“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, it comes from wanting to control it.” ~Khalil Gibran
Relationships always cause anxiety for me, and I know it stems from my childhood.
As a child, I would often silently say what I said and listen to it in my mind to evaluate whether I had said something stupid or wrong. I was always afraid that I would say something that would offend someone.
Middle school was one of the most difficult times in my life. My low self-esteem, low self-esteem, and desperation for approval from other children made me an easy target for bullies.
To make matters worse, an authoritative person in my life told me: “If I were your age, I wouldn’t be your friend.”
I always believed there was something wrong with me, but at that point I was convinced that even if they really knew me, no one would like me, let alone love me. was But I also felt very alone in my little bubble of self-loathing and envied popular kids. Likeable children. They didn’t seem too sticky or awkward, and seemed to fit in easily.
Thus began the inner battle. As I’m sure you all know, I experienced a deep desire to feel watched and secure alongside a fear of being judged and rejected.
As I got older, I found myself getting into all sorts of unhealthy relationships. I’ve dated emotionally unavailable men, befriending other women who were emotionally hurt and self-defeating, thinking they were less likely to criticize me, but whose behavior made me feel like I’m not. I emphasized that I’m not worthy of love.
I was always afraid they were mad at me. that i did something wrong. Because they might find me too poor and eventually walk away.
And it wasn’t just my close relationships that made me feel insecure. I also experienced deep anxiety when I was around their friends, like when we all went to parties or bars. Everything felt like an act or a test, and I was afraid of failing.
I was in constant fight-or-flight mode, trying to numb my anxiety in social situations with alcohol. More times than I want to admit, I’ve ended the night drunk only to wake up the next morning hearing humiliating stories about not remembering what I’ve done.
Ironically, this put my relationships in jeopardy, mainly because people had to babysit and care for me when I was binge eating and drinking for fear of rejection.
Maybe you can relate to the extreme anxiety I felt in relationships. Or, for you, it may be less debilitating, but still worrying.
Whatever your personal experience, perhaps reading these six things will help. These are things I wish I had understood sooner.
1. Your insecurities may not be limited to this one relationship.
Even if the other person says or does something that makes you feel insecure, it’s likely that your insecurity stems from your past, as it did to me.
We all form attachment styles in childhood. Many of us become insecure and attached as a result of growing up with untrustworthy caregivers who are abusive, neglectful, or do not respond to our needs. If you often feel insecure in your relationships, you may be stuck in the patterns you formed as a child.
2. If the other person is emotionally unresponsive, it is not your fault and it is not in your power to change them.
It’s tempting to hold yourself accountable for their actions, and if you do everything right, they will give you the love you crave. Conversely, you may constantly blame yourself when they back down. you said something wrong or did something wrong.Or you are just you—because you mistaken.
However, people who are emotionally drained have a painful past that makes them behave in such a way. It started long before you and will probably continue even if the strain of undue tension inevitably breaks the relationship.
Instead of trying to win their love and prove you’re worth it, remember that you deserve love that doesn’t require effort. And it’s worth the wait to find someone who will give you their full attention.
3. Things may not be what they seem.
Some people are really looking for an easy way out from a distance, but other times they just think they are.
Fear of abandonment often causes us to overthink the little things and assume the worst. We overanalyze text messages, worry about changes in tone and facial expressions, and generally look for signs that we may have offended someone. But it’s quite possible that what you’re worried about has nothing to do with you.
They probably won’t text back right away. They are I’m afraid to write you “wrong”. Maybe something happened and I haven’t called you recently. Consider that whatever you interpret as evidence of impending refusal, it could all be wrong.
4. Anxious behavior can produce self-fulfilling prophecies.
When you’re feeling insecure, you can become clingy, controlling, or arguing over minor issues, making you feel ignored or rejected. All of these behaviors can cause someone to become withdrawn. I can’t count the number of times I’ve assumed that and caused unnecessary drama. i felt anxiety, someone did something let me feel in this way.
Everything changed when I realized I could choose to stop, acknowledge how I was feeling (and why), and react from a place of sober awareness.
If you can recognize when you’re agitated, you can practice adjusting your nervous system through things like deep breathing, rather than inadvertently pushing the other person away.
5. Often the best thing you can do is sit with your anxiety.
This was hard for me. When we feel anxious, we instinctively seek reassurance from someone to ease it. But that means my peace depends on someone else’s words and deeds.
At the end of the day, we have to believe that our relationship is strong enough to handle some conflict if it really goes wrong. And if our relationship is not strong enough to last, it was Strong enough to handle it.
6. When someone keeps their distance, it can actually be in your best interests.
People with an anxious attachment style often try their best to keep the relationship going, even if someone isn’t good for them.
In my twenties, I cried at night about emotionally abusive men. Among them were some blessed friends, who ultimately wished for more. Others, the men I was dating, thought less of me than I thought of myself.
The wrong guys always left me because I didn’t see my worth and I wasn’t strong enough to break up with them first. And the pain was always excruciating. Because it emphasized that I was unloved in the same way I had feared all along.
It can be painful for someone to bring up the scars of being abandoned in the past, but allowing the wrong person to walk away is the first step to believing that you deserve more.
I still suffer from relationship insecurities from time to time as I am deeply hurt. I don’t know if it will go away completely. But I have come a long way and I know I am much stronger now.
I also know that when I inevitably feel that familiar dread, my pounding heart, that feeling of dread, that induced shame that races through my quivering veins, I will love myself through it. I don’t judge myself, don’t put myself down, or tell myself I deserve to be hurt. I may fear that someone will abandon me, but I will not abandon myself no matter what.