might want to have a friend listen to you for honest feedback ( a dry run). When you really love someone….it can be scary to change how you show up, especially if they don’t approve. I assure you, as long as you like you & you are honest & compassionate and stay in Level 4 & 5 listening ( Ch 10 of TalkRx) you are on the right track!!!

    It’s normal to feel the initial discomfort of rocking the family dynamics wave. This is why most people don’t do it. Use your soft belly breathing and re-read Ch 12 – Family of Emotions – because, yes, you can feel many at once…empowered, upset, relieved and confused…as you begin learning how to say what is in your heart.

    Another quick tip is to pay attention to your tone!!! When a conversation is important, people’s tones change and sometimes it’s not what you say, but rather HOW you say it that triggers a reaction. Since this is such a hot button topic, I will film an entire blog on this. Hope that gave you a few tips to get started!