Invite Anxiety to Tea

IMG_6112If anxiety is denied, shamed, or judged, it often shows up at the back door, as what demands to be known will always find its way into awareness for the purpose of consciousness and healing. A backdoor arrival of anxiety often sounds like:

I don’t love my partner enough.

What if I end up alone and destitute?

What if I die?

I don’t love my partner.

My partner irritates me all the time.

What if I never get pregnant?

Why do I call this “backdoor anxiety”? Because these what-ifs and concrete statements that sound like facts are projections, secondary manifestations of root pain that need attention. Relationship anxiety is the distress flare that alerts us to the deeper, hidden pain. Intrusive thoughts, when worked with effectively, are arrows that point the way into the dry patches of our well of Self. When we listen and work with the core pain instead of falling into the trap of following and believing the siphoned-off, backdoor anxiety, we heal at the root.

A client recently talked about Sunday anxiety*. Sunday anxiety is a common experience that strikes many people who struggled with school as a child, or work as an adult (similar to Fall anxiety). It’s the anxiety that hits when we know we have to show up on Monday for a life that currently triggers anxiety or causes us to recall past anxiety. But instead of acknowledging the anxiety directly, my client found herself projecting it onto the familiar screen of her partner’s face and  listening to the well-worn song on the track of her psyche called “Not enough.” She started analyzing their day (were we connected enough), analyzing his face (is it cute enough), and analyzing herself (am I enough). She was able to recognize this as the hypervigilent part of herself: the part that is scanning the horizon looking for the lurking danger.

As we talked it through, I encouraged her to give her character of hypervigilent Sunday-anxiety a name. It’s a character who has accompanied her through decades of life; now it’s time to invite her out from the shadows and make her real so that she doesn’t have to make a sideways appearance, demanding her attention by banging on the backdoor and making a ruckus about her lovely husband. Once she has a name, I encouraged my client to make a preemptive strike, which means instead of waiting for the anxiety to project onto the screen of “not enough” next Sunday, to invite her in through the front door for tea and conversation. Then she can dialogue with her directly and ask what she’s needing. With a loving adult at the helm of the dialogue, do they need to time travel back to those painful Sundays as a child when she knew that the separation of school was on the horizon? Do they need to sit on that single bed together, loving adult and young child, while the child tells the adult her story and buries her head into an imaginary loving shoulder while she cries?

We don’t know what we’ll find when we invite anxiety to the tea-table of psyche, and, thus, it takes great courage to do so. Left to its own devices, the untrained mind will follow any juicy thought to its panic-provoking conclusion. If you’re suffering from relationship anxiety, the conclusion is, “I’m with the wrong partner”. If you’re trying to conceive, the conclusion is, “I’ll never be a mother.” If you’re struggling with health anxiety, the conclusion is, “I’m going to die.” But when we head anxiety off at the pass by proactively seeking it out, we send the fearful and pain-packed parts of ourselves the message that there’s an adult at the helm of the ship that can handle the rough currents. It takes courage to travel into these uncharted waters. It takes courage to trust that you can handle what you find there. It takes courage to become your own friend, the one that can cradle your pain and seek comfort when the pain feels too big to handle alone.

Inviting anxiety to tea means becoming aware of our common triggers, which, for highly sensitive people, are often weekly and yearly transitions like Sundays, May/June (end of school year), Fall (beginning of school year), holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, moving, and, of course, the major transitions of becoming an adult (20s), getting married, becoming a parent, and losing a loved one. These are moments when we must pay particular attention to the churning of old and current pain that these times ignite. But inviting anxiety to tea also means that we develop a daily practice, like journaling or mindfulness, so that we can become more fluent in our personal language, more comfortable charting the storms and eddies of our inner seas. There’s no way to know ourselves unless we spend time knowing ourselves. It’s the class that was never taught in school, but one that we must sign up for now in order to break free from anxiety and find ourselves on a warm and solid beach more often than not.

