Worry and Anxiety

One of the first questions I ask a new client who’s struggling with relationship anxiety is, “Did you have anxiety as a child?” It’s no longer surprising to me when the client says no because I can almost guarantee that she’ll answer affirmatively to my next question, “Did you worry a lot as a child?”

For some reason we don’t correlate anxiety with worry. Perhaps it’s because there’s still some stigma attached to the word anxiety, so culturally we latch onto worry as a more palatable term. Yet it’s essential to understand that worry is the mental manifestation of anxiety. Experiencing nameless dread or identifiable dread as well as being called “too sensitive” or “overly sensitive” as a child are other indicators that anxiety was likely present.

I ask this question because it’s important to understand that if you’re struggling with relationship anxiety it’s easy to blame your relationship … Click here to continue reading...

The Vulnerability of Loving

Through a rare turn of events, I was able to attend a yoga class last night with my favorite teacher in Boulder. The class started at 5:30pm, so at 5pm I gathered my things, left dinner instructions for my husband, kissed my boys goodbye, and walked into the darkening night. As I parked then walked to class, I marveled at the novelty of being out at night: the bare-leaved trees on the 29th Street Mall, where the studio is located, were adorned with winter lights; couples on first dates strolled on the idyllic promenade, the Rocky Mountains jutting up in the dark blue light behind them; young parents toting their baby from the restaurant to the car beamed at their little treasure. It had been a long time since I was out at night on my own and I felt like an alien visiting from another planet, thoroughly enjoying our … Click here to continue reading...

“I’m Scared to Love You Because I’m Scared You’re Going to Die”

My mother was in town last weekend to celebrate an early Thanksgiving. We had a lovely time and it filled my heart to see the way she delights in my boys and affirms our out-of-the-box parenting choices. Being of like mind and similar temperament, she and Everest have always had a special connection, but something seemed to cross over to a new level this trip. As he shared his passion for technology and she reveled in the workings of his mind, I could see Everest opening his heart to her fully. He taught her how to make a Bucky Ball cube, showed her his Perplexus 3D marble maze, and listened together to Jack and Annie traveling to Italy to apprentice under Leonardo da Vinci for a day in a Magic Treehouse audiobook. Grandma scratched his back as they lounged on the couch together and he relaxed completely into their bond. … Click here to continue reading...

The Voice That Says,

When I was in intensive therapy in my 20s, I met a part of my personality that was working overtime to keep love out. Of course, that’s not how I understood it at the time; I only knew that there was a big, strong, judgmental part of me that kept intimate others at a distance and could think of every reason in the world why they weren’t safe. My therapist asked me to give this part a name, so I called it the Gatekeeper.

The Gatekeeper seemed to be my friend and greatest ally. She was my protector and my champion. After all, her job was to keep me safe, to prevent me from getting smothered or engulfed. Because my old and deeply embedded internal script said, “Men just want to take from you and use you,” I entrusted this Gatekeeper to keep these kinds of men away. This might … Click here to continue reading...