“I Married the Wrong Person”

Whenever a theme arises in my weekly work with clients I know it’s important to write about it here. Last week the theme was: “I married the wrong person” or “It would have been easier with someone else.”

One of the most important tasks for those on the road to awakening is to notice all of the ways that we try to avoid pain. For those of us on the sensitive-anxious spectrum, the primary escape-hatch from emotional pain is to climb up into the safe chamber of the mind where a virtual orchestra of intrusive thoughts catches us by the heels and twirls us around on the merry-go-around of mental torture. The thoughts change in what I call the “anxiety whack-a-mole phenomenon“, which is why it’s essential to become keen to the tricky ways that our minds think of increasingly more convincing thoughts as a way to avoid … Click here to continue reading...

Social Anxiety and the Cocktail Party

While flipping through one of my favorite bedside stand-bys, Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion, I came across the following passage and chuckled out loud:

“My experience is that I can feel that I’m in the Grail Castle when I’m living with people I love, doing what I love. I get that sense of being fulfilled. But, by god, it doesn’t take much to make me feel I’ve lost the Castle, it’s gone. One way to lose the Grail is to go a cocktail party. That’s my idea of not being there at all.” p. 76

I smiled thinking about my audience of highly sensitive people who also struggle socially (not all HSPs struggle in social situations, but the vast majority are introverts so social challenges come with the territory). I smiled thinking about all of the times I’ve stood at a party feeling so … Click here to continue reading...

A Christmas Tale of Woe

Note: I write about my parenting experiences not only to show by example how to honor deep feelings in children so that those feelings don’t morph into anxiety but also to illustrate what it looks like to tend to our own difficult feelings. If you don’t have children, I invite you to put yourself in the place of the child in the story and imagine it to be your own inner child. Whether or not you have children, you can read my parenting posts in both ways.

We woke up Christmas morning to a world sparkling in snow with luminescent angel-flakes shining in the morning sun. My body felt rested. My heart felt happy. I was ready to celebrate the day.

But while I was filled with gratitude and love, my boys weren’t so happy. The gifts that my husband and I had ordered a week before Christmas hadn’t arrived, … Click here to continue reading...

Does Relationship Anxiety Ever End?

Among the many questions that dart through the mind plagued by relationship anxiety, the one that can cause either hope or despair is, “Will this anxiety ever end? The short answer is yes: the acute anxiety that you’re experiencing – the one that wakes you in the night and causes you to lose your appetite, will end when you receive accurate information and can douse the flames of “What’s wrong with me?” with a good splash of truth-water. But the shelf-life of deeper layers of the anxiety are directly correlated to your ability and willingness to pull the projection off your partner and take full responsibility for your well-being. The equation is simple: if anxiety is a call from soul to wake up and heal then the depth of our healing is in direct proportion to the depth of our willingness to hear and heed the call.

That said, every … Click here to continue reading...

Falling in Love with Other People

Let’s blow the cover off of another taboo topic in our culture, one that causes my clients to barely be able to whisper their experience loud enough to share it with me: “falling in love” with people other than your partner, including bosses, celebrities, religious figures, and even your therapist.

I’ll start by reiterating something I often express on this blog, which is that I deeply wish that we, as a culture, were more educated about the normal thoughts and feelings that the vast majority of people experience. It saddens me that there are still so many aspects of our inner terrain that remain hidden. I’m not sure where these kinds of conversation need to be happening – perhaps in school or university – but I know that the vast majority of the shame that people feel about their normal thoughts and feelings would be eradicated if they simply knew … Click here to continue reading...