Fix Me, Save Me, Help Me, Rescue Me

PICT0096.JPGMy friend and colleague, Carrie, and I were talking one morning about how one of the most challenging – and often more rewarding – aspects of our work is helping clients break through the wall of resistance that prevents them from taking full responsibility for their well-being. On the surface, it looks like all of these clients want to feel better – otherwise why would they be in therapy? – but resistance works undercover and often comes out through the backdoor. While they want to feel better, they don’t always want to do the inner work that will allow them to feel better. And it’s even deeper than that: they may want to want to do the work, but when their resistance is iron-clad, as thick as the Great Wall of China, it wields all of the power. They are powerless. Until they’re not.

Here are clues that you’re avoiding responsibility and stuck behind a wall of resistance:

1. Your focus is almost exclusively on something external. This can take the form of being single and tortured by the question of whether or not you made the right decision to leave your partner, or being with a partner and ruminating on one aspect of the relationship that isn’t filling you up. For sufferers of relationship anxiety, this resistance takes the form of perseverating on the question of whether or not you’re with the “right” partner.

2. You’re obsessed with a single question that occupies a significant amount of your time and energy. This is usually an intrusive thought, but can appear as an obsessive question like, “Should I have another baby?” or “Did I make a mistake?”

3. When you’re honest with yourself, you realize that you want someone else to fix your life (your mother, father, partner, friend, or therapist).

Let me say a few words about this last point. I work with many people in their 20s and 30s who struggle with the transition of becoming an adult. They kick and scream and fight against not only the aging process but, more importantly, the growing up process. For me, a simple definition of adulthood is the willingness to take responsibility for all aspects of our lives that create well-being: financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, relationships, caring for a house, etc. This resistance to growing up shows up enough, regardless of whether or not the person comes from a loving family or is carrying mother and father wounds, that I’ve come to see that it’s speaking to a bigger, cultural failure. Because we don’t guide our adolescents through this most crucial rite of passage, giving them the initiatory experiences, rituals, and ceremonies that will grow them into adults, they arrive at age 18 or 25 or 33 clinging to the vestiges of their adolescent identity. This isn’t their fault. It’s difficult to fully become adults – or any next identity – if we’re not shown how to do it. For this I don’t have a solution as it points to a culture-wide and tragic gap in providing the time-honored rituals that are necessary for mature movement through each life stage. But I say it here to relieve some self-blame that inevitably arises when the topic of resistance comes up.

Regardless of the specifics of the resistance story or the underlying reasons why it has a stronghold, it’s entirely possible to break through it and begin the work of reclaiming your life, and I have worked with many clients who have been able to do just that. Clara, who commented on this post and spoke of her breakthrough moment, was one of them. (Her one-hour interview can be found in the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety E-Course). As she wrote:

I know that after 18 months of wading through deep, thick, desperate despair, it was when your message (that healing begins when we become willing to take 100% responsibility for our own recovery) finally landed in my soul, and I finally became 100% willing, that I turned the vital corner in my journey, and with unbelievable momentum I became well – almost as if propelled up out of my thick fog of depression and anxiety by a holy jet stream. It seems a remarkable paradox: that when we accept complete responsibility for our healing – without even demanding God’s help – it seems a great universal healing force rises to meet us, revealing that while we must be responsible for ourselves, we are actually not alone in this after all.

What allows clients to break free from the grip of resistance?

1. Name it.

We can’t change something that we’re not aware of, and for many people simply realizing that they’re in resistance helps them to shift out of it.

2. Pray.

Even if you can’t seem to stay with the inner work but you want to, you can prayer for help: “Please help me commit to my own growth. Please help me take responsibility.” And by the way, religion doesn’t own the copyright on prayer. If you have post-traumatic God syndrome, pray to your own higher self. Pray to the Universe. Pray to the ocean, to life force, to healing. You don’t even have to believe in the power of prayer. Do it anyway.

3. Harness Your Inner Loving Father.  

This is the part of you that says, “I know you don’t want to do it, but we’re doing it anyway.” The healthy inner Father is decisive, clear-thinking, firm with love, and doesn’t indulge in resistant voices that say, “I don’t feel like it.” It’s the parent who says to the child, “I know you don’t want to go to [piano, martial arts, acting] class, but every time you go you’re happy you went, so we’re going anyway.” This is not the part that forces someone to do something that is truly not in their best interest, but rather the part that is connected to highest good and pushes through the resistance in service of that aim. It seems that we all have a fundamental laziness that is part of being human. The ego never wants to change. The ego clings to what’s easy and familiar. The ego loves to sit in front of the television for a Netflix binge-fest instead of getting up and going for a brisk walk. We must act against fundamental laziness until the new, loving habit takes hold.

