The Scariest Thing We Do

Every day that I work with clients struggling with relationship anxiety I find myself saying some version of, “Of course you’re scared. Loving is the scariest thing we do.” As I’ve written about several times on this blog, fear doesn’t always present as fear but instead shows up as irritation, annoyance, numbness, ambivalence, lack of attraction, and doubt. It’s a convoluted defense mechanism, the ego’s attempt to circumvent being left or rejected by convincing you that you don’t love or even like your partner anyway, but in the end these are all manifestations of fear.

And the client almost invariably asks, “But why is love so scary?” It’s scary because we’ve been hurt by love. It’s scary because underneath the projections (“He’s not intellectual enough”, “She’s not attractive enough”) lives the belief that you’re not enough in some way. It’s scary because when we love another person we’re handing them … Click here to continue reading...

Fear is a Friend in Disguise

There’s a common concept in our culture – one that I’ve adopted myself at times – that fear is our enemy. When we’re caught in fear’s offspring of anxiety and panic, it certainly feels like we’re been taken into enemy territory and are being held hostage. It feels like someone wraps a gloved hand around our throat and is sitting on our chest with a fifty pound bag of bricks. Anxiety in any form around any storyline – relationships, health, impending loss/death – is an unmanageable state that feels like torture.

I’ve learned so much over the many decades that I’ve become intimately acquainted with fear’s many faces in my own psyche, the mind’s of my kids, and the inner worlds of my clients, and one of the lessons that stands out the most is that fear is not, in fact, our enemy. Just like one of the main tenets … Click here to continue reading...

Engagement Anxiety Relieved: The Negative Voice

Most of my engaged clients find themselves, at some point, over-focusing on what they perceive as their partner's negative attributes. It's a necessary step of the engagement transition but certainly not a place you would want to get stuck in for too long.