Anxiety and Relationships: How to Stop it Stealing the Magic

Anxiety and Intimate Relationships How to Stop Anxiety From Stealing the Magic

Intimate relationships are a mirror, reflecting the best and the worst of all of us. They can inflame our struggles or soothe them. When they’re right, they can feel like magic. Even when they’re completely right, anxiety can steal the magic and loosen the connection between two people who belong together. All relationships require trust, tenderness, patience and vulnerability. People with anxiety often have these by the truckload and will give them generously to the relationship. The problem is that anxiety can sometimes just as quickly erode them. 

If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety, there are plenty of things about you that would make loving you easy. All relationships struggle sometimes and when anxiety is at play, the struggles can be quite specific – very normal, and specific.

Anxiety can work in curious ways, and it will impact different relationships differently, so not all of the following will be relevant for every relationship. Here are some ways to strengthen your relationship and protect it from the impact of anxiety: 

  1. Top up the emotional resources.

    You’re probably super sensitive to the needs of others and give openly and abundantly to your relationship. Sometimes though, anxiety can drain those resources from the relationship just as quickly as you invest them. This is completely okay – there is plenty of good that comes with loving you to make up for this – but it may mean that you have to keep making sure those resources are topped up. Whenever you can, heap your partner with attention, gratitude, affection, touch – lots of touch – and conversation around him or her.

  2. Let your partner see you as a support too.

    Your partner might feel reluctant to ‘burden’ you with worries, particularly if those worries don’t seem as big as the ones you’re struggling with. People with anxiety have so much strength – it’s impossible to live with anxiety without it – so make sure your partner knows that it doesn’t matter how big or small their struggles are, you can be the supportive one sometimes too. The tendency can be for partners of anxious people to dismiss their own worries, but this might mean that they do themselves out of the opportunity to feel nurtured and supported by you – which would be a huge loss for both of you. Be deliberate in being the rock sometimes too. Ask, hold, touch. There’s nothing more healing than the warmth of the person you love.

  3. Let your partner in on what you’re thinking.

    Anxious thoughts are supremely personal, but let your partner in on them. It’s an important part of intimacy. You will often be thinking about what you need to do to feel safe, what feels bad for you and what could go wrong. You will also have an enormous capacity to think of other people – anxious people do – but make sure that you let you partner in on the thoughts that arrest you. Keeping things too much to yourself has a way of widening the distance between two people. 

  4. Asking for reassurance is absolutely okay – but just not too much.

    Anxiety has a way of creeping into everything. When it’s left unchecked, it can make you doubt the things that don’t deserve to be doubted – such as your relationship. It’s completely okay and very normal to ask your partner for reassurance. Too much though and it could be felt as neediness. Neediness is the enemy of desire and over time can smother the spark. Make sure your partner has the opportunity to love you spontaneously, without prompting – it’s lovely for them and even better for you. 

  5. Be vulnerable.

    Anxiety can effect relationships in different ways. In some people, it might stoke the need for constant reassurance. In others, it can cause them to hold back, to lessen their vulnerability to possible heartache. Vulnerability – being open to another – is beautiful and it’s the essence of successful, healthy relationships. The problem with protecting yourself too much is that it can invite the very rejection you’re trying to protect against. Part of intimacy is letting someone in closer than you let the rest of the world. It’s trusting that person with the fragile, messy, untamed parts of you – the parts that are often beautiful, sometimes baffling, and always okay with the person who loves you. It’s understandable to worry about what might happen if someone has open access to these parts of you, but see those worries for what they are – worries, not realities – and trust that whatever happens when you open yourself up to loving and being loved, you’ll be okay. Because you will be.

  6. Be careful of projecting anxiety onto your relationship.

    Anxiety can be triggered by nothing in particular – that’s one of the awful things about it – so it will look for a target, an anchor to hold it still and make it make sense. If you’re in an intimate relationship, that’s where the bullseye will sit, drawing your anxiety into its gravitational pull. This can raise feelings of doubt, jealousy, suspicion and insecurity. Anxiety can be a rogue like that. That doesn’t mean your relationship deserves your anxiety – most likely it doesn’t – but your relationship is important, relevant and often in your thoughts, making it a lavishly easy target. Remind yourself that just because you’re worried, that doesn’t mean there’s anything to worry about. Worry if you have to, but then see it for what it is – anxiety, not truth. You are loved and you have anxiety and you are okay. Let that be the truth that holds you. 

  1. Analysis leads to paralysis.

    There’s a saying – ‘Analysis leads to paralysis,’ – because it does. ‘Is it love? Or lust? Or am I kidding myself? What if my heart gets broken into tiny jagged pieces? How will it ever work if we don’t like the same music/ books/ food/ movies? What if we book the holiday and the airline goes on strike? What if one of us gets sick? What if both of us get sick? What if we can’t get a refund? Or pay the mortgage? What if he gets sick of me?’ Yep. I know you know how it sounds. What you focus on is what becomes important, so if you focus on the possible problems they’ll absorb your energy until they’re big enough to cause trouble on their own. They’ll drain your energy, your sense of fun and your capacity to move. You probably already know this, but what to do about it. Here’s something to try … Set a time frame in which you can act as though things will be fine. So for example, worry from 10-3 each day and after that, breathe, let go and act as though things will be fine. You don’t have to believe it – just ‘act as though’. You’ll have another chance tomorrow to worry if you need to. Be guided by the evidence, not the worries that haunt you at 2am. 

    [irp posts=”1100″ name=”The Things I’ve Learned About Anxiety – That Only People With Anxiety Could Teach Me”]

     

  2. Come closer. No. Go away.

    When you focus on every detail, things will get wobbly. You might focus on the things that aren’t right with your partner or your relationship, while at the same time looking for reassurance that your partner loves you and is committed. This can cause you to push your partner away, (‘You’ve disappointed me,”) then pull him or her close, (‘Tell me that you love me. You do love me, don’t you?’). Have a chat with your partner and if it is a familiar process, set up a safe way for your partner to point out when it’s happening. Agree on what that will look like. When it does happen, be careful not to hear it as a criticism – it’s not – it’s your partner asking for some stability with the way you love each other.

  1. The tough conversations can bring you closer.

    All relationships have to deal with tough stuff now and then but anxiety can make things more threatening and bigger than they are. The temptation might be to avoid talking about difficult issues with your partner, because of concerns about what it might do the relationship. Difficult issues don’t go away – they fester until they reach boiling point. Trust that your partner – and you – can cope with a hard discussion. Relationships are built on trust, and trusting that your relationship can power through difficult conversations is an important one.