Working with resistance is, perhaps, one of the hardest elements of healing. And while it’s important to recognize that sometimes there’s wisdom in resistance, it’s equally important to keep working with it, patiently and with commitment, until a window of light opens inside. Because the bottom-line, tough-love truth is that nobody is going to save you: not your relationship, not changing partner, not a different job or house or city, not your parents, not your therapist. As I wrote about last week, there’s no escape hatch for life. So we must bring awareness to all of the tricky ways that resistance takes hold – the thoughts, the propensity toward laziness, allowing ourselves to become swallowed up in intrusive pain – and then find and grow those stronger, inner parts that are working in service of our wholeness and healing.

59 comments to Fix Me, Save Me, Help Me, Rescue Me

  • onedayatatime

    After a difficult night of being “in it” in a way I haven’t in a while, your words and this community are what is keeping me going right now. Sort of lets me know that it is possible that these feelings and thoughts aren’t necessarily true. That just because I can choose how to respond and react it doesn’t mean I am ignoring the other outcome or in denial. Your last few articles have really delivered a message and the resistance is so hard because I lack so much self trust. “Made up people” opinions and words that enter my brain also get in my way. I know I have needed to soften into the feminine energy (I have struggled with feeling feminine enough including thinking my body looks feminine enough) but I also love the balance of the inner father which I have been needing so much of lately. Lots and lots of gratitude. I am also grateful for feeling gratitude right now lol!

    • onedayatatime

      Also, along with not feeling feminine enough I have also felt shame for or been cautious of being ‘too” feminine!

    • What a wonderful comment to receive from you! I’m delighted to hear that something is moving through and allowing you to open to gratitude and further insights.

  • Liz

    Ahhh! Sheryl, I love you! Can I say that? Haha. Thank you for this post. Slowly, but surely, I think I am beginning to work through my resistance. I know I asked you to think about writing something for those who have left a good relationship and are still grappling with it, and I felt like this post definitely touched on that, as well as hit the nail on the head with what I’m experiencing now as I try to move forward. Thank you, as always!

    As a side note, last night I went back to the previous blog post and answered Rebecca’s questions. Rebecca, if you are out there, I didn’t forget about you! 😉

  • Clara

    Sheryl….this post is hitting home today so hard and is exactly what I am going through. I am 23 and newly married and even though logically I don’t want to resist to adult life, the resistance is strong within me and I can feel my anxiety rising. I came from a very loving family, but my mother did always “save me,” so to speak from anything that troubled me…emotions, problems, etc. I now find myself putting that on to my husband, wanting him to save or rescue me from my internal torture. I become so focused on 1-2 Problems with our relationship and literally cannot let them go. It’s so frustrating for me and I know it is for him as well. I think part of the reason I create “fights” over these issues is that I crave the “in love” feeling and want it always…I am resisting learning to accept the flow of married life and that it’s not always pretty, perfect or exciting. I need to let myself feel and accept the mundane, but it is hard. Thank you for putting words to this state I am in though. It makes me feel relieved and hopeful!

    • maggie

      Hi Clara. Thank you for sharing. I am 32 and a newlywed, and I feel exactly the way you do. This post was, again, on point! Before I read this I had just come to the conclusion that my ego is holding me back.

  • I can't go on, I'll go on

    Sheryl – I just want to tell you how utterly grateful I am to you for all of your work. Your blog posts always make me feel safe and understood. And every week they help renew my resolve to do the work. Finding you has been such a gift. I wish I could hug you!

    PS – I did Trust Yourself last year and hope to be returning soon!

  • Alissa

    This was really hard for me to read. My short 4 year marriage is very close to ending because I have made some huge personal changes. I was a rescuer, a ms. Fix it, and I was always always there for my husband without thinking of my own needs. I am no longer the parent. My husband is still the child and, even with individual and couples counselling, is not willing to change 🙁

    It’s been so hard and sad for me…..ton let go of a marriage that does not serve me well 🙁

    • Have you tried EFT couples’ therapy? It’s Sue Johnson’s work and it’s the only form of couples’ therapy with scientifically proven positive results. Unless it’s an abusive situation, which it doesn’t sounds like it is, I would strongly encourage that you leave no stone left unturned before walking away.

