Did you know that anxiety and anxiety disorders affects around 40 million adults in the U.S., alone? As much as anxiety can be difficult for an individual to cope with the sad fact is it can unpick and erode relationships. Anxious people tend to need lots of reassurance and they also tend to avoid situations that make their anxiety worse. Over time these issues can be draining for a partner and almost inevitably this results in conflict.
If there is one single thing to help with understanding and moving forwards it’s communication. Anxiety can result in something of a vicious circle where patterns of emotion and behavior become locked in. There are however some ways to break into the circle and improve the situation. Here are a few words of positivity to help break into that cycle.
Be Honest With Yourself
The first step in making change is to acknowledge a problem exists. As the anxious person in the relationship you have to see that your beliefs, behaviors and emotions are contributing to upsets. This isn’t easy because when you feel vulnerable and defensive the temptation is to blame others for making you feel worse. Now some of these things may, to a greater or lesser extent be true, but this is about trying to get out of the rut you’ve been stuck in and which is possibly getting worse.
Who Matters Most?
Who are the important people in your life? If you’ve been feeling tense rather than happy or relaxed around them, or if you’ve been arguing with them, it may be time to get some things into the open. These important people may not have a clue as to what you’ve been struggling with.
Opening up can lift a huge weight off your shoulders and help them to understand that they aren’t the source of your moods.
Positivity, in this context, is about trying to replace all those angry, intolerant, cutting or defensive comments with something more positive, or nothing at all. If you’ve been defending yourself like this for long periods of time the people around you may be walking on eggshells:
- Use a few compliments.
- Do something nice.
- Ask questions about things you know are important to them.
- Consider the therapies for anxiety.
Bringing those important people back on side shouldn’t take too long, but expect the odd comment about your former behavior back because they may feel hurt. It’s up to you to understand and accept this.
Not All About You
Some anxiety issues can make people very self-absorbed. It can be hard to remember that other people have moods too. Because of this they won’t always respond the way you might like and they may, for no obvious reason, be moody and snappy. Don’t take this as a sign of rejection. If anything, now is the time to step up your positivity. It may mean giving the person space, or making them a drink, or just listening to what they have to say.
Always try to find a time and place where you know anxiety is less likely to matter and rekindle your intimacy.
Remind yourself of the things you like to do and places you like to go. You may have to negotiate a few changes along the lines of,
I can’t do everything we used to do together, but there are still things we can do.
It’s a bridge between doing nothing and something. In turn you may find that your partner asks you questions about yourself, your boundaries and maybe issues about treatment. Your partner may have to come to terms with change and the fact that answers to questions like, ‘how long will you be like this?’ aren’t easy to answer.
These are just a few ideas to consider. Your own situation and circumstances are unique so adapt the ideas and, of course, add your own.