  2. Let your partner in on what it’s like to be you.

    We humans are complex creatures and bringing someone in closer to you and your story – even if it is someone who has been with you for a while – is the lifeblood of intimacy. People change, stories change, and even in intimate relationships it’s easy to lose touch with the person who fall asleep next to at night-time. Let your partner in on what your anxiety is like for you. Talk about your thoughts, how anxiety is affecting you, your work, your relationship, your partner, and how grateful you are for the love and support. 

  3. Let your partner know what triggers you.

    Is there a particular situation that’s tends to set your anxiety alight? Crowds? Strangers? Difficulties of exit? Loud music in the car? Being late? Talk to your partner so that if you find yourself in the situation without warning, he or she will understand what’s happening for you.

  4. Be patient. The quick fix isn’t always the best.

    As a way to feel better and ease your anxiety, you might be tempted to press for a quick fix to a problem or issue within your relationship. You might become frustrated with your partner’s desire to wait or put off committing to a course of action, or their resistance to keep talking about the issue, but be open to the fact that your partner might see things differently, sometimes clearer. Breathe, talk, and don’t assume that your partner is taking time or pulling out of the conversation because of a lack of commitment or because the issue isn’t important enough. 

  1. Make sure you’re looking after yourself.

    Being in love is crazy good but it can take your attention away from looking after yourself and on to looking after your special person. We all tend to do this but for people with anxiety it can be particularly problematic because once you’re off-balance, the ripple can bring other things undone. Taking good care of yourself is so important. Eating well (a healthy diet rich in omega 3, low in processed carbs and sugars), as well as regular exercise and meditation will help to build your brain against anxiety. If looking after yourself feels selfish, think of it this way: it’s not really fair to expect your partner to support you through your anxiety if you’re not doing everything you can do to support yourself. Think of self-care as an investment in you, your relationship and your partner. Remember too that anything that’s good for anxiety is good for everyone, so talk to your partner about chasing a healthy lifestyle together – cooking, exercising and meditating together … nice.

    [irp posts=”974″ name=”When Someone You Love Has Anxiety”]

     

  2. Understand that your partner will need boundaries

    For the relationship to stay close, healthy and connected, boundaries built by your partner can be a great thing. Understand that boundaries aren’t your partner’s way of keeping you out, but as a way to self-protect from ‘catching’ your anxiety. You might be worried and need to talk about something over and over, but that’s not necessarily what will be good for you, your partner or your relationship. Your partner can love you and draw a bold heavy underline between the last time you discuss something and the next time you want to. Talking is healthy, but talking over and over and over about the same thing can be draining and create an issue where there isn’t one. Know that your partner loves you and that boundaries are important to nurture love and grow the relationship, not to push against it. Talk to your partner about what he or she needs to be able to feel okay in the face of your anxiety. Invite the boundaries – it will help to keep your connection strong and loving and will help your partner to feel as though he or she is able to preserve a sense of self without being absorbed by your worries. Worry is contagious so if your partner wants to draw a boundary (eventually) around your worry, let it happen – it will help to preserve the emotional resources of the relationship and will be good for both of you.

  3. Laugh together.

    This is so important! Laughter is a natural antidote to the stress and tension that comes with anxiety. Laughing together will tighten the connection between you and when there has been a stressful few days (weeks? months?) it will help you both to remember why you fell in love with each other. Anxiety has a way of making you forget that life wasn’t meant to be taken seriously all the time. If it’s been too long since your partner has seen the shape of your face when you laugh (which will be beautiful and probably one of the reasons he or she fell for you in the first place) find a reason – a funny movie, memories, YouTube … anything.

Falling in love is meant to be magical, but getting close to another person isn’t without it’s highs and lows at the best of times. From the ecstasy of realising that someone pretty wonderful is as moved by you as you are by them, to the agony of self-doubt and possible loss, to the security, richness and sometimes stillness of a deeper love, intimacy is a vehicle for every possible emotion. Anxiety does effect relationships, but by being open to its impact, and deliberate in responding to it, you can protect your relationship and make it one that’s strong, close and resilient.

229 Comments

Liz

I’ve been in a relationship for almost 7 months now, I was taking birth control and my doctors think that it has led to my anxiety and depression. I’m 21 and I’ve never had this before. I can’t help but think that I’m not happy because of my partner, but up until 10 days ago, I wanted to see my boyfriend every single day and never thought that we were drifting apart or I didn’t love him anymore. I get anxiety about the thought that I don’t love him because I fear losing him all the time, when I’m with him I am fine but I only see him on the weekends. I don’t want to lose Him and he hasn’t done anything for me to want to break up with him. I just want to go back to the way I felt before all of this. I feel that that “spark” is missing. I don’t want to hurt him

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Liz what your doctors have said makes sense. Anxiety has a way of really intruding into relationships and steering you towards doubts that don’t deserve to be there. Have your doctors changed your birth control? It may take time to adjust and for your symptoms to ease. In the meantime there are things you can do to strengthen and protect your brain against anxiety and anxious thoughts. Exericse and mindfulness are the big ones. Tons of research has shown that both of them can change the structure and function of the brain in ways that help protect it against anxiety. Here is an article that explains why mindfulness is important https://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/, and this one explains the importance of exericse https://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. I hope these are helpful for you.

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Susie

This article was so helpful, and right on the mark in regards to how my anxiety affects my relationships. I’m with a new partner and my anxiety is completely taking over, and I think I’m doing what you describe as projecting my anxieties onto the relationship. I find it really hard to tell what is a genuine issue that needs to be discussed and what is just my anxiety trying to identify what it is anxious about! For instance, he is often online on Facebook but doesn’t reply to my messages for what is sometimes 8 hours, and that sends me into a spin in combination with his generally quiet personality. I find myself constantly needing reassurance that he still wants a relationship, as I’m picking up lots of “he’s just not that into you vibes”. I can’t tell the difference between those vibes and my anxiety that I’m not good enough anymore! Any further advice on this particular issue would be amazing. I do a lot of meditation and as much exercise as possible, but these anxieties creep up so often as I always have the facebook messenger app on my phone and it seems to constantly remind me that he’s not into me. I try deleting it but goodness that doesn’t last long!

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Worried

I’ve been in a long distance relationship for a little over a year. I thought it would be very difficult (different countries and major time zone differences), but we’ve managed to talk every day and have actually grown closer. I’ve never felt like this for someone. However, he’s been unable to find a job in his country, much less to be able to get a job in mine and get a visa to come back (we met in my country). He’s decided his only option is to become a musician on a cruise ship. My anxiety is sky rocketing. I made the mistake of researching cruise ship gigs and it brought up the massive partying and hookups. He’s not the hookup or partying type, but I can’t seem to get it out of my head. Plus, it’s going to mean only an email a day, if that, because of his not having easy access to wifi at sea. I’m not sure we’ll survive this, which may be my anxiety talking. I really don’t know what to do!