      • Alissa

        Yes we have tried EFT. He is extremely resistant to change, does not take self responsibility for anything and blames me for everything. I used to take it and give more to try and fix the situation. I can’t do that anymore. I need a partner who is my equal and respect me for me….not only for what I can do for him 🙁

  • Findingpeace28

    Thank you for this, Sheryl! I love the bit about even if there is resistance, and it isn’t exactly understood, just naming it for what it is, is a start. The hard, yet most difficult truth to settle into is “No one is capable of saving us from ourselves.” When I lean into this truth, as disappointing and painful as it is, it’s liberating to know that if I allow it, if I can continue to do this work, externals won’t make or break me. I hope to continue doing the inner work to build up my loving adult, and at the same time, recognize that as uncomfortable as this journey has been, I have faith that there are lifelong lessons that are being learned through the pain/uncertainty.

  • Rachael

    I just don’t know how to do this. I have accepted that my boyfriend loving me or finding me attractive won’t make it true or won’t complete me. I understand that love comes from the inside to begin with; however, I don’t know how to start this journey. I don’t know the steps to take to find myself and love myself. Every day with my partner gets me closer to saying I love you, but the words won’t come out because I am scared that I can’t mean them. How do I start the journey of self love and self acceptance.

    I want to be open to accepting my own responsibilityou

    • N

      Hey Rachel,

      I left a message for you on the Intrusive Pain blog about how I was doing so far on the course. Have you looked into taking it? I STRONGLY recommend it. This journey is not going to be easy, and its not going to be overnight (so I have told myself over and over), but so far the journey has been very therapeutic. I am constantly trying to turn inward and there are things that I have noticed that I do or think that I never thought could be the reason for anxiety. As Sheryl has said many times in her blog, its a journey and it takes TIME! But, you must be willing to do the work. Have you tried journalling, meditating, practicing mindfulness? Even if you google how to do all of these.. it will HELP in some way or another. Breathing is also huge.. *Breathe in your intrusive thought and Breathe out positive words such as ‘love’, ‘acceptance’, ‘serenity’, ‘trust’ etc.* .

      I am also having a bit of a hard time actually believing that this journey is all about me and nothing to do with my relationship because my ego is trying to tell me different, but I keep pushing through it because if I didn’t truly want to be with him, I wouldn’t have found this website and I would not have spent so much time and effort into reading the blogs or practicing what Sheryl speaks of. I am still working.. but I know that with time it will get better!!!

      You have started to accept your own responsibility for the anxiety by simply reading the blogs… now try to turn inwards and go from there.. be sure not to take everything literal… our minds are sooo complex that it is not simply “black or white”.. it’s just our inner Self telling us we need work in there (mine most likely is related to me and my eating disorder, me being fearful of the uncertainty, me being fearful of loss and death, me having grief over no longer being single etc).

      • This is such a thoughtful, compassionate reply, and thank you for taking the time to share the wisdom that you’ve learned so far. I have no doubt that, with time and continued commitment, you will continue to learn how to break free!

      • Rachael

        Hey N,

        I’ve looked into it, and am thinking of taking it once I have a bit more money. I’ve been struggling with this for about three years, but the partner I have now is the only person I would want on this journey with me. I have actually started journalling; I write down 5 things I did, 5 good things about the day, 5 things I’m grateful for and 5 things I plan to do tomorrow. I try and start each day with positive thoughts and breathing out the stress of yesterday. I love the concept of breathing out the intrusive thought, and breathing in the love etc! That’s amazing & definitely something I’m going to start practising.

        I managed to sort through some intrusive thoughts by myself the other day, me and my partner were both so proud! Part of me had been worried about my own self love, and I managed to figure out that part of me having self esteem was taking responsibility for that. Him telling me I was attractive wasn’t going to make me believe it, I had to do the work to make myself feel beautiful from the inside.
        I really hope to take Sheryl’s course as soon as I can afford it. I’m turning 22 next week, so I really want to start self love and acceptance when I’m young so I can imprint it onto my eventual children in the future.

        • N

          Hey Rachel,

          Completely understand– I believe there is a payment plan to help out.. I was unsure about the cost, but last week when I had the hardest day of anxiety (I had a break from my boyfriend because my ego told me to) I decided enough was enough and went for it.. I am in Canada too and the $ is horrible right now..so it cost a lot more loL! BUT.. I don’t regret it for a moment.. I am just going to cut back this month on makeup or going out lol.

