There is an abundance of information about how anxiety impacts our health—mentally, emotionally, and physically. Anxiety can cause panic attacks, anxiety, feelings of fear and overwhelm, as well as a general feeling of unease and tension. It can take over your mind and affect many aspects of your daily life. You may be able to destroy relationships with your closest friends and family members by worrying about anxiety.
Anxiety could be a factor in your relationship strain. Could your anxiety (or your partner’s) be putting your relationship at risk?
Here’s how and why anxiety destroys relationships, and what you can do to stop it.
1. Anxiety breaks down trust and connection …
Anxiety can lead to fear and worry that can make it difficult to recognize your true needs at any given time. Anxiety can also make it harder to be sensitive to your partner’s needs. If you’re worried about what could be happening, it’s difficult to pay attention to what Is happening. When you feel overwhelmed, your partner may feel as though you aren’t present.
…So train your brain to live in this moment. If you notice a fear or concern that causes your thoughts to stray from the facts or the present moment, pause and think about what you know (as opposed to what you don’t know). Calm down before you rush to act. You can take intentional steps to build trust and respect with your partner. Share openly when you’re feeling worried, and consciously reach out to your partner (physically or verbally) when you might normally withdraw or attack in fear.
2. Anxiety crushes your true voice, creating panic or procrastination …
An anxious person may have difficulty expressing their true feelings. It may also be difficult for someone with anxiety to maintain reasonable boundaries by asking for the attention and space they need.
Because anxiety can be unpleasant, you may subconsciously try and delay it. However, anxiety can lead you to believe that you need to talk about something immediately when in fact, a short rest may be beneficial.
If you don’t express what you truly feel or need, anxiety becomes stronger and anxiety destroys relationships. You can let your emotions run wild if they are kept in. You might become defensive and overwhelmed.
…Recognize it. Be more open to your feelings sooner than you think. A feeling or concern doesn’t have to be a disaster in order for it to be addressed. Approach your partner with kindness, so that you’re neither procrastinating nor panicking. Find some time to work on your fears and thoughts. They are draining your energy and time.
3. Anxiety causes you to behave selfishly …
Anxiety is an overactive fear response that can cause anxiety. This can lead to people experiencing anxiety focusing too much on their own problems or concerns.
Your relationship may be under pressure because of your worries and fears. While you may feel the need to worry to protect your relationship, it could be preventing you from being open and vulnerable with your partner.
Anxiety can lead to resentment and selfishness in your partner if they experience anxiety. Contagious attitudes and perspectives can be passed on to others. It can be difficult to manage stress levels when your partner feels anxious, upset, or defensive.
… so attend Your needs should be considered, not your fears. If you find yourself becoming defensive or fearful, take a moment and think about the compassion you have for your partner and yourself. Ask for the support and love you need. For allowing anxiety to make you self-absorbed, apologize.
4. Anxiety is the opposite of acceptance …
A healthy form of worry will tell you “something isn’t right”; it comes via that quick pull at your heart or that tight feeling in your stomach. This signal allows you to take action, such as when you speak out for someone being treated badly.
Unhealthy levels of anxiety make you feel as though an emotional “rock” is in your stomach almost all the time. Anxiety makes it difficult to accept things that may be dangerous or avoid things that might be beneficial. Anxiety can make you feel helpless or stuck and prevent you from taking positive action to change the things in your life that are causing you pain.
… so practice being uncomfortable. You don’t need to either ignore or obsess over an uncomfortable thought. If possible, take constructive action. Sometimes your partner only needs you to be present with their feelings. Other times, you can give the same gift to yourself. You can show your love to your partner by giving soft eyes and a soft touch. For yourself, you can take a deep breath and be present with your partner.
5. Anxiety robs you of joy …
Joy is only possible when you feel safe or free. Anxiety can make us feel anxious, fearful, or restricted. An anxious brain and body can make it difficult to enjoy intimacy and sex if they are trained to be stressed. Negative thoughts and fears impact a person’s ability to be present within a relationship, potentially sucking the joy out of a moment.
… so don’t take yourself too seriously. To overcome anxiety, you can use your senses of humor. Keep your partner laughing and playing with you. Joy is vital for healthy relationships. It can heal and comfort your brain.
Anxiety can weaken your relationship, but it doesn’t have to be.
Anxiety can be reduced by building trust within your relationship. You can make positive changes within your relationship by understanding how anxiety affects you.
A therapist who is trained in anxiety treatment can help to understand your anxiety and help you stop harming others and yourself.
© Copyright 2022 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Kristine Tye (MA, LMFT), Anxiety Topic Expert Contributor, Permission to publish granted
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