How to Stop Anxiety from Destroying Relationships
There is lots of information out there about how anxiety impacts our health—mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Anxiety can cause panic attacks, feelings of fear or feeling totally out of control and overwhelmed, and a general sense of unease and tension. It can take over your thoughts and cause problems in other areas of your life.
But have you ever considered how anxiety can destroy relationships with those closest to you?
It could be if you are feeling tension or facing problems in your relationships that it is being caused by your anxiety and it could be putting your relationship at risk!
Below I have listed some of the ways anxiety can cause problems for you and your relationships.
1. Anxiety breaks down trust and connection …
Anxiety can cause you so much fear and worry that you can’t see clearly what you need at that time and in that situation.
It can also make you less aware of what your partner needs. If you are too concerned about what could happen you are less aware of what is actually happening. If your partner sees you stressed and upset it can affect them and make them feel you are less present in your relationship.
So what can you do to help this? Well, you can train yourself to live in the moment.
If you notice thoughts that are causing you worry or concern and therefore cause 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 act. 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 hesitation
People who suffer from anxiety sometimes find it hard to express their true feelings.
Feeling anxious is never comfortable so you may try and put off people or situations you know are going to make you anxious.
Other people feel that when they get anxious about something it needs to be talked about straight away, when in fact taking a step back and accessing the situation could be the way to go.
If you don’t express what you truly feel or need, anxiety becomes stronger and anxiety destroys relationships. Plus, your emotions may eventually spiral out of control if you keep them in.
So acknowledge how you feel sooner rather than later. A feeling or concern doesn’t have to be the end of the world or a major disaster.
Talk to your partner with kindness and calmness and they will be more open to helping you and therefore calming you and your mind down. Anxiety can be draining and even exhausting, which is stopping you from living your life to its full potential.
3. Anxiety causes you to behave selfishly …
Because anxiety can sometimes be an over-exaggeration of a situation and can cause you to become selfish and self-absorbed.
Your worries and fears may be putting unnecessary pressure on your relationship.
If your partner also experiences anxiety, you may build up resentment towards them and react in selfish ways as well, because you put your needs and feelings over theirs.
Yes, it can be hard to keep your own stress levels under control when your partner is also stressed and it could indeed accelerate the situation as you become more and more frustrated with each other.
You need to take care of your needs and not your fears! When you notice yourself becoming fearful or defensive, take a moment, take a breath, and have sympathy for your partner and what they are going through.
Try to calmly speak to them. Ask them for their support and clearly explain what is going on for you, but by the same token, ask them what is going on for them.
4. Anxiety is the opposite of acceptance …
A healthy form of worry will tell you “something isn’t right” Everybody has heard of the expression “Gut feeling”, well this is a true reaction to anxiety, we get knots in our stomachs. The body is telling us we are stressed and anxious.
Anxiety causes you to reject things that are not dangerous and avoid things that might benefit you. It also can stop you from taking action to change things in your life that are hurting you because it makes you feel hopeless or stuck.
Practice being comfortable. Try not to stress or overthink an uncomfortable thought.
Sometimes your partner just needs you to be there and sometimes you need exactly the same thing. By voicing this calmly and thoughtfully you will find they respond in a far more positive way.
5. Anxiety can rob you of joy.
If we spend most of our time feeling anxious and stressed we can miss out on so much life has to offer.
I’m not saying anxiety is an easy thing to deal with, it’s not. But if you can become more aware of yourself, your triggers, and people around you, then maybe in time you can learn to deal with situations and people differently.
Try not to take yourself so seriously ! Breath, give yourself a “time out”, walk away, and count to ten in your head. Whatever you need to do to stop yourself from escalating.
Finally, I’m here to help. I specialise in recovery from anxiety, depression, and trauma. Feel free to contact me and we can have a free consultation and work out how we can deal with what is going on for you.
Jimi D Katsis Bristol-based consultant psychotherapist specialising in recovery from trauma, depression, and, anxiety.