          At least you are aware that the thoughts are just intrusive thoughts and they do NOT hold any truth to them.. they are rather just your inner Self telling you that you need work inside… I found it hard to believe otherwise, but as I approached them with curiosity and tried to explore them a bit more with an open-heart I was able to see that there was more to it (ex. I am experiencing grief about no longer being “single”.. when I explored this last night while journalling I found myself writing about how being engaged and getting married means that I am no longer “young”, as in I no longer can turn to my parents all the time for comfort or guidance.. I would be an official grown-up.. and that I would become a wife and need to turn to my boyfriend for all of that.. I would miss living at home and not seeing my parents and siblings everyday etc.. It didn’t just mean that I would miss the idea of being single).. when you’re journalling feel free to be as open as you want to be and not as structured (UNLESS you want to be structured then absolutely!).. Sheryl talks about journalling with no guidelines and then journalling with some guidelines, for example she encourages talking to your inner Self, or inner parent, or your ego, or your fears etc..

          It is great to hear that your boyfriend is aware of what is going on and he is being supportive… I think that is amazing! My boyfriend is the same and it makes me realize how amazing he is even more!!! But, be sure to explore the reason why you are hesitating to say “i love you”…maybe it could be you are afraid you are going to get hurt or that you’re going to hurt him! Maybe you were hurt in the past or that you found when you were younger that you had put yourself out there and were rejected (by friends, teachers etc).. who knows.. that is for you to explore!! Just know that you are NOT alone.. anxiety lives within all of us.. especially us highly-sensitive ones… I couldn’t believe how she described my personality to a T when she talked about who is more prone to anxiety… I constantly worried growing up, I had anxiety before, I am highly sensitive (especially compared to my siblings), I compare myself to others etc!!

          You are going to do great Rachel.. just keep reading, keep learning and keep turning inward (and to your boyfriend)!!

          • Rachael

            Hi N,

            Tonight I almost said I love you, but I looked deeper into it. And there are thousands of reasons why I refuse to say it to him. I am ultimately scared of saying it and not really meaning it, of it being too soon and me merely being infatuated… this is the ‘easiest’ relationship I’ve ever experienced. The depth of security, warm and laughter is amazing. I just question myself all the time,it’s frustrating

  • Nicole

    Sheryl,

    I can’t begin to explain how much I thank God for finding this website in the depths of my anxiety. I felt so lost, so depressed, so heartbroken and I didn’t think I would make it through. I’ve taken the Break-Free course, I’ve journaled, I’ve started yoga, I’ve prayed, I’ve meditated, I’ve read lots of books you’ve recommended, I’ve sought counseling, I’VE WORKED SO HARD to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so grateful to have stuck out my relationship and this work. I knew from the beginning that we had something special-and even though I’m nowhere near being done with this work, I already feel SO much better after months of struggling. So thank you! I’ve learned so much about myself, love, and my relationship. Forever grateful!

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl,
    I hear you Sheryl, And i can relate to the part when you said about laziness. I have been lazy and I can be lazy. But when it comes to my relationship my marriage. I decided to get off my butt and do the work. It was hard initially but I kept going, moving forward and I am so proud of myself that I did. Yes, anxiety is painful, its frustrating, its exhausting. I have always had the attitude to keep trying in my life. If you dont keep trying nothing will change. I have done all your amazing and inspirational courses. I believed in you Sheryl in the midst of my dark days. Everything takes time in life. Patience and peserverance are my strong points because of my suffering with relationship anxiety for so many years, i decided to make a change and if I didnt commit now, then i would still remain stuck. Thanks a million Sheryl

  • Greateful Warrior

    Thank you so much for this. I have been struggling with taking responsibility for my life for years. I’m in my late 20s and still trying to “get it together”. This article gave me and explanation for why I am the way I am. A light bulb went on. I’m so ready to do the work and grow up. To stop complaining and just take action. Thanks Sheryl!

  • Angela

    I wanna express one important key point, I have learnt is that KNOWLEDGE from you Sheryl,, isyour anxiety is cut in half. Once you understand whats causing relationship anxiety. The more you read Sheryls work the more it changes your mindset. Knowledge is power this is where you relax and dont fear of it anymore. You actually laugh at it. I believe this course works for everyone. It dosent discriminate.

  • MohTA

    Thank you Sheryl,

    I feel you have a power to read in what is in my mind and maybe others at the moment and just write amazingly about it!

