UnCharted Path Productions presents: Let's Talk About ...Anxiety In Relationships
Updated: Dec 24, 2022
UPP's Weekly Mental Digest
"Anxiety In Relationships"
by Shari Wilson, Psy. M.
November 11, 2022
Adobe Stock Photo.
Hey Hey Hey HEEEEEEY, Happy Friday everyone! Shari Wilson, Psy. M, your virtual psychologist, here for our weekly talk. I’m sooooo ready so let's get started...
The topic this week is one that I feel so many have personally gone through or someone we all may know has gone through. Anxiety in relationships can be a bit tricky depending on the relationship. Let's take a peek at what that looks like and then how to work through it.
For example, say I have this friend that has become more than that, we have been dating for awhile now and the “L” word has been in full rotation for about 6 months.
Laaaaaaaaaaaawd I think I am in love. WHOA,
Everything at this point has been going great then all of a sudden once I finally accept the fact that I have made myself vulnerable enough to the thought of loving someone but THESE THOUGHTS come rushing in like a flood.
Like seriously, what if they don’t feel the same way that I do? Am I the only one that is in love?
Do I even love them?
What if they leave me?
How am I going to deal with the hurt?
Maybe we need a break?
Wait, do we?
Is needing space and taking a break the same thing?
Are both of those the same meaning as breaking up?
Maybe I need space to clear my head? I think.
Wait, is that what I want?
Were we even really in a great space or was that just me being oblivious? Yep, space is a must…I think.
Well you know we gotta get the technical term, so according to Choosing Therapy, “Relationship anxiety describes someone's anxiety towards romantic partners, family members, or even platonic relationships (though it's not a formal diagnosis). You may look for ways to keep the other person close by clinging to them, or you may push them away, unsure if they feel the same way you do.”
This can be something that is more common than one may think, because to get too close to someone you are literally allowing yourself to be vulnerable to the point that they could get to know you on a more personal level.
But… you know, a lot of forms of vulnerability can leave room for the ‘what ifs’ to happen. It is the ‘what ifs’ that can cause much more harm than good, because you might be filling the fear of the ‘what ifs’ with all the wrong things, to potentially protect yourself from something that was not even an issue. But it is that ‘what ifs’ that can bring on the anxiety to get super clingy which can lead to mistrust and snowball from there. OR it could be the other way around which could lead to you needing some space. The anxiety can cause you to sabotage something that could have been a good thing.
What are a few of the signs?
Feeling vulnerable is NOT A BAD thing. There are times when allowing yourself to be open, can lead to you being hurt, BUT even in those situations they can still be a lesson learned.
Possibly what to allow?
When being open is ok?
What do you want in return?
You can literally set the standard for what you REALLY want and then who's to say that when you allow yourself to be vulnerable that you open yourself up to one of the greatest relationships you’ve ever had! Just allow yourself a second to process WHY you are feeling this way?
What could be bringing on the anxiety?
Once that is pinpointed, we can address what you are anxious about and talk through the situation.
Fight or Flight
In the aspect of what anxiety can look like, you can become clingy. Just imagine, you are minding your own business, thinking the relationship is going fine and dandy and BOOM, you are getting the 3rd degree due to them wanting to know every move you make AND why you’re doing it. This wouldn’t be so bad IF this was something you agreed on before, you know like always knowing each other’s whereabouts and such, but for it to come all of sudden, you would start to look a little sideways, right? Like where is this coming from? This might result in the need to return the questioning and have a rebuttal to their new found clinginess (or what we would call the fight) OR you would start to push back, if they are being too extra and seeking the need for some time apart or space (which would be the flight).
Either way, COMMUNICATION IN THIS ASPECT IS KEY. What are we even doing here? When the ‘what if’ starts to swarm in, let it out. Try redirecting your thoughts or thinking positively. Unless you have proof of your feelings, don’t let them hold value. This will help you to not have to use that fight or flight due to the fear of the ‘what ifs’. Working on trusting each other will help to soothe some potential triggering moments.
In moments where anxiety can come through at what feels like out of nowhere, just know that those triggers are opportunities for you to identify what is bothering you and talk about it. Talking about WHATEVER IT IS, doesn’t give you the opportunity to fester. And anyone you are building a relationship with should be willing to chat with you about what is bothering you and filter through those emotions. It can seem intimidating at some points but know that the more you communicate, the less of an opportunity there is for you to be anxious about something in your relationship because you’ve already talked about it and have gotten clarity!
You got this and I believe in you!
Having a healthy relationship takes WORK, and working through some issues you may not have even known were there until they sneak attack you is DEFINITELY part of that work and this will is SO worth the reward!
Welp, that was a great chat! Talk to you next week!
About the writer:
Shari Wilson has a genuine heart to listen to anyone who shares their experiences, traumas, or just life in general. She studied at Purdue Global University, acquiring her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis and Addictions Psychology in 2016. On the path to furthering her studies, she received her Master of Psychology in 2018 from Purdue Global University. Since then she has been enamored with the ability to use her education to help others through difficult times.
She is a Consulting Psychologist for UnCharted Path Productions, working on the upcoming psychological thriller series titled, “Hidden District”. She is a mom of 3, a wife, and an amazing friend to those around her. If you would like to get in contact with her regarding a counseling session, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or her Instagram.
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