***

*shared with permission

58 comments to Invite Anxiety to Tea

  • sf

    Thanks for this Sheryl, this has suddenly switched on a lightbulb for another area of my life. Could we say the same for sex anxiety? And if so, how would you approach this?

    I’ve just realised that I’m finding it very hard to tell the difference between anxious thoughts and reality when it comes to sex.

    My partner often triggers my fears around sex but I don’t know if I am being oversensitive and creating “facts” from my fears.

    I often experience him as overbearing, demanding, objectifying and not sensitive or responsive to me (but only about sex, not the rest of the time).

    However, mainly this is when a negative memory or fear is triggered rather than his actual behaviour (which is often as innocuous as a gentle touch on the arm).

    I know that ignoring those signals from my body makes everything worse for me, but when I push him away he feels rejected and that causes problems between us too.

    How can I invite anxiety to tea in this situation?

  • HJR

    Hi Sheryl,

    Will you ever write a article on the transition of moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend? I have always has anxiety but it was when we moved in together that it became worse and the intrusive thoughts are worse, I know this is because it is the next big step, although we have only been living together half a year we are planning on getting married next year. I am petrified. Sometimes I sit there and think maybe I shouldn’t get married at all. Sometimes I am very sure this is the right decision. Sometimes I would just prefer to stay living together and not getting married but I know that would be ridiculous. Sometimes I say I will just go for it but then I will get scared because sometimes I don’t feel like I’m in love enough. I know all of this is because we have moved in together and now marriage is next. Even before we lived together we always spoke about how our plan was to move in together, get married & start a family. Now we have done the moving in bit, the marriage is next! I am so scared.

    Would you ever write an article about this? I think I had expectations on what it would be like to love together. I kinda thought it would be loved up all the time, attraction 24/7, no arguments, wanting to do things effortlessly for eachother all the time etc because before we lived together that is what our relationship was like but now it has slowed down in terms of what it feels like to be in a new exciting relationship and it is not like that now. I am trying to get through the transition so I can feel read to marry but I feel a poet about this would really help. Not just me but others too!

    • Nan12b

      Hey!

      Not sure if you’ve purchased the e course Break Free but if you haven’t, you would definitely benefit from it. Especially that you’re planning to get married next year!

      Xo

  • BB

    Hi sheryl, I love this. I used to get this anxiety around my partner all the time, but as I’ve said before the anxiety has shifted to other things. I am now trying to work with it but I think the anxiety around ‘not being good enough’ is so deeply ingrained with me since childhood that it is going to take time to change it. I can now identify the voices that are holding me back.

    I had a dream of being a jeweller and now that I am actually doing it, whenever I go into my studio I feel depressed and really dread it. I thought it was a sign that I shouldnt be doing it but when I started listening to my mind- it is what I tell myself that creates anxiety, depression, dread. These were the exact feelings I had around my partner aswell! Your site really helped me to transform this way of thinking. Taken at face value, we could make some harsh decisions. Thank you.

  • LightAtTheEnd

    In my throws of anxiety, I took to mindfulness classes, as well as your course. The teacher guided us through a meditation of inviting ‘anxiety’ in the front door just like you article suggests. I think however, that until you have the tools to manage this interaction, it may serve to only intensive the unwanted guests voice, fueling more evidence as to why you should not stay with your partner…I noticed, that at that point (early on in my process), I was not ready to deal with it.I think it was because of my scepticism, fear and believe…that leaving was the only TRUE option for me. Clearly I was not ready to handle the interaction of what my guest might say…
    For anyone is feeling like this, I recommend going through ALL the lessons first. Almost like how you study for an exam. Read, write and engage. For me anyway, it was only after I had all the knowledge, and gained some insight in the tools suggested was I able to handle responding to what my guest wanted to say. I feel so much more prepared to openly chat to my guest, and it’s amazing howuch less power the guest holds.

    • Yes, great point. In order to do this exercise you MUST have a loving parent at the helm of your ship, otherwise you’ll find yourself rocking in the churning waters of anxiety.