    Resistance is tough and painful, and reading your article just gives a great sense of relief (even if temporary) and hope that “the stuck place am in now, despite the work, has a name.. resistance”!

    And I’d like to share another feeling that some others may feel like me now.. that when you are “the person” that suffers from the resistance you are talking about, a relief comes, directly followed by a thought like “yeah, but even with this resistance thing, am different, am more than this, it seems to be true for me rather than only resistance, am suffering more than others and more than being only resistance needs to walk over”, and this thought AFTER understanding resistance is really painful! and what i want to say is that actually this thought seems to me now like simply another form of resistance! 🙂

    It seems it is a tricky format of resistance that comes because am still not taking the full responsibility and not fully firm in dissolving the resistance out! so am bringing it, or allowing it to appear, to myself!

    So let’s keep trying to “name it” as you mentioned in whatever format it appears with, pray it and letting always our Parent Self to stay in picture to talk with it as wisely as it needs!

    • This is all so well-said, as always. Yes, resistance comes in layers and layers, each layer more tricky than the last! It sounds like you’re on to its tactics and are well on your way to calling this layer onto the mat and regaining your power.

  • gareth

    Sheryl,
    I’m taking control of me but Netflix is strong-ish!
    My single biggest challenge is coming up against my Gift of dyslexia and having to figure a new Coping strategy, as my head spin’s it’s all to easy to ‘let go & Let Netflix!!’
    ‘hearing’ your words (using explorer’s Narrator) has helped me realise I started to develop a strategy but never finished!
    hence use of Narrator, my spiritual side has been surfacing more and more and now I need self tuf-love to insure meditation happens more frequently and Netflix less frequently 😎
    thank you.
    Gareth.

  • Paul

    Every relationship has been plagued with uncertainty and I have to decide today if my girlfriend and her daughter will be moving in with me or finding an apartment. I woke up early feeling trapped and like I’ve been lying to prolong this relationship since day one. Faking it ’til I make it, if you will. I’ve dug myself deeper and deeper, keeping my doubts to myself for fear of ruining a relationship that, for all practical purposes, is pretty great, were it not for the pervasive feeling that there’s something better for me somewhere else.

    I don’t know if it’s more mature to say I’m gonna suck it up and keep trying to love or to say she deserves someone who feels about her the way she does about me.

    This site seems to suggest the former.

  • FinallyGettingThere

    I really love this article, totally spot on. And I think quite timely, I always see other people say that but I have never been able to say that myself. Since I started taking full responsibility of this anxiety I have seen a massive shift. You have had made me realise this Sheryl, and not only that but my older brother has too. He has a heroin addiction and hasn’t been taking full responsibility for his own issues, he used to blame others and would never take responsibility. Watching him like this made me realise one thing, he will never grow until he takes full responsibility. This is when I realised, I need to take full responsibility for my anxiety, I have grown up blaming others with everything and anything. I realised it was time to grow up, take responsibility and own it. Moving out with my lovely man at the age of 22 has definitely made me take responsibility of my whole life.

    I strongly believe in this work. I think it’s amazing. I have done the concious weddings e-course & open your heart. Both of them have been beneficial for my growth and are worth the investment. I’m SO glad I didn’t leave my lovely man. I am in such a great place right now. It might not be forever but I am confident I am more likely to stay this way for longer. Strongly due to the fact that I can actually name the fear, and feel the fear, rather than thinking there is something wrong with my relationship or my boyfriend. I took FULL responsibility. I took responsibility for all the thoughts, and beliefs I have had in the past, I took responsibility for the way I was resisting towards my boyfriend, I took full responsibility for the way I was feeling. It was all down to me. Nobody else. Even though I have had times where I have felt this is SO hard and I wanted to walk away, something told me not to. Something told me to stay and do the work. And I am so glad I did. Well, I am still doing the work now. I am feeling free of anxiety most days now, hardly any at all. I know it will come back but I know I can tackle it.

    I am okay with knowing that love is not a feeling we get. I strongly agree that it is the commitment we show and the times we show up when we don’t feel like it, that is real love. I have been feeling a lovely feeling of contentness (not sure if that’s a real word), and it’s not massively dramatic, it’s not really high or really low. It’s just content, it’s calm. Just because I don’t have much anxiety anymore it doesn’t mean I don’t love my boyfriend, it means I have accepted my relationship for what it is. Healthy, loving, strong, full of commitment, loyalty, laughter, friendship, giving, trusting, just so many good qualities because it is real love and a real relationship.