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Dave

I have been in a relationship for over 4 years. I have anxiety and depression. I feel like we have drifted apart and I feel anxiety is a big reason why. I am in my twenties and ever since I was young, I felt like a lot of opportunities I have had have been ruined by my anxiety. Particularly with women. Even though I am in a committed relationship that for the most part I am happy with, I feel there are still some things I would like to experience that I have not been able to. I’ve recently had “opportunities” come about where I could potentially meet some of my wants, but I’d be taking a chance on ruining what I have. My anxiety through this situation is making it hard to sleep and get through the day. I have no idea what to do. I have talked to my partner briefly about it, but how is it possible to bring up being interested in someone else only sexually and is it just my anxiety causing me to have conflicted feelings? Any help would be appreciated. I’m in a difficult spot.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Dave rather than letting your anxiety drive your behaviour, which could very understandable ruin what you have, try working on your anxiety. If your partner is someone for whom commitment and monogomy is important, it is unfair to expect her to change in the name of supporting your anxiety. There are other ways to deal with your anxiety that will be less harmful to your relationship and less harmful to your partner. Anxiety often creates safety behaviours. These might be constant checking, cleaning, avoiding. They are the behaviours that people do to make them feel safer and to relieve their anxiety. These behaviours stop being helpful when they get in the way of life and cause other problems. The other risk is that if you turn to sex outside your relationship to ease your anxiety, this will be the only way you will know to feel safe.

The important thing for you to know is that there are other, very powerful ways to ease your anxiety that will not hurt your relationship. Mindfulness and exercise are two of the most powerful. Here is an article that explains how mindfulness can help with anxiety https://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and here is one that explains how exercise can help https://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. Research has shown that both exercise and mindfulness can be powerful in relieving anxiety, and they will be healthier options both for you and your relationship.

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Dave

Thanks for the reply. I have tried my best to work on my anxiety and have had several issues. I am going to a local mental health facility within the next week to try and discuss several of my issues. I also believe in monogamy and I find it morally and ethically wrong to cheat on a partner. I did hangout with the other person, but made it clear that nothing would happen with them until I end my current situation and they explained that they respected me more for it because it shows them that I am trustworthy. I am still conflicted however due to several reasons. I often wonder if I would be happier on my own for awhile to focus on myself. I am also not sure if I want to end my current relationship or not and if I want to take a risk on losing what I have and get something worse or better. It is all I can think about. As far as your recommendations… I have been exercising everyday for about 3 months. I have lost weight and my self confidence has increased. This is part of the reason I feel I have other “options” romantically. I have heard exercise helps anxiety, but it has not really helped my relationship at all and only has helped my anxiety somewhat. I will give mindfulness a shot as well. I do try my best to enjoy the moment, but my brain overthinks and overanalyzes everything and it can be horrible and draining.

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ilirijana

Dave, your issues may stem deeper than general anxiety. Now, I don’t know you personally, but I’ve felt similar things, and once even acted on it… I have a hard time forgiving myself to this day, though my partner and I managed to work through things. I am a stronger person now.
My problems stemmed from commitment issues, intimacy fears, and were also magnified by my sexual trauma.
Sometimes it’s hard to learn how to relax with one person…
If the person is someone you are in love with, you can make it work.
How the person treats you and if they love you, that also matters.
Is this someone you feel safe with?
Is this someone that you can share your deepest fears with?
This matters in a long term relationship.
Even if you already took the plunge and made whatever decision, know that it is never too late to work on you.
Relationship, or no.
You are not a bad person.
You can only live through your own perspective, and you can only control yourself.
So whatever has or hasn’t happened, make sure that you try your hardest to make sure that you meet your needs, and to consider your partners as well.
If she isn’t willing to even consider your needs, then you might be better off with just you.
I wouldn’t recommend starting a new relationship until you are in a more emotionally stable and peaceful place.
If you are still in a relationship, then it is your choice whether or not you want to work things out.

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Sparkles

Hi I have a boyfriend we’ve been dating for a year and a month now. He has anxiety. He keeps thinking about me leaving him when the time comes. He Thinks I don’t love him. I gave him everything I could. I supported him in any way that I can. I’ve always been there for him when he needed me but the problem is, we’re both young and still going to school and the hardest part is we’re in a long distance relationship. So we see each other 2-3 times a month. At first I thought it was just because he misses me and he wants me close to him but now its getting worse. He said his bad feelings go away only when we’re together because he feels happy. But again we’re still young and our parents are strict, both sides. Sometimes he cries without any reason, we’re okay. I’m always sweet and clingy and I show affection to him as much as possible but then sometimes he pushes me off and I get hurt. What should I do?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Talk to your boyfriend about this article. Here are some clues that someone might be struggling with anxiety https://www.heysigmund.com/subtle-signs-of-anxiety/. Talk to him and see if any of these feel familiar for him. If they do, there are a few things that can be really powerful and strengthening an anxious brain. Two of the main ones are exercise and mindfulness. These articles will explain more about that – maybe they are something you can do together. Here is the article for mindfulness https://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and exercise https://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. Finally, here are some ways you can support him, if he thinks he might be struggling with anxiety https://www.heysigmund.com/how-to-help-with-anxiety/. I hope these help.

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Ki

For the majority of relationships I have been I always get to the point where I question my feelings or intentions. One thought I’ve always come back to is my sexuality. I’ve always said I was bisexual but with time I felt that wasn’t the right term for me and have finally settled on being pansexual. Bi meaning both men and women, Pan meaning men, women, trans etc. This happened to settle best for me. Today I have been in a relationship with a man for 3 years. When I first started dating him he new I was frightened. Not use to relationships, or how they work. Feeling ” claimed “, was not a word I took lightly. He new coming into the relationship I was into women but he wanted to take his chances regardless. Unbelievably scared I braced myself for this relationship and for once felt like I was actively dating someone. My last relationship I felt like I wasn’t really there. I feel I was dating him for the wrong reasons. And I wasn’t exactly sexually attracted to him but I feel I clung to him because my parents divorced right when I was graduating high school so I stayed with him as I adored his family. But I don’t think I ever loved him in the way that I love the guy I’m with today. The love that I have for my current boyfriend of 3 years I’m absolutely enthralled in his love. I had a lot of first real experiences with him. I no longer felt like auto-piolet in a relationship but 100% in. Now being 3 years I feel I question my feelings, my thoughts, my boyfriend has always known I was an anxious person. He knows of my sexuality that I question often and my feelings. I feel I have severe intimacy issues and that auto-piolet or not-in-the-moment feeling has come back and I don’t feel like I’m paying attention. I have anxiety at night when he comes to sleepover and we created this joint back account putting our money in together to create our lives and I’m just so frightened. Frightened by the ideas of merging our lives more seriously together. I question on repeat the love I feel. I also believe I have intimacy issues in the bedroom. After orgasm I loose the light, loving feeling. I loose the interest. And this has gone for majority people I ever dated. I fear I may be one of those sexual abuse cases as even when my Mother plays with my hair or a hug an old male relative fear or discomfort overcomes me. Masturbation isn’t always joyful. Or quick-lived ectasy. Some moments are simply incredible with my boyfriend. But than sometimes I just loose myself in anxious thought and discomfort. I really feel like he could be the one. But I’m clouded by all my fear, worry, confused. I know this is a lot and I do see a therapist but I feel like you may be able to help me breakdown a clear understanding of whats happening to me. And my boyfriend and I have open communication and he knows about everything but how can I relax? I always jump to breaking up but I don’t think that’s what needs to be done here I feel that’s only a jump reaction. Not one made with detail thought. Even though I feel like I’m thinking clearly there is a lot of ” I don’t knows ” in my head.