  • Rachael

    I am constantly worried that I do not love myself, that I have not loved myself enough to love my partner. And so, for our entire relationship I have denied saying I love you for the untils… meaning, ‘until I can make sure i’m 100% over my ex’, or ‘until I am 100% that this is a real, mature and honest love#, ir indeed ‘until i love myself’ When will these untils end?

    • Waiting for “untils” is a way to keep you safe and protected. If you buy into the fear, you won’t move forward. I encourage you to say I love you despite the fact that your ego is trying to protect you.

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl, I have been having these intrusive the last couple of days.. Am I living a lie. Do I truly love my husband? I’m not feeling anxious, so why I do still feel this way Sheryl?

    • The intrusive thoughts are a flare from your inner self letting you know that there’s something inside of YOU that’s off-kilter. If you can pull back the projection and ask with curiosity what’s needing attention, I have no doubt you’ll find some wisdom.

  • LSK

    Hi Sheryl

    What are your thoughts on the undercurrents of separation anxiety? I have anxiety leaving my partner and going on a plane, for example, or driving far away, particularly all alone. My father died in a helicopter crash when I was five years old, and I know it relates back to this early abandonment, but I can’t seem to peel it back any further in order to effectively deal with it.

    • When you have an early trauma like you’ve had, you don’t have to search far to discover the root cause of current anxiety. Now it’s about tending to your very normal fear with love and compassion, and learning to bring yourself comfort and reassurance on a very deep level.

  • Jo

    Hi,
    What happens when you look at other couples and think they are more in love than you are and that you want to be in love like that. Doesn’t that mean your relationship is missing something if you feeling that way?

    • If you were to invite that voice to tea and have a dialogue with it, what would it sound like? In other words, how would you loving inner parent respond?

      • Jo

        Let me know if I’m on track: as you know I read all your articles and have take a lot of your courses

        I would say: you have no idea what that relationship is like behind doors or if they are newly together. I would maybe say those in love feelings and emotional connection take years to build. I have been married 5 years. Our culture bases it on in love feelings but that is not accurate all the time. I also have to be responsible for my aliveness. I know these questions and thoughts are signs I need to work on my inner well of self and developing a stronger inside inner strength as I rely on outsiders to calm me down from all these thoughts.

        I guess others seems to have these thoughts and questions and not know why. Where sometimes I have reasons I think like I do . Example: wanting to have more of a connection or wanting to have more fun together. But these are not red flags or reasons to leave a good partner. I don’t know if this is also my mind trying focus on small things as a reason to leave. Please help.

        • Yes, beautiful. And how did it feel? Were you able to take in our own wisdom and reassurance?

          • Jo

            It felt good! But then the doubting voice came in asking me about those few issues I did mention in the relationship. Is it ok to have those issues and it doesn’t mean your with the wrong person?

        • There will always be issues with one’s partner. That’s the nature of relationships!

  • michael

    I know for me the Sunday blues are a very real thing. Sunday is usually the worst day of the week for me. It’s not the anxiety of going back to work. I can’t wait to go to work on Monday, primarily just to be around people again and have someone to talk to. It’s the longing to want to be with someone and spend time with them. I try to do things to alleviate this, like go to the movies or take my dog to the park. But the loneliness still manages to creep in.

    • Sundays do tend to bring loneliness for many people. The work is the same: to tend to all of our uncomfortable places; to invite them all for tea.

  • Chantal

    I sometimes find it hard to tell my WS the right words in how to comfort her. It also seems like my anxiety is always changing like the flavour of the month ice cream. I either feel extremely anxious or shut down in to a depression. Will it ever stop? Will the triggers be lessened?

    • The triggers will lessen when you commit to your own inner work and healing. Do you have the e-course?

      • Chantal

        Yes, I do. I’ve worked through it once, but need to go through it and REALLY dig deep again.

        • Yes, the course is meant to be worked through multiple times. The first time is just to receive the information. The second and third time help it sink in as you start to practice the tools and integrate the work.