    I strongly believe in this work, even if I have had times where I thought I should leave or that it isn’t what it seems and a load of poop ( I did think that at one point im not going to lie). it really is a god send and I can’t praise you or the moderators on the forums enough. Thank you so much. You are amazing. The struggle was definitely worth it.

    • I’m blown away by your comment, especially in light of the comments you were leaving on my site just a few months ago. Wow. You’ve taken this fear-bull by the horns and are demonstrating what it means to grow up. I’m inspired, impressed, and deeply delighted by your growth!

    • N

      fiballyGettingThere,

      I loved your post.. It is something to Re-read and know that eventually wth time I will be in the same boat.

      Do you have any advice or tips on how you took FULL responsibility? I know I need to do this and thought I had done so? But I find that often I get this gut feeling (my ego) trying to tell me that “nope, it’s actually that you don’t love him and shouldn’t be with him… You’re only with him because you feel guilty”…. I notice the fear and I do acknowledge it, but I have not bee able to identify where it’s coming from! I am practicing mindfulness, meditation, journaling and now a gratitude list every day to help me turn within. I find that I constantly compare myself to others, I judge others as well (so I’m trying to see why I do that.. Has something to do with me and how I don’t like my body)…. But how or what did you do that you FINALLY took responsibility? I try telling myself.. BuI’m to my ego dislikes that!!

      Thank you!

      • FinallyGettingThere

        Hi Sheryl,

        I’m touched that you are inspired and impressed by my growth because you are an inspiration to me! You have been through this too and understand what it feels like. I really have done a lot of work and have been so patient with myself.

        Dear N,
        I am so happy that my post is something to re-read. I used to screenshot other people’s comments when I first found this site. I used to screenshot the comments that gave me hope. I’m not really sure if I have any advice or tips on how to take responsibility. I’m not really sure what I did. I just kind of realised one day that it wasn’t his fault the way I was feeling, he was doing nothing wrong, he was just trying to love me as best as possible, so I realised for anything to change, I have to put the work in and really help myself. Nobody can help me but me. I started to see a therapist and she really helped, she told me that if I didn’t do the work she told me to do after our sessions then I would not see a difference. I knew that she was right from experience because as a teen I had therapy from someone else. I didn’t do the work he told me to do so just blamed it on him and assumed that it wasn’t ‘working’. And years later I never changed, I was still the same. So I chose to take action and see what would happen. And also due to the fact that my dad made me see that it wasn’t about him and only me. My dad said these exact words ‘it has nothing to do with him or the relationship. It is all within you! You are the problem. You have been like your whole life. And you need to put a stop to it. It is NOT about him and it is about YOU.’ And then I realised he was totally right.

        I used to have thoughts of ‘I don’t love him. I’m just with him for the sake of it.’ Obviously, I know now that is not true. I think I realised not to believe the things fear would say. Because often times it didn’t make sense. One day I could feel so happy and then the next feel terrible and feel like I should leave. That didn’t make sense. I realised it was time to be an adult and think rationally rather than what my ‘gut’ was telling me. Your gut isn’t always right! It can be wrong too. And besides, I wanted to be with him. Even if someone would tell me I didn’t I love him, I still wanted to be with him. So I chose to be with him. And realised this is my decision, nobody else’s. I may not love him now, but I most certainly will once I have done all this work.

        Journaling and gratitude lists really helped me. I still haven’t mastered meditation. I didn’t really like it. But I guess it’s not for everyone. I found the things that helped me and haven’t looked back.

        You sound like me a few months ago. It sounds like you want to work at this,which is a good sign. And surely very loving too. Just be very patient! Try not to get annoyed when you have a relapse. And tell yourself it’s all okay, and give yourself a hug. You will start to believe everything is okay. And I believe it is!!

        • N

          Thank you!!!!

          That made me feel a lot better (even though I know that no one else but ME can make me feel better or do the work for me). I am definitely going to continue the work.. I refuse to believe that within three years of my relationship that all of a sudden I don’t love him anymore, or that I am settling… I think it’s partly that this year I know there is a good chance he Is going to propose… but it’s something I am working on finding out!!

          I continue to tell myself it’s not him and that its within me.. I just hope that one day to go back to not feeling like this… Even though I have felt tremendously better within two weeks of this course!!

          I will continue to read your post… Thank you!!

