Ideas for Overcoming Relationship Problems in Anxiety
In my last post I started to think about relationship tensions in anxiety. I considered the ways in which relationships can be a source of anxiety and how anxiety can badly affect relationships. It can become something of a vicious circle in which patterns of emotion and behavior become locked in. There are however some ways to break into the circle and improve the situation. In this post I’m offering a few starting points.
The first step in making change is to acknowledge a problem exists and that your beliefs, behaviors and emotions may be contributing to this. It isn’t easy, and when you feel vulnerable and put on the temptation is often to blame others for making you feel worse. All these things may, to a greater or lesser extent, be true - but this is about trying to get out of the rut you’ve been stuck in and which is possibly getting worse.
Consider the important people in your life. If you’ve been feeling tense rather than happy or relaxed around them, or if you’ve been arguing with them, it may be time to get some things into the open. These important people may not have a clue as to what you’ve been struggling with. Opening up can lift a huge weight off your shoulders and help them to understand that they aren’t the source of your moods.
Try replacing the angry, intolerant, cutting or defensive comments with something nice, or nothing at all. If you’ve been defending yourself like this for long periods of time the people around you will be walking on eggshells. Use a few compliments, do something nice, ask questions about things you know are important to them. Bringing those important people back on side shouldn’t take too long, but you might have to expect the odd comment about your former behavior and take them on the chin.
Remember that other people have moods too. They won’t always respond the way you might like and they may, for no obvious reason, be moody and snappy. Don’t take this as a sign of rejection. If anything, now is the time to step up your nice person behavior. It may mean giving the person space, or making them a drink, or just listening to what they have to say.
If you have a partner try to find a time and place where you know anxiety won’t encroach and rekindle your intimacy. Remind yourself of the things you like to do and places you like to go. You may have to negotiate a few changes along the lines of, ‘I can’t do everything we used to do together, but there are still things we can do.’ It’s a bridge between doing nothing and something. In turn you may find that your partner asks you questions about yourself, your boundaries and maybe issues about treatment. Your partner may have to come to terms with change and the fact that answers to questions like, ‘how long will you be like this?’ aren’t easy to answer.
These are just a few ideas to consider. Your own situation and circumstances are unique so adapt the ideas and, of course, add your own.