  • Chantal

    Also, I was wondering if this is common. I often times find myself being triggered by being around people, situations etc. that remind me of the times I had extreme relationship anxiety, but didn’t know it was relationship anxiety at the time. Is this normal/common? For ex. I would be in the depths of the anxiety and hang out with my friends. Now when I think about doing something with them or do something with them, I feel totally off because of the reminders of my anxiety.

  • just me

    I am all the time looking for reassurance, eventhough I should believe in my inner wisdom. My dreams and feelings are guiding me to take a divorce, but I am scared to make that decision on my own. My husband tells me that he loves me, but I feel like my hearth is closed and I am not able to connect with him. I feel like I am living with a straner and I am not able to be best version of me if I stay. I just want to take responsibility as a mum and show my son that I care about him no matter what. My divorce dreams are making me very insecure and reflecting my real feelings towards my husband.

  • Northernlass

    I am cautiously thinking of changing jobs as the one I am currently in has caused me so much stress that my body errupted in abcesses, one of which I had to get removed recently surgically. I am still suffering with the after effects, but at least I have some time off work until my wound heals. The whole incident was a big shock to me and caused my relationship anxiety to flare up. I started wondering, if my job is stressful and maybe not right for me, and I think often about leaving it for something less soul-destroying, why wouldn’t I do the same in my relationship?

    These thoughts don’t make sense and cause me distress. I am in a stable, loving relationship with a man I want to be with forever, and the two things aren’t the same. Yes sometimes I get anxious in my relationship, which isn’t fun, but it’s not actually caused by him. It’s caused by my fear of losing him. The anxiety I have felt and am feeling about my job is because I physically amen’t capable of working so much that I have no time left to live or take a break. And being a creative, sensitive person, I’m not so sure how much being in a very monotonous, stressful job with little prospect for promotion is good for my well-being. I’m a nursery teacher and love kids, but the kids are really the only thing I like about my job. At the beginning I thought that I would love it for the fact of being able to nurture and care for them, but it has turned out to be a lot of constant cleaning, tidying, paper-work, problems and over-time. And more over-time.

    Sorry for the rant. I’m not against a steady, ‘normal’ job. I want to be able to fund the life my parter and I want, and to bring up kids when we decide to have them. But I don’t want constant stress. Thinking to leave my job and yet not quite ready to give up a steady paycheck and the stability of having a permanent contract. And I certainly don’t want to put my partner and job in the same boat, as my mind is doing.

    I’d appreciate any input on this.

    • Northernlass

      Oh I should say that I am meeting up with my boss on Thursday, who wants to talk about what’s been making me stressed. Maybe things will be better if my workload can be lightened and I can get back to feeling a sense of purpose in my job. At least my boss was quite concerned when she heard how stressed and unhappy I’d been feeling.

  • SJP

    Sheryl-

    I have to say that stumbling across your site has been a blessing. You’re very enlightening and touch base on topics that are not often discussed. It’s refreshing to read and extremely comforting.

    I struggle with relationship anxiety. I’m very aware of my thoughts and what triggers anxiety however where I get stuck is moving toward the anxiety. I want to heal. I want to keep the relationship I currently have with this wonderful man. I know you talk about this in other articles but I am having a very hard to trusting in myself and believing the facts. I’m currently struggling with the ‘What if I’m gay’ ideas. I understand it’s normal and healthy to fantasize about the same sex during intimate times with your significant other but I often end up feeling guilty and sad that I think about such things. I know it doesn’t make me a lesbian but I can’t understand the sadness or the anxiety that it creates. I don’t understand why I have to think about women in my fantasies. I’d greatly appreciate any direction as I truly connect with your words and perspective.

