To vent or not to vent...
Ranting. Its good to offload, right? Phyllis Diller once said ‘My recipe for dealing with anger and frustration: set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes, cry, rant, and rave, and at the sound of the bell, simmer down and go about business as usual’. Like grief, sometimes we need an outpouring of emotion. We don’t want or seek counsel but just want a space to rant and someone to listen (and agree, sometimes silently, sometimes not).
Time magazine, wrote in an article about suppressing emotions that ‘basic biology and anatomy explain that we cannot stop our emotions from being triggered, as they originate from the middle section of our brain that is not under conscious control’. We feel as we feel and there’s little we can do to change that. No one is professing that inferring ranting as yelling is a healthy way to go but there’s something to be said for getting your thoughts out instead of letting them manifest internally.
Our session this month was a safe space in order to vent. We discussed personal relationships, work restrictions, change in lifestyles, ‘gender roles’, self-care - all of which had been met with frustration in some form or other. We swapped ideas on how to combat them and solutions that had worked for others but mostly it was just a chance to chat and let off some steam.
In an article written by Psychology Today, author Leon Seltzer, he details the pros and cons of venting and perhaps advice for when and how to do it, for it to be most helpul and less hurtful. Amongst a variety of points he says ‘When your emotions have catapulted to the ceiling because you’ve let something get to you, your higher neo-cortical functioning goes offline. And with that impairment, your mental faculties can become addled—discombobulated. But if you have a trusted confidant(e) to assist you in regaining control of these rattled feelings, you’ll be able to think more logically’. However, it should be noted that your audience must be appropriate in order for it to remain cathartic, ‘Choosing to ventilate directly to the person who upset you (typically, not a very prudent move) can actually increase your level of distress. Depending on their response—and you can generally assume that such individuals are either insensitive to your feelings or, frankly, don’t much care about them—you’re likely to feel even worse than you did earlier’.
As mothers, it is often those closest to us who are the recipients of our thoughts (both good and bad) but as our last session demonstrated and studies have supported, it is perhaps most valuable to seek those a little further from our inner circle. The cashier at Tesco might not be the appropriate audience for this but it’s more than likely that another mum friend can be your ear. They say ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’, maybe there’s something in that?