Held Captive By Moodiness (Misery’s Company)
All of us know that one person who is moody and we can’t stand it! Whether male or female, a moody person can ruin a perfectly wonderful day in a matter of minutes. The terms “moody” or “moodiness” are euphemisms for a behavior that is truly insidious and damaging…manipulation. Ironically, I actually know people who take pride in being moody and use it in their email address, descriptions of themselves and as a badge of honor! Seemingly as a forewarning to people that “I am going to treat you rudely, and often.” The question is not what’s wrong with them, but what’s wrong with those of us who allow them to hold us hostage without physical devices like chains, handcuffs or lethal weapons. Instead, we allow them to use mental and emotional devices like intense mood swings to hold us hostage and to control us, the situation and the entire room.
A moody person is someone who experiences wild shifts in emotions, often from happy to sad or nice to mean, very quickly or without reason. They are subject to periods of depression; sulky and temperamental behaviors. These feelings and behaviors can also be associated with manic-depressive disorders like Bipolar Disorder. Moodiness, unless a symptom associated with a more serious diagnosis from a doctor, is a device of manipulation. For the sake of this post we are dealing with friends or family members who manipulate with moodiness, and have not been diagnosed by a mental health professional. (If you or your loved-one experiences mood swings and emotions that are more extreme, debilitating and/or destructive, I urge you to seek the help of a Christian mental health professional immediately).
For the people dealing with a moody person, it can be a very painful existence. To not know how you will be embraced from day to day or hour to hour is murderous. We are all familiar with the adage “Misery loves company.” More than a cliché, it is the absolute truth in the case of a moody person! Most moody people like for others to stay with them through their mood swings and suffer. It seems to please them to know that they’re holding another person in mental and emotional captivity. The moody secretly enjoy the fact that their victims are tortured, wondering when they will be in their good graces again. They get a dark pleasure seeing their victim squirm, waiting for their sun rise again. There is nothing worse than to witness a perfectly wonderful good natured person going through hell trying to figure out their emotional kidnapper’s strange need to punish them. And often times, it seems like the punishment is for simply loving or at least caring about this person. Yes, it is twisted and maniacal.
This use of manipulation can start even in childhood. Children can figure out very early and quickly when they are the popular one in a group. All of the other children want to play with them, or sit at the lunch table with them. Or they get used to getting a lot of attention for their looks, the way they dress, or because of their athletic talent. Being sought after at such a young age, if not balanced by parents, can mature into the ability and willingness to manipulate the situation to their own benefit and to do what’s necessary to keep the adulation and attention focused on them. This manipulation will later take on the form of moodiness. And if not properly addressed in childhood, moodiness will become part of their personality.
These are some examples of behaviors and devices often used by moody manipulators:
- Silent treatment
- Ignoring someone who is eagerly awaiting their presence
- Not speaking to some while being overly nice to others
- Inviting one set of people to an event while purposely not inviting others
- Entering a room and not speaking to anyone
- Purposely being late
- Enjoys making others wait on them
- Keeping others from attending an event on time by delaying their departure with petty issues
- Staying in bed or in a room away from the group when you know others are waiting on you
- With the group but extremely quiet
- With the group and only answering their questions but refuse to leave because they enjoy being the black cloud in the room
- Just a dark presence spewing negativity
- Cutting and biting remarks usually directed at the one person who could upstage them for most popular
- Self-absorbed and saps the strength of others
If you realize that you have been a victim of a sick game that resulted in you being emotionally kidnapped by a moody manipulator close to you, don’t become angry. That would yet again allow them to be successful at dictating your emotions. Instead, I am now going to show you how to obtain your release, and stop paying the ransom. The ransom has been the slow, painful drain of your precious time, energy, emotions and youth under the spell of this manipulator. As you release yourself from the chains of moodiness, your capturer will, no doubt, pull out the full arsenal of manipulative emotions. The order of mood swings will typically be:
- First, aloofness and indifference. They will act as if they don’t care that you have decided to emotionally move on.
- Then, anger and blame. They will pick a fight and yell at you, blaming you and everything under the sun for their issues.
