The Rational Basis® of Happiness Podcast

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I always get teary about things.

(this is raw unedited text, computer transcribed directly from the audio)

Kathleen, welcome to the show.
Thank you. Yeah, I'm doing well.
Tell me what's your situation?

I have trouble with my emotions. I've learned everything makes me cry. Okay, good and bad. I take innocuous comments as criticism. For instance, I was watching your show one day and laughing and my husband said, Oh, that's funny? And I took that as a threat. Like he was, like he didn't, I don't know, I just went off the handle and couldn't control myself.

Yeah, what specifically did you say to him?

Something about having to watch the stupid stuff he watches that I'm not interested in. I don't even remember. But I remember like, standing outside of myself and thinking. All he did is ask if it was funny, you know?

Yeah. But you took it as if he asked you what? He was questioning your judgment.

Maybe, maybe that's what it is. I don't know. But it's everything. If I'm, if I have a suggestion given to me at work, I take it as a personal attack. You know, if my daughter says, Mom, I wish you would do this, I take that as an attack. Like, I'm not being a good enough mom or whatever.

So. So partly, you're very critical of yourself. Yeah.
Tell me something that you do very, very, very well, Kathleen, that nobody could criticize you on whether you bake brownies or something that you're very proud of?

Geez, I don't know. I crochet. I'm, I'm extremely logical. I like to work puzzles, things like that.

So if somebody told you that you don't know how to crochet? What's your gut response?

I'd probably cry and want to show him that? Yes, I do.

So what I'm hearing is that, you want to give yourself the gift of judging having a standard of judgment so that you're not wobbling all over the place. Any criticism is valid. That's what it seems like. It's like in your own mind. Yeah, that you take them seriously. And they're the ruler, the standard of judgment.
When I say ruler, I think of a yardstick or just, you know, what is your standard of judging yourself? And I had to learn, I used to think that I always needed to please other people. And if they liked me, then I liked me. Yes, I can relate to that. And I had to jump that hurdle. Very fortunately I met my husband who did not come at the world that way. And he totally intrigued me, because he was his own person. And he would tell me things like, and I'd say, How's the steak? And he, that I just cooked him as you know, we were newly married, and he'd say, oh, it's rubbery. And part of me would be saying, You're supposed to say it's nice. You're supposed to say everything I do is nice. And another part of me was saying, he's being honest. I'm not used to this. And I was liking it. And I'm thinking that he's right. But it was like you standing outside of yourself and saying, I shouldn't be picking on my husband. But I'm still doing it. It's like you have some awareness that you're off base with that.

So here's what here's what I recommend. Our emotions are wonderful tools that we can use as detective work and if you're crying all the time, then that that to me tells me that you're experiencing very big losses because tears come from loss, sadness, depression, feeling down in the dumps. That's the emotion we feel when we're dealing with loss. So what it gets it right on the head because I lost my mother when I was a very young child. Okay, tell me that what goes back and I have a horrible fear of what losing something someone anything.

So of losing your top values, your anything that you hold dear to you. I'm guessing I'm not. I'm not saying this is it? I'm asking you,

but Well, that makes sense. Because it's like, I don't even want to like me enough to be disappointed in myself. I don't have it.

So, so this is what we what is considered delayed grieving. I mean, it's so it's complicated grieving. You had trauma as a very young child, tell me what happened with your mom.

She died of cancer.

How old? Were you?

I was four, four years old. Wow. What

do you remember about that? Well, that's,

that's my problem. I I tried to get a memory of her any memory? I would know. Spanking me. Yes. I have some pictures. It's, it's not a firsthand memory type thing. And it bothers me. Because I had to go stay with family. Because she, she couldn't take care of us.

Yeah. So you mean before the age of four? Right? Yeah,

I didn't. I didn't have that much time with her anyway. And I think that's what it all comes down to. But then I think like, you're an adult, you know, grow up is silly.

Okay, don't do that to yourself. Because if you would you tell me if I lost someone I loved to grow up and get over it. It's silly.

No, but I get very upset at people that get angry at their mothers, because we have them. You know, they. And maybe that's why I get angry when my daughter gets angry with me or criticizes me or makes a suggestion. Because I think my dad You have me.

So the contrast of having no mother versus having you with a couple of times when you're you might be cranky, or like all of us, and maybe not the perfect mother at times. You're she you your loss is so profound that how could anybody complain about their mother? Right? So, so here's what I recommend. Can you see how much how much you've gained just from the short conversation, that you're learning about judging yourself, you're learning that sadness is loss, and you're you were able to immediately then try to figure out what the most profound loss was for you. And now you're even able to understand your own snappiness, your anger, I would highly recommend cognitive therapy. Let me give you the website for that. Are you still there, Kathleen? Yes, I know we're coming right down to the last few seconds here. It's the Academy of si O RG. And you could also get a book mind over mood on my website, And mind over mood mind over mood. It's at my website, And if you hang on, I'd like to just touch base with you during the break. I'm Dr. Ellen Kenner and you're listening to the rational basis of happiness.

Here's an excerpt from The Selfish Path to Romance the serious romance guide book by clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner and Dr. Edwin Locke.

For a romantic relationship to work, your aspirations for the future need to be compatible. For an example an important value to discover is whether you and a potential partner want to have children or not. And if you do, how many, this choice dramatically affects your future together. A discrepancy in values here is often a deal breaker. Explore this value honestly and openly. Even if you initially agree. One partner may have a change of mind later and this can become a source of conflict. If a partner has children from a previous relationship. It is very important to learn how that might affect your daily life together and your long range goals.

You can download chapter one for free by going to and you can buy the book at