    • You likely fantasize about women because we live in a heterosexist culture where everyone – men and women – are conditioned to view women in highly sexual, erotic ways. Yes, it’s extremely normal to fantasize about women during sex and does not mean you’re a lesbian. The sadness may be connected to some sense that, while you know it’s normal and there’s nothing to be ashamed of, you would prefer to be fully present for your partner with nobody else (even in fantasy) in the way. The anxiety is likely connected to guilt (even though, again, there’s no reason to feel guilty). It’s a very difficult habit to break because it’s encouraged everywhere in the culture (albeit subliminally) but with conscious attention to working with your thoughts, you can learn to be fully present with your partner.

  • Newly Married

    How do you work with the obsession of the husbands ex when you have been wounded about that by your husbands family telling you things about her and the fact that when my now husband and i were younger and were going out, he went back to her after we were together? how do I handle that feeling of abandonment and or the feeling that he chose her over me even though he says he didnt and it was that he left cause he didnt want to hurt me because he was not ready and he was not the typical good guy at the time and he knew he was immature and would hurt me.. he says he loved me enough to walk away because he was not mature.

    Thank you

  • Fight for happiness

    I feel like I’ve called it to the table. And I’ve sat back and looked at my fears from an outside role to find them immature and not serving. But that doesn’t seem to stop them. I mean it does for a short short while. I douse wisdom and maturity upon the thoughts and they subdue for a time. But they always come back. Is that just the addictive quality? I’ve tried finding a deeper pain and it doesn’t seem to manifest. Perhaps I’m still blocked from it but I’m unsure of how to open that up more. Some days are better than others. Some are worse. It just feels like my anxiety is giving me a choice and I’ve made the desicion to stay with my love. But the opposing choice that is intrusive seems to not be okay with accepting that. I guess it’s just hard. Hard to understand. Hard to know if there is more pain or not and how to access it in order to try and move on.
    But I’m not willing to give up.

    • How long have you been actively working with your fear? It can take time before fear gets the message that, while you can invite it to tea, you’re not going to indulge it, believe it, or hook into it in any way.

  • Fight for happiness

    Only a month or so. Which seems short but feels like forever when you’re in the thick of it. And some days I have more time to devote to it than others. I understand it’s a process. It’s just difficult. But good things aren’t always supposed to be easy right? You have to work for you want. There’s nothing to be gained from running.

    • That’s exactly right and that’s the attitude you need in order to keep going. It’s often a long fight, so gather up your patience and keep diving in.

  • Angela

    Hi Jo,
    Ive had the same exact thoughts lately, i feel bad about thinking… That couple and this couple look more in love than i do with my hubby. I hate it,, i really do, its like searching for something deep and i cant find the in love feeling.

    • Silver

      Hi Angela, Yeah me too! I keep looking at others that look good, but still I stop comparing our relationship to others because we didn’t know what happens behind closed doors. Instead focus on your relationship more try to spice up things even if you don’t feel it, plan for new things to try with your husband even it doesn’t cost too much. Sometimes planning things ahead may cause anxiety but look on the bright side you might feel excited because of it. It is really tiring when you want to do good things for your partner but don’t feel passionate about it like other people do. They can even tell that they really love the person or afraid of losing them whilst me on the other hand ready to leave my partner because of lack of feelings or passion, continuous seeking for certainty and feelings that I lose sight of my partner keep hurting her and our relationship. Keep praying and trust yourself that you will get through this even it takes a long time.

    • Silver

      I also found out that I try to win the approval of my partner, I keep chasing and chasing but my actions doesn’t follow my words. And the more I search the more I keep projecting and ruminating.

      • Lili

        Hi Angela, silver & Jo,

        This is an issue I have been struggling alot too, whenever I see a couple who seem to be in love (or at least have strong feelings) I feel sad and wish I was in there shoes. But then I try tell myself we don’t know if that this always the case for them or they might have issues I am not aware of (we all have come across couples who we thought are so in love and never thought would separate but they did) .But then I know there are some who are really good (or at least i think they are) it can be very hard sometimes, one thing I started doing was to actually approach those couples whom I was closer with (like my cousin whom im comfortable talking to) and ask how she feels, what she experienced in the relationship. She said she doesn’t always have the ‘in love ‘ feelings, there has been moments she has doubted her relationship ,and and one mentioned their ‘romance’ has got less than before and that love like all things needs to be nurtured. Another thing I notice about myself is lack of self-trust and taking things at face-value. Sheryl has wrote a blog on comparing oneself and taking other stories as your own..I forgot the title, in the blog she talks about lack of self trust and comparing others’ experience to yours. I would be happy to hear others opinion about this and what they try to do in dealing with this unwanted feeling.

