The Art of Being Crabby

I wish that I could say that I am feeling fabulous and “outta site” and full of positive thoughts and feelings right now, but I happen to be an honest person (sometimes to my detriment) and I can’t lie well. So how am I REALLY feeling, you ask? CRABBY. I’m being visited by my dear and old friend, PMS, and she’s making me feel murderous one minute, and pathetically weep-into-a-hankie sad the next. I’m guessing that wherever you are on the female hormone continuum, you can relate to what I’m talking about. As I write this, I would laugh at a button I have on my desk in front of me (but my present mood doesn’t tolerate happiness, let alone a wee chuckle) that says, “PMS- Harness The Energy”. So that’s exactly what I’m doing by writing this article. And perhaps I can make at least one of you laugh which would be great…

As a woman-centred therapist, I feel that it is my duty to empower and uplift women and to encourage them to become all they dream of being. And I truly believe that us gals cannot be fully empowered and uplifted unless we feel totally free to feel whatever we need to feel at any given moment and to not be ashamed about it. As girls, we learn that ‘good girls don’t get angry’, and that it is somehow “unfeminine” for us to get mad and express it. I wish I could say that this is changing with our younger generation, but sadly, from the work that I do, I see countless young women killing themselves in various ways; internalizing their rage and taking it out on themselves instead of getting mad at society or people in their lives who have controlled, manipulated, violated, and/or abused them. What do I feel when I hear these stories? MAD!

I wish desperately that more of us could embrace our ‘inner crab’ and let her out when she needs to say something, stand up for something/someone, or express the pain that’s underneath her anger. I have come to learn that ‘the inner crab’ is very wise indeed and can help us lead happier, healthier, and more balanced lives once we learn to tune into her and take her advice.

I don’t know about you, but as a young woman, whenever I expressed crabbiness or anger, I was immediately shut down by the adults in my life. I was shamed and called, “moody”, “disagreeable”, “unladylike”, or “uncooperative”.

It didn’t stop there either. Still, as a woman, I get called names any time I’m not “nice” or “compliant” and it really makes me mad. In fact, the more I get judged for being crabby, the crabbier I become. Same for many women I know. So what’s the solution?


Often, when we’re crabby, it’s a sign that someone has crossed a personal boundary we have. This can be a good thing because sometimes we are unaware of our boundaries until they are crossed. Once we know our boundaries, we can enforce them and stop letting people walk all over us, and thus, become less crabby in the long run because we won’t be feeling so resentful so much of the time.

Plus, when we stop fighting feeling crabby, and just let ourselves feel as crabby as we want, the feeling usually goes away much faster because it’s been given the airtime and release it needed. Sometimes we’re crabby because of certain circumstances in our lives and sometimes it’s just raging hormones and there ain’t a lot we can do about it. The thing to remember is that feelings are just feelings and they don’t last forever. If you’re in such a crabby mood that you can’t see it ending, remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’ and that you’ll feel better soon.

But while you’re riding the waves of crabbiness, try one or some, or all of the following to get through to the other side where rainbows and pots of gold await you…

Esther’s Top 5 Tips to Embracing Your Inner Crab

1. Go with it and stop fighting how you’re feeling

2. Follow these two important rules while you’re in the throws of crabbiness: don’t hurt yourself or anyone/thing else.

3. Let your anger out in healthy ways like: intense exercise, shouting in your car with the windows rolled up (not when you’re driving), punching pillows, writing all the vicious thoughts you’re having out on paper and destroying them afterwards, “venting” to a caring person who realises that it’s healthy to let off some steam once in a while.

4. After you’ve let out your anger, nurture yourself by doing nice things like having a bath, petting an animal, getting a massage, or doing some yoga and/or meditation.

5. You’ll probably move into feeling sad and weepy after you’ve released your anger, as sadness is often what is beneath the surface of our crabbiness. Let yourself have a good cry- let it out. You’ll feel a whole lot lighter and freer afterwards.