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Ella

Hi there.
I’ve only been in a relationship for 6i this but it all started very differently. We met at festivals and spent all summer working together and subsequently, living together (or at least in the same tent) and we met each others parents and stayed at each others houses pretty much consistently between festivals (usually only one or two nights). Since moving back to home and working (we live about 2 hours away) we only see eachother on weekends and it’s messing with my head. We rarely talk over texting (because we both hate it) but my brain is constantly telling me that he doesn’t care and I shouldn’t care as much as I do. Even though I know neither of these things are true.
I’m at a loss because he is the best man I have ever met and I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lose the man I’ve fallen in the deep end for.

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Dee

Hi im a 29 year old female and ive been with my fiance for 8 years off and on but sjes constantly telling me she wants to be by her self not in a relationship and she diesnt have feelings towards it anymore , then its we need this or we need to start doing this im so confused because i jist don’t wanna leave her cuz i dont know if its really her true feelings or the anxiety talking but its been almost a week now that weve been going thru this whay do i do and how does this sickness really effect things

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Robin

Me and my girlfriend have been in a strong relation ship for awhile now but the thing is, she has anxiety and depression. We’ve been drifting apart and it almost feels like we’re strangers now. She keeps pushing me away. I know she loves me and it hurts her when she pushes me away, I can read her like a book. And I know when she’s hurting but I can’t comfort her because she wont allow me to. Due to her child hood issues, she doesn’t like to be touched. And thats the only way I feel I know how to comfort is through affection. What can I do to let her know she can be vunerable with me, how do I gain her trust?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

You sound like such a wonderfully supportive partner. There are certainly other ways to comfort her, though I understand why touch feels so important. Being fully present with her when you are able to, listening to her, checking in on her to make sure she is okay and whether there is anything she needs, letting her know that you are there when she needs someone, letting her know that you are happy to be there for her without her needing to speak – these are all ways of showing support. Anything that is done without expectation of return will feel safe. Be patient and also make sure that in this, you are looking after you.

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Cody

Hi.. My name is cody . i was married to my wife for 25 years. The last 2 years. She became ill . from cancer. I noticed that i couldn’t stay no more than 4 hours after breakfast. I got to a point . that it came to a point that i couldn’t breathe. I had to leave . i would see my mom for an hour . it was ok. For a while and than it would come back . but i noticed that when she became very ill on hospice. The anxiety left me . i spent 22 hours a day with her . Because i had to shop for 2 hours . now after my wife passing. In the first month my anxiety came back . i had to leave my moms place and than back to my place . it was odd. I always talk to her and now my anxiety came back to me tonight. So i think she is still with me . and my spiritual body feels her. It really makes me very sad. Because i say to her . Please come back to me . do u think she visits me . but why does it cause me anxiety. ????

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Cody what I believe is that the people we love are always with us in some form. We are energy – we all are. You can feel the energy of people when you walk into a room, or the energy change when people leave a room. Energy might change form, but it never dies and it never gets destroyed. That’s what I believe, and I believe it with all my heart. As for your anxiety, anxiety happens when your brain believes it might be under threat. That doesn’t mean that there is a threat. It happens in a primitive part of the brain that acts on instincts more than it does factual information. If something is happening to you that feels unfamiliar, this may be enough for your brain to worry and to initiate the fight or flight response. The important thing to remember is that this doesn’t mean there is a threat. When you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that you are safe. The anxious part of the brain is instinctive, and it operates without much thought. A way to think about it is like you have to remind it that you’re safe, and that there is nothing it needs to protect you from. An easy to do this is to breathe strong, deep breaths. Breathing calms the nervous system and starts to neutralise the neurochemicals that are surging through you because of the fight or flight response. These neurochemicals are the reason you feel the way you do when you have anxiety – racing heart, clammy skin, nausea etc. You might need a cue somewhere near you, perhaps words, to remind yourself to slow your breathing. Everything you have described makes sense. Your body, mind and spirit are still adjusting to a very big loss. This can take time sometimes, but know that you will be okay. I wish you love and healing.

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Everything is great

Shes with you right now and always and you just get emotional like me its ok.

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Mike

I’m having an anxiety issue in my relationship. We are a newer relationship (3 months) but have a very strong connection. Both have been in long relationships 5+ years so we know what we are and aren’t looking for. 29 YO. My problem comes with her Ex. They are over a year broken up now. He wasn’t around until I came into the picture. They live in different states but he started texting and calling all the time after we started dating. By the feel of it she would respond when I wasn’t around. I know they say things like they miss each other but she tells me its not like that and I shouldn’t be concerned. (I know by her accidentally opening her text in front of me) I told her I don’t want to get into to a relationship like this, where there is some other guy lurking in the back ground. I wouldn’t say jealous is the right word to use but when ever he is texting her my anxiety boils over and I basically shut down, shaking, cold sweat, heart palpitations, etc. I mentioned this to her and she said would tell him to stop but this is still continuing. I bring it up that she said she would do this and she keep saying she will but the timing doesn’t work to talk to him about it. I have no interest in being in a relationship with her if they are in communication, I can’t put myself through this feeling all the time. Any advice on how to bring this up without it being too persistent and ruining/ building resentment in the relationship? I truly love her and I know she feels the same, but I also don’t want to be blindsided/crushed by this if I’m wrong.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Mike your feelings on this sound very justified. Your relationship is new, and in the early stages of any relationship, it is the time to build trust and intimacy. The risk with texting an ex and saying things like how much they miss each other, is that it can interrupt that process of trust and intimacy building, even if she doesn’t have feelings for her ex. The reality is, it is difficult to open yourself up to someone completely when there still feels as though there are old relationships – ‘relationships’ not friendships – that are getting energy in the way this one is, specifically by talking about how much they miss each other. If this was just a friend, it may be different, but being an ex, the boundaries are different. Be honest with her about how you feel. Let her know that you respect her right to have friendships with other men, but that the texting between her and her ex feels risky for you. Your relationship is still new, and the ground rules, trust and the expectations you have of each other may take some time to establish. Give it time and gentle conversation.

