The Fear of Losing Control

When we spiral down into the deeper layers of anxiety – whether relationship anxiety or any other form that anxiety takes – we find some universal root causes that live at the center. These exist on both the emotional and psychological/spiritual planes, and they all need our attention if we’re going to heal. It requires tremendous courage and fortitude to peer directly into the root causes without the filters of projections or defenses protecting us, as when we peel away the hardened shell that has protected our hearts our entire lives, we come face-to-face with our own soft and defenseless vulnerability.

On the emotional level we find a fear of “enoughness”: Am I lovable enough, good enough, worthy enough to be loved? Of course, as I’ve discussed extensively in other posts and in my courses, this fear often first manifests as a projection onto your partner’s perceived imperfections, but when … Click here to continue reading...

What is my Truth?

On the last round of Open Your Heart a participant asked:

“So if I don’t trust these anxious thoughts then what can I trust? If my truth was really that we are not right for each other then how would I know if I am teaching myself not to listen when doubts arise?”

And then she wisely responded to her own question with:

“But I can see that is probably another clever resistance pattern.”

Even though she named that the question was coming from resistance, the question itself is a valid and common one, and if you’re struggling with relationship anxiety and have found your way here, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself the same thing. It’s really the million-dollar question that inspired much of my work with relationship anxiety, including the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety E-Course. Asked another way, the question is: Is my anxiety/doubt evidence that my Click here to continue reading...

Conversations with my Seven Year Old: In the Fear Forest

One of the blessings of having a second child is that we, as parents, gain some skills by walking with the first one through predictable stages of growth, maturity, illness, and emotional challenges. When our firstborn had a high fever, we panicked. When the younger one has a fever, it’s old hat. When our firstborn struggled with separation anxiety we thought he would never leave our side. With our second born, we trust that he will find his way with time (and some help, if he needs it).

These milestones of childhood often manifest as confrontations with fear. In the early days of this blog I often wrote about my older son’s fear of the dark and his intense fear of change and death. Like many highly sensitive-creative-prone-to-anxiety children, the fear of change and death tends to arise early and can easily preoccupy their minds for hours on end. Left … Click here to continue reading...

Call the Witch by Its True Name

My favorite fairy tale when I was a child was Rumpelstiltskin, the story of a girl who makes a bargain with an imp-like creature in exchange for saving her life from being executed by the king. First she gives the imp a necklace, then a ring, then promises her firstborn child. But when her child arrives, she begs the imp to let her keep it. He says he will if she can guess his name. In deep distress, she wanders into the forest and stumbles upon the creature, who is hopping around the fire singing, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll go to the king’s house, nobody knows my name, I’m called ‘Rumpelstiltskin.'” When the imp arrives at the kingdom to claim the baby, the girl (now married to the king), says, “Your name is Rumpelstiltskin.” The imp is enraged, but the deal is broken and he has no choice but to … Click here to continue reading...

Anxiety is a Game of Whack-A-Mole

The anxious mind can latch onto almost any topic:

What if I don’t have enough money? What if my kids aren’t okay? What if I don’t get pregnant? What if I have cancer? What if I don’t love my partner enough and I’m making a terrible mistake? What if I don’t have enough friends? What if I’m gay? What if I’m a pedophile? What if I have an STD? What if there’s a terrorist attack ? What if I’m in the wrong career? What if the plane crashes?

How many of these thoughts have you struggled with? And have you found that you can resolve one thought only to find that another pops up in its place? That’s why anxiety is a game of whack-a-mole: if you whack down one mole (thought) without addressing it from the root, another will quickly … Click here to continue reading...