- Next, sadness and remorse. At this point, they are starting to realize that the first two tactics didn’t work, so perhaps sympathy will. And then finally, they will pull out the big guns. At this point, they’ve realized you have endured the full-on emotional assault and are still deciding to set yourself free…so enters the Pity Party.
- The Pity Party. They transition into full victim mode as if you don’t love them and no one loves them or has ever loved them.
But don’t be fooled, keep running! This is their attempt to pull you back into an unhealthy cycle. And besides, moody people should find themselves alone. Why?
Proverbs 15:13 says, by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken and Proverbs 17:22 states that a broken spirit drieth the bones. These two scripture alone indicate that we are not to purposely subject ourselves to anything that will bring us grief. It will surely break our spirits. In life we all encounter situations that bring us grief and we deal with those accordingly but we should never volunteer to be held captive by moodiness. The instability of it is not healthy for anyone and it is certainly not something that God created in us. James 1:6-8 reminds us that He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
So now that you are ready to break free I suggest you do the following:
- If you must invite the moody to events, plan for them not to attend. They will hate knowing that the party will go on without them.
- Do not assign the moody anything to do in an event, they will try to sabotage in order to get the attention they feel due them.
- Never stop laughing, joking, teasing etc. when in their presence.
- Make light of their nastiness when they spew mean remarks. Make sure you don’t allow them to bother you.
- Encourage them to leave if they complain or if they resort to illness, don’t allow them to stop the fun.
- If you need to change rooms to have fun, LEAVE. Leave them alone to sulk and carry on with your fun.
- Forbid people from constantly checking on them or asking them if they are feeling better. Attention is what they shouldn’t get. It only reinforces their behavior.
- Quickly leave their presence if they are in the sullen state.
- Find someone else to laugh and talk with and ignore the silent treatment. The silent treatment won’t work if no one knows you are silent.
- Leave them behind if they are purposely late, have boundaries and limits that disrespect no one.
- If they enter a room and don’t speak, ignore, ignore, ignore. Continue to enjoy the people who did speak.
- If you ask them questions and they respond sharply, ask someone else and never acknowledge that they made an attempt to answer you.
- Stop giving them an outline of all of your plans. Only friends that want to be involved should have that information.
- Learn to be free by being your own person with many friends that you enjoy. Isolation is a tool many moody people use against their victims.
- Learn to happily walk away from all situations that give the moody person any control and don’t let them see you sad about leaving.
- Remember that “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but spirits and principalities… (Eph 6:12). So pray for them, that they will be released from that manipulative spirit.
Making the choice and learning to be free is the first thing that a captive person must do. Otherwise, a person held in captivity learns how to survive in that state. Stockholm Syndrome is real and can apply in the case of a person held mentally captive by a manipulator. You can become sympathetic to your captor and start to identify with his or her purpose. You’ll know you that you may be a victim of this if people constantly comment on how much your demeanor has changed. Also, you may become negative and defensive if your trusted family and friends try to address you in love, regarding the situation. If you have any chance of escape, it is critical that you do some serious self-reflection to identify whether or not you’ve been emotionally and mentally kidnapped.
At this point, you must begin the process of renewing of your mind so that you are truly free. The moody person must see that they no longer have control over you. That you can enjoy life with or without them in it. If your moody capturer is a friend, I would seriously suggest wishing them well and moving on. There are too many people in the world to be held captive by someone so controlling and damaging. However, when these people are in our families we are required to deal with them. Nevertheless, we must remember to enforce the same limitations with them as we would with anyone. Never let anyone pull you down!
If you are married to the moody person, you must continue to use the above pointers until your mate has received the spiritual help they will need to rid themselves of the manipulative behaviors. Or you may find that this is how you will enjoy your life in spite of being married to someone moody. You may have to be determined to have a life in spite of, and he or she can jump in when the mood hits them. In the meantime, seek a good Christian marriage counselor that can give both of you the tools needed to deal with this issue. And again, as always, keep the channel of communication open between you and The Father. Prayer is going to be critical as you face this battle and overcome a moody manipulator.
With Prayers & Love,
First Lady Lynda