I Don't Have To Tell You Being Both Anxious And In A Relationship Can Really Suck.
But What Can You Do About It?
Step One: Own It.
I'm talking about owning your "thing" and shouldering the work it really takes to start resolving your anxious experience and reducing the burden it brings to your own life and those around you. Learning to rein in your perfectionism, turn off your outspoken internal critic, and relax can give you an entirely new lease on life.
Step Two: Stop Expecting Your Partner To manage Your Anxiety For You.
However, if you're with a halfway decent person with some integrity and you're constantly leaning on them to manage their behavior in such a way as to reduce your anxiety (about where they are at all times, how often they text or don't text you, whoever else they are texting, what they're thinking about, what they're eating, who they're Facebook friends with, who they talk to at work, what they have or haven't cleaned up around the house, whether they cleaned up to your standards, whether you're really the most important person in their lives, etc.), you need to pay attention. These anxious habits have the potential to drive you both around the bend. And apart.
And if jealousy, insecurity, and control isn't the particular form your anxious energy takes (Yeah, you, btw--life is easier without this little bit), but you expect your partner to limit their lives by the limits of your anxious tolerance, we need to talk. If there are places you can't go, vacations you can't take, flights you'll never catch, relatives you'll never see, adventures you'll never have, foods and events you'll never experience, because "My anxiety won't let me!" then your anxiety is closing in on you both. Life is definitely meant to be more fun than this. We can do something about that.
Step Three: On The Other Hand, You Need to Educate Your Partner About Your Experience.
Let them know: a) This is a very physical and sometimes overwhelming experience you don't have much control over right now and you certainly have difficulty controlling it when you're in the midst of it.
b) You know it's yours to learn how to manage and learn to reduce, but their understanding, compassion, patience, and (this point is key) lack of criticism is vital.
c) You may need to take some time out and do whatever healthy thing you've learned to do to calm yourself down, get centered, and back on track again. If you don't have tools like this, we need to talk.
d) There are real reasons you learned to be anxious and it is not a weakness, character flaw, or choice. Overwhelming or disruptive anxiety is a real response to enough specific kinds of stimulation over the course of a lifetime. We learn to be anxious as a coping strategy and we can unlearn it. Yes, it's gotten tangled up with our nervous system, too, but we can also unravel that given enough time.
e) Having an anxious experience of yourself is not about lack of character. And it's definitely not about lack of will-power. Or a lack of personal strength. Some of the strongest people I meet are Anxious Folks. The trouble is you've done your level best, been strong in all the wrong ways for way too long and it's catching up with you.
f) Let them know that for the most part, they're only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Even if you're not currently focused on healing and reducing your anxious experience, you are already deeply engaged in trying to hide it, control it, and minimize it. Remember that last piece about strength? This is what I'm getting at. A lot of the discomfort you experience doesn't even show to others. This is one reason Anxious Folk are on edge and exhausted. It takes a lot of psychic and mental energy to keep this thing reined in and under wraps.
g) Oh! And you'll love this. Only really smart people get really anxious. Ta-da! Your bright problem-solving brain is stuck in overdrive and running away with you. This is one of the more frustrating aspects of anxiety in fact. You're smart enough to solve most everything else, but when you point your big frontal lobe and will power at anxiety it doesn't work and it gets worse.
STEP Four: Get Some Real Help and Support. There's No Need To Drown In Your Anxiety.
Here's the thing, if all it took was a good book and Google to tame your anxiety and bring your nervous system and your life back into balance there wouldn't be an abundance of Anxious Folk. Or therapists, either, for that matter. As it stands, we have plenty of both.
While there may be plenty of marriage and family therapists, there are few people in Orange County and Newport Beach working with holistic, body-oriented psychotherapy approaches and trained to work with your nervous system. This is, however, an ideal combination of approaches to bring to the reduction of anxiety.
Together we can work in just the ways that are most effective at reducing overwhelming distress, cultivating resiliency, and becoming less afraid of the sensations your anxious body is offering up. That, my friend, is a specialty. My specialty, in fact.