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The Writer’s Well Episode 173: How much inner angst do you share with your loved ones?

This month’s health-themed episode is emotional health and so J. asks Rachael how much she shares with her loved ones and how that impacts her productivity.

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43 thoughts on “The Writer’s Well Episode 173: How much inner angst do you share with your loved ones?”

  1. Morning guys. I got 404 on your old site which I assumed was a server error, but no angst as I found you here. Balance is resumed and all is well with the world again.
    Tough question for me to answer today J. I am an optimist so I rarely have inner angst. To me every problem is fun to solve and often leads to a previously unnoticed open door.
    There are two things to worry about; things one has no control over, and things one can affect. There is no point worrying about things one has no control over, as it is wasted energy unless worry is cathartic; think mitigation. And things one can affect are not worth wasting worry energy over when one (ah alliteration, don’t you just love it?) can use that energy to do something about it.
    Lovely wifey Denise is not a worrier which may be because we share everything. She loves her work and when she comes home I can tell if she wants to let off steam so I ease it out of her with coffee. She tells me this is a great help.
    One thing I occasionally get angst about is writing book reviews. I read a lot and I like to give a review. I am always complementary in public. But is that the right thing to do? Now there’s a topic I would love to see you discuss. How honest should one be in public book reviews when there is a problem?
    So to answer your question I would share inner angst with my wife if I had some. But my biggest daily problem of whether to retain that comma or to remove it (that’s a literary allusion) probably doesn’t count as angst.
    Great show.

  2. Hello,
    I too had 404 but found here with no problems.
    So sharing inner angst..what a timely question. I never used to , but over the past five years I have changed. I still think my little moments of ‘ahhh’ are stupid and not worth sharing, but they tend to swirl until I mention them my grounded hubby and then he well grounds me and although I still feel my worry was silly I can let it go – for example I have an artist creating an illustration for my book’s cover and although I love the picture the colours were not right but I was worried I’d upset her if I said anything as she is so happy with it. See – a daft worry. Hubby says, tell her your thoughts. So I did and she is happy to make the changes, or she says she is!
    I have learned to shrug off things to worry about that I can’t do anything about such as Corvid 19 and all its maybe future effects on our lives, decisions my parents make that to me seem crazy and – and this one strange – my sister’s recent diagnosis of first stage MDS a type of bone marrow cancer. I’m sad but not worried, if that makes sense.
    I am very empathetic but for my own health and sanity have learned not to take on other’s grief and worries. Sorry I’ve gone off on one today.
    Take care and thanks for sorting the comments problem by moving.

  3. How much to share? Hm – well, I’m an INTJ and my wife is an ENFP. I ride the roller coaster often. A couple kids are ENFP (or close variations). So really, I don’t need to add to the general angst that goes around at times. Besides, my brain works completely different than theirs, so if I do share it’s usually more awkward because, in this regard, we don’t always ‘get’ each other.
    So I share it on podcast comments.

      1. J. is an INTJ dragonfly. When a dragonfly crosses your path it means some kind of transformation is coming, and it’s good luck. I don’t know how he attracts us all. Might be the large body of water he lives by.

  4. I learned a lot about family members by hearing how Rachael and J. answered this question. I probably overshare my angst because it’s my way of processing what I’m not comfortable keeping inside. I’m learning that putting my internal thoughts onto the page is the best way for me because I can see the angst and edit it. I can choose what and where I share, and how I feel and what I’ve learned.

  5. I can read and leave a comment! I never could on the previous site.

    I’m definitely the stoic one in my relationship (we’ve even had discussions that Stoic doesn’t mean non-emotional, just controlling what you can control). I’ve learned the hard way that it’s a positive thing to share what’s in my head, even when I think I shouldn’t. Learning to ask for and accept help has been one of the big lessons of my life.

    Holding stress actually caused me grind my teeth while I slept, and I’ve broken two teeth that way. So I learned my lesson the hard way. Now I wear a mouthguard at night, and I can kind of gauge my stress levels by how quickly I chew through the guard. (I think this is funny, if might not come off that way, heh.)

    My family just went through a big transition with my work, and I think it would have been a lot harder if my wife and I hadn’t been communicating about it from the very beginning. Its no mistake this is my second marriage, and the first relationship wouldn’t have weathered this storm, as we just couldn’t communicate. A lot of that was my fault for not sharing my worries, but we also seemed unable to hear each other. Things are much better now.

    I was also in a business relationship with someone who was endlessly optimistic about everything, which forced me to be the person carrying the stress of the business, especially when things didn’t work out. I’ll never go through that again.

    Honestly, I think the podcast and your willingness to discuss difficult, personal subjects without shame or judgement is a powerful ongoing lesson for folks. People will still love you, even when you express your fear and frustration. Often they will love you more because you’re sharing your self with them.

    1. Yay, thanks for commenting, James! And yes, I gauge my stress on my nightguard, too – a few weeks ago it hurt to chew anything during the day because all my teeth ached so much. Made me reevaluate some sleep stuff.

