For one thing, when you are tied up in Anxiety, you're not really present to what is going on. Your body can be so overwhelmed with Anxious Sensations and discomfort that you're not really available to notice much else. Add to this the driving, repetitive, negative, intrusive, and disruptive anxious thought patterns and it is difficult to really "hear" anything or anyone. Not really. Anxiety is noisy as all get out. It drowns out everything else. Our Overwhelming Anxiety can create a state that is ultimately pretty self-absorbed. It's no wonder people may experience us as both a little "Intense" and a bit "Disconnected."
Ouch! That stings, doesn't it? For one thing, most Anxious Folks think of themselves as very "Caring" and "Giving," so the idea we're disconnected can seem harsh, to say the least. Particularly when we tend to give and give and give at our own expense. Where's the Win in that?
There's also that bit about being "Controlling." Chances are someone has suggested this to you at some point. "Stop being so controlling!" How can that possibly be, since Anxious Folks are some of the most giving, caring, generous people on the planet? One thing most Anxious Folks are is NICE. The other thing is CONTROLLING. We don't think of all our care-taking and looking out for family and friends as controlling, even while we are using a considerable amount of our time and energy managing other people, events, life, details, and even other people's relationships, in order to make sure everyone gets along, everyone's feelings are considered, no one is upset (because we can't stand being around that--it is just way too stressful!), everyone is healthy and happy, no mistakes are made, everyone is saved from themselves, and the house, kitchen counters, and laundry are done the "Right Way" (i.e. My Way). The world just works better when we are in charge. Ask anyone.
On top of that, Anxious Folks think Love is spelled W-O-R-R-Y. True story. And you know it. We will wear ourselves to a nub "loving" our people. And it can be frustrating for us and for our loved ones when all that Anxious Loving ends up starting arguments, pushing people away, and exhausting everyone. Especially us. It takes a lot of energy to do Love, Worry Style.
When we are deep in our Anxious Experience we may be having panic attacks, avoiding functions, unable to drive, mingle, take chances in social situations, sleep, or shut the heck up about how uncomfortable we are, how worried we are, or what so and so thinks of us. In these moments, we may rely on our partners, friends, and children to help us chill out and to be our ever patient listening ear. We may rely on them much more than we realize, and even more than they realize. Without meaning to, we can burden our relationships with our "Stuff" and our relationships become more work than they need to be. Naturally, there's going to be an increase in irritability and resentment all the way around.
But wait! There's good news. Really good news. Reducing your Anxious Experience is largely an exercise in learning how to be with your emotions, how to be with the sensations of your body, how to self-regulate, without controlling the outside world in order to feel better on the inside. One of the beautiful side-effects of learning how to take care of yourself from the inside out is everything else becomes much easier. Everything. Especially your relationships. On top of that, all that management-style energy and all the work and effort it took to control your Anxious Experience is suddenly freed up. What's the result? Happier people. Happier partners. Anxious Folks who are becoming Formerly Anxious Folks. Big increases in Creativity. Big gains in the Playfulness spectrum of life. Believe it or not. And Peace. Especially peace.
How does that sound?I'm Victoria Wallace Schlicht, LMFT, SEP. Call me. 714.914.5565
"I help people who feel bad feel better."