Reply
James

So, here’s a bit of my story. I’m a 34 year old gay man. I recently came out (last year after the gay marriage ruling was announced) and I’ve entered into a serious relationship that’s been going on for a little over three months now. We’ve become really close so freaking quickly, he makes me laugh, thinking of him puts a big smile on my face, he’s so kind, and he’s done wonders for my self-esteem. However… One thing I’ve come to realize since entering into this relationship is that I have quite a bit of anxiety.

When we first started dating it was stuff like “Does he really like me?”, “I’m too fat, he can’t possibly be attracted to me…”, “What if I’m just a rebound guy”, “What if he goes back to his ex?” to “Why hasn’t he called me? Has he decided he doesn’t want to be with me!?” Lately it’s taken the form of “oh my gosh… what if he is with another guy…”, “Does he want to go back to his ex?”, “Did he really have to work over that night or was he with somene else?”, and since I’ve admitted to him I’ve been dealing with anxiety it’s “Oh gosh… What if I’m too clingly!? What if my anxiety drives him away!?”

My mind takes the smallest things and turns them into a giant snowball that crashes through my mind until the next time I see him. Here is one example of how my mind can take something and turn it into something it’s not:

The incident: My boyfriend and I were getting stuff out of the car and he asked me to get a box of coffee off of the floorboard that he got for his dad. I got the box of coffee and noticed a bag of coffee beans and ask if he wants me to get that too (though my hands were pretty full…) He says a simple “Oh no don’t worry about it…” My mind instantly became suspicious and I kept wondering who the coffee could be for. Later, when we left his parents to go back to my house I asked “So who’s this for?” He responds “Oh it’s for me…” My mind instantly says (He doesn’t drink coffee! Why is he lying!?) I say out loud “You don’t drink coffee, why in the world did you buy it?” His response was “I get a bag for free every month (he works at Starbucks), I just liked the bag.” I let it go with him, but my mind is reeling and I keep imagining him buying this bag of coffee for some other guy and start thinking that he’s secretly cheating on me (some history, he was in a relationship with his ex for 5 years who cheated on him multiple times, plus he’s extremely introverted, so the chances of him having an affair are slim to none… Not that I’m saying he couldn’t, because he’s a total catch… just that he wouldn’t)…

Now, granted, this incident happened right after Trump was elected, so my anxiety was ramped up to the max because of that. I literally laid next to him in bed crying quiet tears because of my anxiety about the stupid coffee, but also because of my anxiety about my anxiety and how stupid my thoughts were. I told him when he woke up that morning that I had some anxiety issues that night, but I was too embarrassed because of the ridiculous reason to tell him about why.

When these nonsense thoughts are going through my head, there’s the other half of me screaming “You’re being dumb! Stop doing this to yourself! He hasn’t done a single thing to deserve this!” and a majority of the time, it’s not like this. But these times keep cropping up. Most of the time they’re done and over with quickly and just being with him calms me down, but I hate dealing with them at all… Even for brief periods of time… and I don’t want him to start feeling like I’m some burden or that he can’t come to me when HE needs support.

Since I’ve come to realize the level of anxiety I have, I’ve started thinking back about my life and have come to realize that I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long time, and it’s a primary reason for so many of the problems I’ve had. I didn’t come out of the closet until I was 34 years old and it’s because of my anxiety. I believed, with all of my heart, that I would lose all of my family and friends if they knew I was gay (which is ridiculous considering my family that matters, and all of my friends are generally fairly liberal when it comes to social matters…) When I finally came out I didn’t get a single negative reaction, but I realize now that fear of being discovered was the form my anxiety took before I came out.

I now know that it’s been a constant weight around my neck that has kept me from being happy, and frankly, I’m tired of it. I am so happy right now. I love my boyfriend so freaking much, I have a good job, I’m finishing up school, and I have a great support system behind me. I just want these stupid thoughts to go away and leave me to my happy life.

But… I’m not sure exactly what to do to control my anxiety… Should I talk to my doctor about medication? Go to therapy? Medidate? I’d love to know some healthy ways of dealing with this stuff without being super clingy to my boyfriend and driving him nuts with unfounded paranoia and a constant need for reassurance (trust me… he gives me plenty of reassurance that he loves me in the form of little presents here and there, touch, words etc…) What are your suggestions? I’d love some advice.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

James I love the insight you have around the role your anxiety is playing in your relationship. There are some really powerful ways to manage anxiety https://www.heysigmund.com/anxiety-without-medication/. Medication is one way, but even if you do speak to a doctor about medication, it is important while you are on medication to do the things necessary to strengthen your brain against anxiety. There is so much research about the benefits of mindfulness and exercise. They change the structure and function of the brain in ways that can settle anxiety. Here is one that explains how mindfulness works https://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/, and exercise https://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. It’s also really important to understand why anxiety feels the way it does. Here is an article that can help with that https://www.heysigmund.com/dealing-with-anxiety/. All of the anxiety articles are on this link https://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/anxiety/. There is plenty of info there, so take your time over it, but the ones I have given you are probably the best ones for you to start with. I hope this helps.

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James

Hi, Im 20 years old, I have generalised anxiety disorder and I started going out with my girlfriend 7 months ago.
My problem is that recently I’ve begun to feel anxiety about the relationship and commitment of it! I don’t know why I’m feeling like this because I truly love this girl, shes so amazing and supportive and we have a wonderful time together, even when I’m feeling anxious about the relationship, its never as bad as when shes around. So why do I feel the way I do? I’m sooo frightened of losing her and especially worried that the only way to rid myself of this anxiety is to end the relationship but that just worsens my anxiety, makes me even more physically ill and just makes me so upset! I’ve been afraid of telling people this incase they say that I should end it!
I just can’t believe I feel this way now, we’ve had such a wonderful relationship so far and want it to keep going! Any suggestions or thoughts? I have started mindfulness meditation and am hopeful about it! As I said I do have GAD and have suffered with anxiety most of my life so its not like it all started when I met her, far from it!

Reply
James

I should note after reading over this that I meant, my anxiety is never as bad when shes aroud! As in i do feel better with her!