  6. Yay! Comments are back!
    Like you, J, I’ve never sugar-coated anything for my kids. Sickness and death of animals and people, scary movies, news and documentaries – we never censored for our kids even at a young age. Of course, we would add commentary to gage their understanding.
    They are now 17, 15, and 11 and I can share basically anything with them and speak TRUTH because they’ve been subjected to truths and reality of the world. It’s refreshing to talk with them about life and happenings. 🙂

    I learned at a very young age that holding stress inside oneself is like letting a monster grow and eat you from the inside out. I grew up with some scary, real life situations that my mom could not hide from me, including witnessing the death of my father when I was so young. My mother often had a hard time handling it, but still let me feel when I needed to feel, or discuss matters that bothered me.
    The problem I have now, even to this day, is not really HOW to speak of the issues, but trying to determine what they ARE in the first place. Sometimes just talking things out with a friend after being quiet for a few days and having time to chew on feelings is the only way I can get to the heart of what’s bothering me. But I know, in the end, I HAVE to talk about them to someone, even if it is a complete stranger….which sounds super odd. But there is sometimes a feeling of safety when you share shit with someone who doesn’t know you and you will never see again. 😆

  7. I related a lot to both of you in this episode! I am absolutely horrible at sharing my inner angst with loved ones to the point where it becomes problematic. I don’t like talking about uncomfortable things—I prefer to be happy and lighthearted—and also, I don’t like burdening people, so double whammy there. The biggest lie I tell myself is that I don’t think people will care either, which in the case of my loved ones, is probably not true. Or is it… I wrote about my inner angst at being stuck at home on my blog, and my mom reached out and was like, “I didn’t know you were feeling that way. I’m here to talk.” Still probably not gonna talk to her about it. Also, my husband could use a lesson on patting me on the head and saying “there, there.” I s’pose I could too.

    1. Ha! Yeah, I don’t talk to my mom about stuff like that either. But she doesn’t listen to my podcasts or read my blog.

  8. How much to share is a tough one. A couple of years ago, when I was finishing my MA, I went through a year where six of my close family members had illnesses that were at different points on the “debilitating/potentially fatal” spectrum, my parents went through a soap-opera-level divorce while I was living at home (I moved back while I did my MA), and I was in and out of hospital/the doctors for two chronic conditions of my own. Given what everyone else in my family was going through, sharing with them seemed like just adding to their stress, and I didn’t even know where to start with friends. So I just joked about how dramatic it all was and left it at that. I make sure to give my housemate a baseline of how I’m feeling because saying it out loud helps me to identify problems, but by baseline I mean “Huh, my anxiety’s a little high today, I wonder what’s causing that…” Inner angst is for subconsciously hiding in fiction, so that I look back in a few years and go “wow, this was really about X, wasn’t it?”

    1. Joking about how dramatic it is DOES ease things sometimes – i like this method. And OH MAN, finding out what it was in fiction that you’ve written – that’s a good one, and I always think I’m not doing it but I AM.

  9. Interesting question! I usually share my inner angst with my spouse. He’s a fantastic listener and problem solver, and he’s great at following my lead about which one I need. During this crisis, though, he’s been sick for a month, so I haven’t shared much of my fears.

    I come from a family that does not express deep emotions and how I managed to get over that and feel comfortable sharing with my spouse and my friends, I’ll never know! My family motto seems to be, “I don’t want to worry you”, so I won’t tell you anything too deep or share my angst.

    J, I’m with you about the kids! We’ve always talked to our son like an adult. He’s grown now and I’m able to share so much with him, especially lately. He’s also an indie musician, so we often talk about how hard it is to make a living as a creative person. P.S. We both have day jobs. 😉

  10. Really interesting comments from the show and everyone here. I am the fluffy filling between the dark bipolar cookies of my mom and son (mom has passed now) so my approach is pretty close to what Rachael’s is with the difference being that I don’t write beautiful insightful essays to share with the world – I pay a therapist. The biggest challenge for me is letting the emotion of “angst” in enough, to be able to tell if it is chemically driven anxiety, stress/overdoing, caring/worrying about another or a prequel to needed problem-solving for something real as they all have different strategies.

    Thank you J for changing all of this over – it must have been a huge deal. Have a good week everyone – can’t believe it is May already tomorrow –

  11. I’m a bottler. It takes a lot for me to work up to letting anyone see what’s going on. This usually means that by the time I’ve reached the point of opening up my wife has moved on which only makes the process that much more awkward. I want to open up but the struggle gets the best of me more often than I succeed.

  12. I think I need to subscribe to a different RSS now. I’ll figure it out! I don’t share much inner angst with my loved ones. They don’t need to hear all of my anxieties. As has happened in the past, they will either dismiss my anxiety entirely (not helpful) or get anxious as well (also not helpful) so I don’t see the benefit of sharing with them on this. Real concerns about money or health get shared, of course. But that’s about it.

  13. Here you are!
    I think I overshare because my parents did not communicate very well at all – especially emotionally. Like J I have always told my kids the truth and that was an issue w my ex husband – their father. He would not.
    For example: I asked him once, what will you tell the kids if they ever ask if you took drugs? He said he’d just say no, he never had. I snorted and said ‘well, they had better not ask me if YOU ever took drugs.’ lmao
    But I am a world class worrier – and my brain spirals off into wild places. And as a single parent, I have no one to talk to, or to throw an arm around me and tell me it’ll work out.
    I suspect the ‘what if’ questions that all writers ask makes it worse – we are miles down the road in front of others with all the wild possibilities – you know?

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