  • Angela

    Hi Silver and Lilli,
    I was doing so well doing the courses and trying to stay positive. I even supported people on here. I am proud of myself but at times I feel like im searching for that in love crazy rip clothes off type of feelings. I know Sheryl calls it infatuation and it dosent last. When I first met my husband I didnt have that strong attraction. I fell in love with his kindness and we just get each other, which i have never ever had before with my past relationships. I do love him deeply. We are going for a long drive this weekend, which dosent cost anything, thanks so much for your kind words and support. Im sure things will get better for me as ive come this far i dont have any intentions of giving up now. I wish you the best of luck in your relationships. As time goes by things will get clearer and clearer for you, as they are for me. All relationships are different behind closed doors, and we all communicate differently. 😀

    • Silver

      That’s good! Enjoy your weekend! Glad to know that you’re doing the course. Keep working for your own healing. I’m saving up to purchase break free course. Hoping that everything will get better for all of us.

  • Angela

    Hi Lilli,
    I do remember that blog, the way ive tried moving forward was to journal, read the past blogs so i can register everything in my mind. Breathe and breathe, im getting better to look inside of myself and feel my feelings. And admit my feelings good or bad. Only way to heal is to be honest with yourself and not ignore my feelings. We are important.

    • Lili

      Hi Angela, thanks alot for sharing your experience , I have come across your previous comments on the blogs and they were so full of hope, keep up the good work! I am hanging in there but currenty been in low mood, obviously it doesnt help when hormones get in to ur way too! Crying , journaling and sharing with other helps..i guess we should be hopful and support eachother till we all see the light! I am waiting desperately for that day, its dark but one day it will be bright.

      • Silver

        Ohhh nice! Keep up the good work 🙁 my anxiety hit I because I don’t know if I’m honest with myself or not.

  • Simone

    Hello Sheryl.

    One thing my relationship anxiety/rocd keeps telling me is that I want to be single – even tho before the relationship anxiety very suddenly started I wanted nothing more than to share my life with my boyfriend. Now it keeps saying that I don’t truly love him and that I wanna be single, and it makes me doubt everything. The fear about not loving him I’ve learnt is just an intrusive thought, so that is easier to manage now, but the constant thoughts saying I wanna be single over and over again I haven’t heard anyone else mention as an intrusive thought, which makes me doubt if I even have relationship anxiety at all, which makes me so scared and sad.

    Can this be a part of my relationship anxiety? Is it truly just another intrusive thought?

    Please help, I appreciate all the work you do to help us all!

    • Simone

      Is it maybe a part of the “flight-instinct” relationship anxiety can bring?

    • It’s a very common intrusive thought. So common, in fact, that it’s on the free assessment for the Break Free course!The thing about thoughts is that they will keep changing story lines until you deal with them at the root.

  • hayley

    Hey sheryl. I’m thinking of buying the course soon but I was wondering if it’s worth it for me. There’s one trait I find somewhat challenging in my partner and I believe is the focus of my anxiety. (Although the subject has shifted many times, from apperance, am I afraid to be alone, the whole deal.) But I worry we will never be able to connecr and bond as he is a fairly quiet, , not very open person, I think. I do wish he was more open, and have voiced this many times but I feel he may feel like he cant open up, or just doesnt want to. I want to stay but worry he wont ever open up. I absolutely have extremely high, unrealistic expectations on how love should be and high expectations for myself. Anyway, could I be struggling with this trait because of my unrealistic expectations on connection or could it be a real.issue.