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

James I’m so pleased to hear that you are practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can be a really powerful way of training your brain to come back to the present when you need it to. Anxiety tends to pull minds into the future – ‘What if I lose her?’ ‘What if I mess things up?’. Remind yourself to focus on what is happening now. The truth is that none of us really know what is going to happen in the future, but the more we try to control that, the more we might struggle. Right now, you are with an amazing girl who obviously thinks you’re someone pretty wonderful too. Surrender to that and be present with that truth, because it is the only one that matters right now. When you start to feel yourself stumbling with the ‘what-ifs’, slow down, breathe strong deep breaths (it calms down the nervous system and enlists the part of your brain that is able to think clearly and rationally and calm down big emotions) and focus on what you have now. Perhaps have a sentence or a word that can anchor you – whatever feels right for you, but perhaps something along the lines of, ‘I am safe and I am loved’. What you focus on is what becomes powerful, so try to be deliberate in focusing your mind on what you have, rather than on what might happen. The more you do this, the easier it will get. It sounds like a wonderful relationship, and you sound like a wonderful partner who is very deserving of someone special.

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James

Thank you for your reply, I really appreciate it! I really want this relationship to work out, more than anything, but just can’t figure out why I’m going through this anxiety! I’ve read that the things I feel are actually quite common but I wasn’t aware that they were and because of my GAD I tend to let things blow up in my hear appear far worse than they actually are! So I am confident about the mindfulness but Im aware its not a quick fix so patientemce is key!
Thanks again, and to anyone else reading this I wish you all the best of luck with your issues! 🙂

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Sarah Garcia

Its only when I’m in a relationship that I remember how anxious I can be, and these behaviors and thought patterns arise. At the slightest sign of a problem, I get so insecure and scared of losing my boyfriend that I need constant reassurance and become threatened by anything that is time away from me and our home (work, friends, etc). Even though I love how independent he is, and respect that he needs and wants some alone time, its hard for me to give it to him. Instead I want him to shower me with attention and spend all his time with me so I feel secure. I try to calm myself down, so I don’t sound too needy or possessive, but its hard. The more I act fine and let him have his space, he actually is more affectionate and loving, but its still hard to control my thoughts all the time and not feel stressed and sad about things I’ve invented in my mind.

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Michelle

This article has been really helpful and actually answered some of my biggest fears, but there are a few things I am still worried about.
Currently I am in a happy, 2 year long distance relationship with an amazing loving guy who I think may be the one. Around the end of August, I told him how I felt and was delighted to find out he felt the same. However, a few days afterwards I started having these doubts and worries about whether I love him or love the idea of him, or if it’s just lust, whether we will work out, etc. It continually got worse. I lost sleep over it, would go into hysterical melt downs, and a few times got close to cutting ties with him. But honestly I don’t want to lose him, and these thoughts scare me. I’m thinking there may be an outside source influencing my stress and anxiety (college and distance) but I am worried that my heart may be trying to tell me something. I honestly don’t know. Some days are good others aren’t as much. For example I’m currently looking into getting some Christmas shopping done for him (I need to look early on since it takes 3 weeks to ship to him) and sometimes I wonder whether the things I choose for him are just forced because I might not love him and I just want to get him something to make him happy is all, and not really in the spirit of celebrating Christmas together.

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Shelby

I feel like I’m ruining my relationship constantly thinking I’m not good enough pretty enough smart enough and always doubting myself. I always tell my bf when I’m having anxiety and he doesn’t understand why I feel this way. I’m afraid he’s going to find better or lose interest because I’m pushing him away with my anxiety. He says I’m not but I feel like it’s really affecting our relationship

Reply
Scott Quitadamo

If you feel it is affecting your relationship with your BF, it is affecting it, no matter what he says. Most people are wired to be nice to others. To make them feel good. So he’s probably not going to tell you it’s a real bother because it’s probably just a nuisance right now. But by letting you off the hook he is enabling your behavior. Almost encouraging it. And that means it may get worse over time. Eventually he will say something about it but by then it might be too late.
I cannot tell you how to fix it but I can tell you from experience that it’s not going to get better until you let go of the strong fear of losing him for any reason. Accept the fact that all things in life are impermenant. Like it or not, that’s the reality. Don’t concern yourself with what might happen. Anything “might” happen. Just worry about what “is” happening. Remember, you need to constantly make the distinction between your reality and reality itself. Don’t read into his behaviors. I spent a lot of wasted time thinking X means Y. It does not. X = X.

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Mittens

I have both bpd and crippling anxiety. And it’s destroying my life and relationship. Reading this has helped a lot. My boyfriend is really lovely. Supportive, kind, loving, smart, gorgeous, knows about my mental health issues and still loves me all the same. We’ve been together just over a year and a half, we’re long distance from September to about April for university, with visits every 6-8 weeks. I love it. I love him. But lately, the butterfly stage ended and I’ve been having troubling thoughts about if I really love him as much as he loves me, if I’m worth it, and loads of dreaded ‘what ifs’. Reading this article has really helped me understand what I can do other than just bombard him with “lets do all these couples’ therapy things to bring back my butterflies”, and I do think it can help. But I also know it’s easier said than done and I’m so scared I’m going to ruin everything. I love him and want to be with him, I want a long enduring marriage with him one day (which we’ve talked about briefly), and I want the butterflies back. I don’t want to lose him. But my anxiety is making me crazy… crazier I should say

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Shauna

Thank so much for this article. I’ve had severe anxiety for almost 4 years and it’s just getting worse. I worry about everything, everyday as well as daily panic attacks. Ive been with my boyfriend for over 5 years now and I feel my anxiety is not only tearing me apart but our relationshup and life together as well… I try to just rememeber everything will be okay. I’m gonna try to keep all of this in mind. Thank you again. -Much love

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Jg

Oops I meant or how do I fix this with him…I don’t want a sec9nd relationship to be ruined by anxiety…I had anxiety before and I got over it but recently I had a anxiety moment and since then I let it control me and my boyfriend that I’m with currently has not seen this side of me that’s why we fight so much lately..

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Jg

Hi …I’ve been so thankful to read your posts and articles…but I’m in a relationship and anxiety is killing it…I don’t kno what to do…he says I need to get out of this funk I’ve been in because it makes him mad and he don’t want to be mean but he said I wish you would just stop thinking everytime we do something you hv anxiety and you will die…and i want him right by my side all the time…and to be honest I hate it too I just want anxiety gone because I want my life and relationship back….what do I do or tell him to fix this?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Let him see that you are working on your anxiety. Meditation, exercise, diet, sleep – they are all really powerful and can help to strengthen and protect the brain against anxiety. Decide which ones you will try and be consistent with doing them. Meditation and exercise are the big ones and have been proven by tons of research to help with anxiety. With exercise, try for 30 minutes, five times a week. And with meditation see if you can start with 10 minutes a day and work up from there. If will be much easier for him to support you and give you what you need if he can see that you are also doing things to help with your symptoms. Have a look through the articles on this link. They will explain why meditation and exercise are so important and will also have some other things to try https://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/anxiety/. All the best – hope this helps.