  • alison

    Wow, perfect timing as usual, Sheryl. I have been feeling some major resistance this past week in the form of daydreaming about some fantasy guy that would be “easier” to get along with than my husband. This came about after an argument we had where he really challenged me–it seemed silly at the time but it was over the manner of my driving, which can at times be a little aggressive and careless. As my husband expressed his concerns with me I immediately went into wounded child mode where I felt I was being chastised by a parent and I lashed out. At first I just accused my husband of being a jerk, but I know it’s because he worries about my safety. Now I realize that this fantasy guy I’ve created is someone who wouldn’t challenge me at all to grow up or take responsibility, and that’s the whole appeal because growing up and taking full responsibility for myself has been the greatest challenge for me so far, instead of relying on my mother and subsequently on my husband to take care of difficult things for me.

  • Katherine

    Sheryl,

    I have been following your work for about two years now, and it has been a major part of my transformative journey. I have finally embraced focusing on taking care of myself and loving myself. After a few years post-college working in administrative office jobs that I don’t enjoy, I am in the process of taking yoga teacher training (LOVE!) and applying for social work graduate schools–things I never considered before I encountered your work. So thank you, from my heart, for all that you do.

    One of the things I am struggling with now is how my own personal journey, of which I am extremely proud, has impacted my partner. We have been together since we were 15, and my anxiety was triggered a few years ago when he told me he wanted to join the military. That idea terrified me, and I spiraled into anxiety for the first time in my life. Just yesterday morning I woke up before yoga teacher training and had a moment of clarity when I realized I could succinctly explain all of my anxiety, tears and confusion from the past few years as a fear of 3 deaths: I was afraid of my boyfriend’s literal death, the death of our relationship, and the death of my independence if we became a military couple. Because I didn’t understand that we don’t have to attach to our thoughts, I felt all the pain, suffering, anxiety associated with those three deaths all at once.

    My loving, sensitive, amazing partner listened to my and comforted me. He supported me as I worked through all of this, and sadly, he stopped talking about his dreams because he saw the pain they caused me. Now he is very depressed, which breaks my heart. Of course, I never wanted to hurt him, and I had to experience all of those feelings to learn so much about myself. But I am so, so sad that he feels like doors are closing on him just as I feel so many opening. I wish he could have a similar awakening experience, but I know his journey has to happen in its own time.

    I am sharing this because in this moment I am feeling acutely aware of how we can unintentionally hurt people we love. My fiance doesn’t blame me, and for all I know he might be in the same exact place regardless of any of this. Life and relationships are works in progress, but now I know 100% that it is worth it. I agree with FinallyGettingThere that this work and struggle are worth it! There is no easy fix though–this is the work of a lifetime. I am so grateful for the wisdom and guidance that you send to my email box each week.

  • L

    Hi Sheryl I love your post, I needed it right now…
    I have a question that no one has been able to help me with. Do you believe that because I feel guilty about some of the things I did in my past karma wise all the good things that I have now will be taken away as a ponishment? I have delt with that all my life, fearing that if I accept this good things and this wonderful husband I have fully, because of my past wrongs life will take all this love and good away from me to punish me. Could you please help me understand this a little more with your own understanding of life and love?
    God Bless you.

  • R

    The book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield is all about resistance. It relates more to creativity than soul work, but can definitely be applied across many forms of resistance. For just as many forces conspiring to help you when you want to get your act together, there’s just as many if not more pushing against you. It’s ultimately your choice which ones to engage with.

  • Becky

    Sheryl,
    when I told my therapist that when I don’t feel happy around my partner and when I feel dull I begin to wonder whether we’re right for each-other she told me “It is not your partner’s/parent’s/child’s job to make you happy. In fact, no one can MAKE you happy, same way no one can make you depressed (it is what you tell yourself that results in specific feelings). It is you who is responsible for your life and the role of partner is to be a good company in our journey of life. You can travel to the end of the world by yourself but it is nicer in company, even better in good company, but in the end it is YOU who is in the drivers seat and partner could be the one who’s handing you coffee, reading the map and adjusting a good radio station.” So I think she was just saying – take a responsibility for you life and your emotions and enjoy the ride with a good and supportive partner that you have, right? I’m very happy when I hear something like that and then you write pretty much the same things in your blogs! Blessings

  • Chrissy

    I keep having dreams that something is wrong with my boyfriend. Like something is buying him.

    Does exercising help rid yourself of anxiety in the long run?