    • That’s a very, very common source of anxiety for many people (especially women) and you will absolutely find clarity around it through the course.

  • Angela

    Lili and Silver,
    Thanks for your nice comments.x I do understand your low mood. I have been feeling low myself the last couple of weeks. I am sure you will see light one special day. We all will get it through these transitions as it is a process layer upon layer. I do remember Sheryl saying that we may not get rid of anxiety completely but we will manage it better with clear eyes and the light will appear we will feel relaxed and calm.

  • lee

    Is it possible for fear to distort your view of your partner? As in make you see them as a bad person?

  • Charlotte

    Sheryl, i am 12 weeks pregnant and have my first scan tomorrow. I am extremely anxious about it (this is my first) and have felt very fragile recently. Do you think its possible for me to be blinded by fear of loss when it comes to my pregnancy and project it straight onto my husband?? I have been feeling very low and feel very stressed with work, money, family issues etc. I feel lost and unsure where to go from here, I just know that my anxiety has returned to the point where i feel extremely disconnected from my husband. X

    • Absolutely. Remember that anxiety rears its head during transitions, and the transition of becoming a mother will send most people into a tailspin of anxiety. The work, as always, is to reel the projection off your husband and tend to your own sources of loss and stress.

  • Craig

    I have been working on the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety e course now for 9 months and this post if yours caused prompted me to write this. I have felt at times like I am making progress and at times like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. As I have spoken to the fears at the table and have been at it for sometime I am having trouble knowing when the thoughts come which ones are reality and which ones are garbage. As you have stated many times just because you have a thought does not mean it is real. Well how do I decipher which good thoughts and which bad thoughts are ones to hold on to or just to breath through as I am now questioning all thoughts.

    Very confused…..

    • Yes, this is where developing the muscle of discernment comes in. The more we get to know our minds, the easier it becomes to discern truth from falsehood. I highly recommend reading “The Untethered Soul”, and continuing with the great work that you’re already doing. Please keep in mind that this work takes time, and of course the more you know yourself, the easier it will be to tease apart the voices and understand there they’re coming from. BUT… if you’re in a healthy, loving relationship, chances are quite high that any voice that is trying to convince you to leave is coming from fear! Also, it might be helpful to change your phrasing from “good thoughts and bad thoughts” to “truth and fear” or “love and fear, as there aren’t really any “bad” thoughts.

  • Chelsea

    It’s been awhile since my relationship anxiety has reared its ugly head. I do know that the last time I was actually anxious because of red flags in my relationship. That relationship has since ended. There were some secrets on drugs and family issues that were kept from me and I knew I needed to go once I found out. During that time I missed my previous partner terribly. We were both going through hard times when we split up. I’m one of those people that always is in a relationship unfortunately. I know this isn’t healthy, but my previous partner and I had real love for one another. At the time we split, he was a law school graduate struggling to find his first job and I was continually employed but the job I found myself in was anxiety inducing and soul sucking. We grew apart during that time because I was at work an hour away and he was in the throes of depression because he didn’t have a job. He ended up moving back home for six months out of state about 9 hours. I thought it was doomed so I ended up breaking things off. He did end up moving back and getting a job. We resumed seeing each other. We’ve been on and off for nearly three years. It was always me who broke it off. He wants me to move in with him and start talking about marriage. I have always wanted these things but I’m absolutely terrified. Usually the terror is dormant and I brush it off, but as I come closer to moving in I’m riddled with fear. Fear we’ll break up. Fear of nobody approving of our relationship. That I’ll end up in the awkward situation of moving out if things go wrong. Sometimes I think I’m not attracted to him as much as I should be and that scares me too, like what if we end up divorcing because I’m a cold fish?? I know it’s all anxiety. I’m scared of change and always have been. This article really helps me. I always read the blog when I’m upset. I did take the first ecourse, for people who are engaged or married. I still get anxious from time to time but know better than to provoke it by googling and asking others.