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Liz

I am in my first relationship for over 10 years and since being diagnosed with anxiety.

It is so good to see that all my worries about being in a relationship with anxiety are perfectly normal. I know I need to be honest with him about it all but he suffers with his own mental health issues (ptsd) and don’t want to put pressure on him.

Any advice?

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Britt

Hi I have been dating my boyfriend for a little over a year. He is literally everything I’ve dreamed of in a man. I came from two toxic Relationships that failed. Due to those past relationships I find myself getting anxious about old problems thinking that my bf might do those things to me and he’s never done anything that would make me question his intent..But of course My mind starts going into overdrive with thinking of him leaving me, not being attracted to me and so on. Is there anything I can do to stop my anxiety going to these extreme levels. It is mentally draining and I’m sure its the reason why I have depression.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Try to establish a regular mindfulness practice, or any time of meditation. Mindfulness has been found by an overwhelming amount of research to change the structure and function of the brain, so it is more able to cope with negative thoughts and feelings. Here is a link with articles about mindfulness that might be helpful for you https://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/mindfulness/. This isn’t a quick fix, but there is no quick fix because the patterns of thinking that are keeping you stuck have taken a while to build. Try to start with at least 10 minutes a day and work up from there, eventually getting to at least 30 minutes a day. Mindfulness is a way to train your brain to let go of negative thoughts before they become negative feelings or negative behaviour.

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Phil

Hi have just read this article .
I have been with my partner
For 13 years
I love her more than anything in the
World. We got married this year
In Greece it was the most beautiful
Day of our life .
We have two children which I love .
I should be the happiest man on earth .
But I can’t sleep at the moment
I am so frightened of something happening it is taking over my life.
I can’t find myself to trust my
Wife,
Even though we have just got married?
And been together for 13 years .
I’ve looked through her phone
And even listened in on conversations.
I hate myself for doing this but
I just can’t seem to stop . I have
No real reason for this that I can explain , if she goes out at night I am beside myself with worry (anxiety) or jealousy. It’s not making any sense I don’t even have a reason for this ?
I’m almost trying to make her
Leave me
But if that happened I would be heartbroken.
I know she loves me
But I just can’t help myself.
I hope it is something that can be
Made better because
If it doesn’t it will
Destroy our marriage.
Please help .
Should I see someone?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Phil if you feel as though the way you are feeling is really intruding on your life, it would definitely be worth speaking to a doctor or a counsellor to bring things under control. If it is anxiety that is driving this behaviour, it is definitely manageable.

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MV

Hi!
I have been together with my boyfriend for more than a year, he suffers from anxiety…apparently it triggered from his parents -out of the blue- separation and financial issues. Things were great, until a couple of months ago he started not sleeping and worrying about money problems and that I might be losing interest in him (which is concerning bc i’m madly and deeply in love with him)…he tried councelling for while but then stopped. Finally he told me he wanted a break from our relationship. After that he’s been twisting good memories into bad in our relationship to justify this time apart but then he comes back like clear-headed with reality but I don’t know what to do to help him!

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Ask him what he needs from you. Does he need space? Reassurance? Does he want the relationship? Does he want it to end? It sounds as though there are a lot of unknowns here. There probably are for your boyfriend too. This can be a scary thing for both of you. Work through it slowly and be ready to say what you need, and listen to what he needs.

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Aria

Hi ,I’ve just come across your artical ,and I just want to thank you fro publishing such and informed and helpful piece 🙂

I’ve been dating ym bourfriend coming up three months ,and have always been a sufferer of anxiety .However it wasn’t until one comment my mother said ,that my anxiety came up in this relationship .Both my partner and I arent keen on PDA ,and my parents not knowing this at the time came out with “Oh ,it just seems youre not really into him ”
Because I dont publicly displaye my effections .Ever since then that thought has constantly been running around in my mind .scared that I don feel anything or enough ,its got to the point where my anxiety is just controlling me ,and Im so tired of it ,and sometimes Its made me close to breaking point (cutting all ties) and yet every time I think about doing it ,I just cant it makes me feel sick ,and almost hysterical .When I’m with him ,my anxiety or worry almost totally goes away ,he makes me laugh so much ,and theres such moments created that leaves me smiling for days .And yet ,I just wish I knew how to get rid of these doubts ,replaying on arguements and thinking that their breaking points ,and just relax and enjoy the moment and the time spent with him .
Any suggestions would be great 🙂
Thank you ^^

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

If your boyfriend feels wonderful to be with – which is what it sounds like – then that is enough. It is definitely enough! Your relationship is still in its very early stages. You are still learning about each other and learning how to be with each other. You don’t have to have all the answers yet. This is a lovely stage for any relationship. Learn about each other, explore your relationship and let things unfold without trying to label them as ‘enough’. He sounds like a wonderful man. It may be that your mother was curious, concerned, or looking for reassurance from you that this was what you wanted. That’s all okay, but don’t make her questions your questions. You are seeing this relationship from a completely different side. You are experiencing this relationship from the inside. Your mother is looking at it from the outside. Your views are completely different, so it’s important to be clear about which is her view and which is yours.

When the doubts come up, bring yourself back to the moment. They are dragging you into the future, and taking you away from the truth as it is now. Ask yourself – how does he make me feel now? How do I feel now? Do I want this relationship now? The greatest protection for this relationship or any relationship you have is knowing when to leave the opinions of other people at the front gate. That doesn’t mean that you don’t listen to them, but listen and then decide for yourself. Enjoy this wonderful relationship you’ve found yourself in!

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Jason

Hi , I was married to the love of my life. When dating she told me she was on antidepressants and said she didn’t need them anymore. She has a history of cutting out all her hometown friends. Cut out all university friends etc. I was going to be the person she could love and trust. After getting married she would have these outbursts and irrational thinking, and would attack me. Example…she was shaking and shaking her fists telling me I was toxic like all her relationships and she could only count on her parents. Her father even told me she thinks black or white. I insisted on counselling…1 counsellor said she had BPD, 2nd councillor said she was anxious preoccupied. When I read about BPD I became frightened especially if starting a family. Was told Bpd couldn’t be fixed, and after reading your article…maybe it was just anxiety that could be treated, and this saddens me if this was the case.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

The symptoms of BPD (borderline personality disorder) and anxiety are quite different. Anxiety can be managed, but this only would have had the potential to change the behaviours that were actually driven by anxiety. It’s possible that not all of these behaviours you describe were. It’s impossible to say without knowing more, particularly when two counsellors diagnosed two very different things – and anxiety and BPD are very different. People generally don’t let go of important relationships without fighting hard for them first. It sounds as though you did that.

