If I could reach out across time and sit beside you…
If I could cross the vast spaces that separate us and place a note into your pocket…
If I could gather us together – all of the sweet, sensitive, highly moral, responsible and conscientious souls who find their way to my work – and sit down at the creek in an impossibly huge circle…
This is what I would say:
You are not alone.
Every thought and feeling you’ve had about your partner – every doubt, every projection, every moment of aversion, every time you’ve wanted to throw in the towel and run away, every fantasy about other people, every question, every unbearable moment of ambivalence and regret – is normal. Everyone feels like the exception, but there’s not a thought, feeling, or experience you’ve had with relationship anxiety that I haven’t heard a thousand times before.
In other words, what you’re going through is normal.
You see, it’s the normalization that reduces shame, and when we reduce shame we can do the deeper work of addressing the needs and wounds embedded inside of relationship anxiety. Shame is a protector and a barrier, so the first step of inner work is to reduce shame.
And here’s the thing: I can write about relationship anxiety every week, but it’s often when you come into real-time contact with real voices (not text, forum, Instagram, or blog) that you start to believe that you’re not alone and that what you’re struggling with is normal.
There are untold worlds that are soothed by sharing our struggles in the company of others; there’s something medicinal that occurs when you gather with people who are struggling in the exact same way with the exact same issues. It’s not enough to have people in your life who may struggle with anxiety in general. If it’s not specific to relationship anxiety, they’re not going to understand what you’re going through.
The people who find their way to my work understand. They know in their bones what it is to hook onto a thought that you’re with the wrong partner. They know in their heart the agony of believing the attraction spike and wandering down the dark alleyways of fantasy that tell you that you wouldn’t be feeling this way with someone else, someone to whom you were “more attracted” or with whom you felt “more in love”. They know in their soul what it is to be jolted awake in the middle of the night, heart racing and throat closing, with the telltale feelings of anxiety and the automatic interpretation of, “I’m with the wrong partner.”
And they know the loneliness of carrying the weight of this particular brand of anxiety without being able to talk about it with anyone in their life. They know what it is to share it with a therapist only to be told, “Doubt means don’t. Maybe you’re with the wrong person.” This is why the healing power of being in a group of people who carry your brand of anxiety has becoming increasingly more evident to me over the years of doing this work.
And it’s why I decided to start a live version of the course that I’ve offered since 2010. I can’t offer small groups to my entire audience – and my private coaching calls are booked out for months – but I can offer group coaching calls where people struggling with relationship anxiety can engage in real-time and receive direct guidance from me throughout the duration of the course. In lieu of meeting on the grass outside my studio, receiving the course via email and gathering weekly through the miracle of technology allows you to receive notes in your “pocket” and hear from others so that you can receive the shame antidotes that will allow you heal at the root.
I’d love to connect with you on the next live round of the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety course, which starts on May 8th, 2021. If you’re already a course member, you can sign up for the six coaching calls on this page. And if you haven’t taken the course, you can sign up here as well.
The benefit of going through the live round, in addition to the group coaching calls, is that you’ll be guided step-by-step through the course material with weekly emails directly from me where I highlight key exercises and bring your attention to the questions and topics that are most salient. This is a densely packed course, for healing at the root isn’t a simple 3-step procedure that I can explain in a few short videos. This course is the culmination of decades of work with relationship anxiety, and it’s helped thousands of people break free and find their clarity and serenity. I look forward to meeting you there.
Here are the times for the six group coaching calls (subject to change). Note that only about 1/3 of the participants are able to make each call, and you’ll receive a recording of the call immediately afterward:
Call 1: Tuesday May 11 at 11am ET
Call 2: Monday May 17th at 6:15pm ET
Call 3: Tuesday May 25th at 11am ET
Call 4: Monday May 31st at 6:15pm ET
Call 5: Tuesday June 8th at 11am ET
Call 6: Monday June 14th 6:15pm ET