  • Scared

    Sheryl I’ve been in a relationship for about 2 years now going on 3. Recently I’ve been questioning my love for her. but recently I’ve felt numb towards her. And there’s this other person who I’ve became friends with and whenever I’m around them I don’t feel numb, if anything I feel happy. This made me question if i should leave my partner for them. I don’t want to leave my partner, she’s the greatest person. And I was happy towards the beginning (Yet I still had annoying doubts) but now I can’t shake this other person out of my head. I keep questioning whether I’d be happier with them. But I don’t wanna be with them. It’s terrible. It’s a battle everyday in my head.

    • Anna

      I can’t advise you what to do, but maybe this might help you a little bit. From my own experience, I know that when I was anxious and questioning my love, it was almost as if my love was completely gone, and when my anxiety went, my love came rushing back. It hadn’t been gone at all; it was just temporarily suppressed because of my constant stress and worry.

  • silver

    I feel so guilty in this relationship. Very resistive to change, keep telling myself that I will but after few days will return to the same old routine even much worse. I’m not feeling in love all the time, an emotional abuser, selfish, immature and lacking of understanding. Very weak when it comes to conflict, I don’t want to fix it all the time. Anger always gets in the way, losing temper in very little strifes. Always one foot out of the relationship, not very caring, stupid and unappreciative when it comes to my partner. Always waiting for days for the fight to subside and let her come to me. Don’t even know how to say sorry when we fight. Taking her for granted unintentionally rather than loving her when I still have her. Scared to death and pained when we experience almost break up. Feel like a total stupid and asshole for being with her. I don’t know what to do, I want to drink all my problems, smoke cigarettes or try to kill myself. I’m broke too can’t even afford ecourses that will help me better, I’m always like this. I might even neglecting who I really am or what I need that’s why this is happening.

    I want to die anyway as soon as possible everything is not going well

    • Silver, are you in therapy? If you’re having suicidal thoughts please contact your therapist or a local crisis line immediately. There’s a big difference between wanting to die because the thoughts are so painful and actually creating a plan to take your own life, but when someone writes something like this on my site I need to respond. Please contact me via email if you need referrals for resources of support that can help you.

      • silver

        No I’m not but I’m talking to some of my friends to ease the thoughts down, trying to shift my energy into something different. Like any physical activity that could worn me out and reduce my anxiety. I think i’m processing a heartbreak state which I don’t know how to handle

        • silver

          It’s not getting any better, I feel like every time that I got happy in the relationship it will stay for a while and there is sadness going to follow or a big conflict. I feel that if I stay in the relationship more it would hurt her too much and nothing is going to change anymore it keeps repeating and repeating

  • Katie

    Hello from paradise,
    I am in Mexico on my honeymoon, and having relationship anxiety/ panic attacks. Two years ago, when I became engaged, I had a meltdown and thankfully found my way to your site. It helped me realize I was not alone. I always intended to take an e-course. But alas, I thought I was better. That’s a lie. I just pushed it all down with the help of that legal weed in Colorado. I married a spectacular man. Kind, patient, funny, intelligent, comes from an amazingly loving family. The type of man I know will be an amazing partner and father. And here I am, in the bathroom of a resort crying. I think it’s too hard to deny these feelings. The other side is, I know the root issues here, and I know I’m a malcontent
    and probably incapable of really ever being happy. I pretty much hate everyone, he can find pleasure in most people/things. I just think it’s be best to let him go, rather than continue to bring him down. Especially if I know (“know”) he’s not the one. That’s what I tell myself. I’ve ruined another memory for us. I’m surprised I didn’t ruin the wedding.

  • MissJ

    Hi Sheryl! I hope you don’t mind me asking, but reading your work has always been a huge comfort and I truly value your advice. I’ve been suffering with depression for just under a year now, and since then I’ve been struggling with relationship anxiety and questioning my feelings for my partner because I just can’t feel anything. Logically I understand that if I can’t feel excitement about things I used to enjoy doing, that I don’t feel anything when I see friends or family- then it makes sense that I can’t feel the love for my partner either. But for some reason this is what I focus on most and is what has me most terrified. Do you think it’s normal to not have access to loving feelings when depressed? I feel like it’s down inside of me somewhere- it’s just that I can’t access it and I get scared what if it’s us that’s the problem and not the mental illness I suffer with?

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl, Why, Why, Why??. Is this culture so fixated with a spark? I know there are times when you meet someone that you think god no, we are completely different but I also believe in giving a person a chance if you see there is a possible future. Just why are peoples expectations so high. Meeting someone on the first date dosent always tell you that your not a good match.