Reply
Vincent bufis

I am full of anxiety I have lits of pain which causes more anxiety
I dated a girl last year we didn’t get along because of her drug problems we used to fight which gave me more anxiety
Recently about 2 mobs ago we started e seeing each other again she is off all that terrible drugs she was on and dtoing
we’ll buy we had fit 2 week ago my fault also Moy just hers sh bing up on me she got over it as I did things were going good with us now even though fight is over but my anxiety with her is back I don’t wanna Blane her we are very intimate sonetimes I feel I should leave her but so unsure I just don’t remember my anxiety being this bad
I have had it for like 7 yrs
Any suggestions thank you

Reply
Eva

I suffer with anxiety and I’m feeling that it’s obstructing my relationship with my boyfriend. We love each other but I always have these thoughts that my anxiety will be the thing that breaks us apart. My anxiety causes me to get nauseous whenever it’s triggered and I’ve ruined dates and had to go home. I’m definitely going to keep this article in mind thank you

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Emma

I’m in a long distance relationship with a guy I met when I was 14, we’ve only just started dating recently and over the years when we’ve been friends, i’ve noticed a connection. I used to suffer from GAD when I was younger and constantly worried about everything 24/7. I start university tomorrow and I feel like it’s triggered these anxieties within me again, I keep doubting my relationship and thinking I want to break up with him but whenever I think of doing it I get very upset. A week ago I was happy with him and everything was great, is it just the anxiety or am I truly doubting my relationship? I can’t really decipher between my real thoughts and these negative ones anymore. I can’t sleep or eat it’s upsetting me so much.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Emma the key for you is to stay in the moment when you start to get your anxious thoughts. Anxiety pulls you into the future, and sets you to thinking about all of the possible ‘what-ifs’. Rather than labelling your thoughts as good or bad, try looking at them without having to analyse them or judge them. Let the thoughts come, and then let them go. Sometimes the more you fight your anxious thoughts, the more they’ll fight to hang on to you. You’ll find some articles on this link that will have information about why being mindful can help with anxiety, and also ways to practice it. https://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/mindfulness/

Reply
Mia

Hi Emma! I know exactly what you are feeling because I have had the same. Would you like to chat maybe? If so I can give you the email… let me know :))

Reply

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Separation anxiety can come with a tail whip - not only does it swipe at kids, but it will so often feel brutal for their important adults too.

If your child struggle to separate at school, or if bedtimes tougher than you’d like them to be, or if ‘goodbye’ often come with tears or pleas to stay, or the ‘fun’ from activities or play dates get lost in the anxiety of being away from you, I hear you.

There’s a really good reason for all of these, and none of them have anything to do with your parenting, or your child not being ‘brave enough’. Promise. And I have something for you. 

My 2 hour on-demand separation anxiety webinar is now available for purchase. 

This webinar is full of practical, powerful strategies and information to support your young person to feel safer, calmer, and braver when they are away from you. 

We’ll explore why separation anxiety happens and powerful strategies you can use straight away to support your child. Most importantly, you’ll be strengthening them in ways that serve them not just for now but for the rest of their lives.

Access to the recording will be available for 30 days from the date of purchase.

Link to shop in bio. 

https://www.heysigmund.com/products/separation-anxiety-how-to-build-their-brave/
The more we treat anxiety as a problem, or as something to be avoided, the more we inadvertently turn them away from the safe, growthful, brave things that drive it. 

On the other hand, when we make space for anxiety, let it in, welcome it, be with it, the more we make way for them to recognise that anxiety isn’t something they need to avoid. They can feel anxious and do brave. 

As long as they are safe, let them know this. Let them see you believing them that this feels big, and believing in them, that they can handle the big. 

‘Yes this feels scary. Of course it does - you’re doing something important/ new/ hard. I know you can do this. How can I help you feel brave?’♥️
I’ve loved working with @sccrcentre over the last 10 years. They do profoundly important work with families - keeping connections, reducing clinflict, building relationships - and they do it so incredibly well. @sccrcentre thank you for everything you do, and for letting me be a part of it. I love what you do and what you stand for. Your work over the last decade has been life-changing for so many. I know the next decade will be even more so.♥️

In their words …
Posted @withregram • @sccrcentre Over the next fortnight, as we prepare to mark our 10th anniversary (28 March), we want to re-share the great partners we’ve worked with over the past decade. We start today with Karen Young of Hey Sigmund.

Back in 2021, when we were still struggling with covid and lockdowns, Karen spoke as part of our online conference on ‘Strengthening the relationship between you & your teen’. It was a great talk and I’m delighted that you can still listen to it via the link in the bio.

Karen also blogged about our work for the Hey Sigmund website in 2018. ‘How to Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Children and Teens by Understanding Their Unique Brain Chemistry (by SCCR)’, which is still available to read - see link in bio.

#conflictresolution #conflict #families #family #mediation #earlyintervention #decade #anniversary #digital #scotland #scottish #cyrenians #psychology #relationships #children #teens #brain #brainchemistry #neuroscience
I often go into schools to talk to kids and teens about anxiety and big feelings. 

I always ask, ‘Who’s tried breathing through big feels and thinks it’s a load of rubbish?’ Most of them put their hand up. I put my hand up too, ‘Me too,’ I tell them, ‘I used to think the same as you. But now I know why it didn’t work, and what I needed to do to give me this powerful tool (and it’s so powerful!) that can calm anxiety, anger - all big feelings.’

The thing is though, all powertools need a little instruction and practice to use them well. Breathing is no different. Even though we’ve been breathing since we were born, we haven’t been strong breathing through big feelings. 

When the ‘feeling brain’ is upset, it drives short shallow breathing. This is instinctive. In the same ways we have to teach our bodies how to walk, ride a bike, talk, we also have to teach our brains how to breathe during big feelings. We do this by practising slow, strong breathing when we’re calm. 

We also have to make the ‘why’ clear. I talk about the ‘why’ for strong breathing in Hey Warrior, Dear You Love From Your Brain, and Ups and Downs. Our kids are hungry for the science, and they deserve the information that will make this all make sense. Breathing is like a lullaby for the amygdala - but only when it’s practised lots during calm.♥️
When it’s time to do brave, we can’t always be beside them, and we don’t need to be. What we can do is see them and help them feel us holding on, even in absence, while we also believe in their brave.♥️

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