How Anxiety Causes Relationship Problems

For the anxious person, relationships can be a living hell.  Far from the oasis of warm support and connection most of us associate with relationships, the anxious person is caught in a vicious cycle of stress responses that create yet more anxiousness.

An anxious person typically has the most difficulty in romantic relationships, followed by friendships and work relationships. Oddly, the research doesn’t mention family relationships.

Resonance Repatterning for Anxiety
Anxiety Causes Relationship Problems

I worked with one woman whose relationship with her romantic partner was wonderful. She came from an intensely religious family and as a gay woman she felt insecure and rejected.  Told she would burn in hell by her (otherwise loving) family, she needed friendships to fill the role of family for her.

However, when there were changes in her friendships she found herself panicking.  She couldn’t trust the bond of friendship to weather the natural disruptions of life such as someone moving or even being very busy. She couldn’t trust her close friendships to continue to be “like family”–that they wouldn’t abandon her–because on a deep level, her family had abandoned her.

See the catch 22?  For her, family, intimacy, bonding, love–all mean being abandoned at the primal, core level of accepting who she is as a gay woman.  When her friends needed space to work out their lives, she became needy and demanding, “making it all about me,” as she put it.

Relationship anxiety is an internal battleground where the desperate need for reassurance and security are the very things that threaten the relationship.

The anxious person is caught in a catch 22.  The obvious need is to trust—but at the same time when trust is most needed she absolutely must not collapse into trusting her overwhelming sensations of anxiety.

“I am driving my partner crazy with my drama and neediness and I can’t stop!  My anxiety is pushing him away… and that just makes me even more anxious,” is a typical complaint.

In 2004 the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) conducted a survey of GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) sufferers on the effect their anxiety on their romantic partner relationships.

Seventy percent of GAD sufferers believe their relationship anxiety has a negative effect on their relationships. Compared to non-anxious partners in romantic relationships GAD sufferers were:

  • Half as likely to perceive themselves as being in a “healthy, supportive” relationship.
  • Twice as likely to experience relationship problems in communication, social activities, arguments, and sexuality.
  • Three times more likely to avoid sexual intimacy.
  • Seventy-five percent believed their anxiety impaired their ability to participate in normal activities with their partner.

    Natural Remedies for Anxiety
    Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Relationship anxiety often creates mental state of suspiciousness and worry about their partners’ love, care, or faithfulness.

Becoming aware of their anxiety only serves to make them suspicious of their own thoughts and feelings.  The inverse holds true as well: Suspicions about their own thoughts creates anxiety.  The perception is there nothing to trust.  Any evidence of love and care on the part of the other gets lost in the fear and confusion.

Persistent needs of reassurance, dramatic confrontations and destructive impulses create even more stress in the relationship. Intolerable mental-emotional states create an urgent need for relief  (but make for bad decision making.) There is a downward spiral.

Anxious people blame themselves for not overcoming feelings of fear and panic and for the negative effects it has on their relationships.  Despair takes hold.  Traditional therapy leaves them “knowing better….but not being better.”

Adult Separation Anxiety
Adult Separation Anxiety

What we see as a pattern underneath the anxious person is someone who wants and needs (but is unable to receive) the closeness and security of relationship.

What we see in the relationship patterns of an anxious person is someone who desperately needs assistance with healing.

What we see in the unhealed stress responses requires much more, or something much different, than what either medication or thought-out rational explanations or problem-solving can even begin to provide.

What I see is a great need for Resonance Repatterning.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  Frederick Buechner

Laura Frisbie

http://www.beat-depression-naturally.com 

Resonance Repatterning Practitioner specializing in abandonment and natural anxiety treatment

Resonance Practitioners Association Executive Board, Journal Committee, Skills Development Facilitator

Abundance Consciousness Police

tickets for negative thoughts
Don't be like the abundance consciousness police!

Abundance Consciousness Police

Ask me what is essential for an abundant life and these four are my response.    

  1. Awareness born of fearless, honest self-reflection.  
  2. Self-acceptance.
  3. The will to change.
  4. And faith in the power to do so.  

Some ideas promoted as abundance consciousness run contrary to these essentials.  Granted they are well intended.  But perhaps the road to well is not paved with good intentions.

Like many good ideas, abundance consciousness has fallen victim to the sound bites of popular advice.  Similar to what has happened to religions throughout time, popular culture has extracted surface meanings, removed thought-provoking depths, and served up pointless palaver.

The first law (according to the consciousness “experts”) is to avoid “I” statements that express negativity.  Here is a direct quote from the number one ranked site for the keyword ‘abundance consciousness,’

“Watch your language! Make sure that what follows “I” or “I am” is what you                  want to manifest. If you say “I am poor,” the Universe will answer you with its              only response: yes!”

Oh honestly!  Well, for one thing, that advice would omit every statement of non-coherence in every Repatterning!!  There is a quality of unquestioned authority around these teachings, a culture of blame growing like mold in a Petri dish.  The message is,  “It is not ok (to not be ok) and it was YOU not being ok that created the problem.”

I have a client who couldn’t finish her sentences.  The consciousness police taught her to fear manifesting an even worse reality through authentic expression. It was often 45 minutes into the session before she’d admit her real issues with the caveat, “I shouldn’t feel this way, wahhhhhh!”  I’ve had clients balk at saying the words “I need (fill in the blank)” for fear of manifesting more need.

While intended as a method for increasing awareness around the power of one’s thoughts, the unfortunate outcome is often an edited, judged, shamed, blamed, and frightened awareness.

They say that what you focus your thoughts on is what you manifest.  Maybe.  Yes.  And, well… no!  Maybe I can sum up by saying that gratitude and appreciation seem to work wonders.  But equally important is the simple truth that when I’m not there, I’m not. I’m just NOT.

The solution is not to deny my authentic feelings, not to pretend I am enlightened when indeed I am not. Abundance consciousness can lead to denial. Denial is formidable.

The hidden treasure in my negative situation is my process, my evolution towards more coherence.  It is an opportunity to discover unmet needs and negative beliefs, hurt feelings and unresolved relationships.  It is nothing less than the opportunity to see where my soul is ready to grow and in order to do so I must feel free to speak my experience, fearlessly trusting in the power of bringing truth to light.

When all IS well in my world, it is not because my mind has created wellness by pretending all is well!  When I am in a bright, clear space within, I don’t get there by “shoulding” my feelings.  When I am in peace and acceptance, when I am “attracting or manifesting” the positive, my focus is on taking action around my “problems”– what I have that I don’t want/ what I want that I don’t have.

In an Energy Constriction Release, I  support their “I need” statement by noting what a wonderful world it would be if everyone had that particular need met.  I say it is a healthy need, worthy of taking a stand for.  This response to their need is often in stark contrast to their feeling guilty and broken for having the need.

Abundance consciousness type solutions are what people resort to when they don’t have Resonance Repatterning.   (The poor impoverished dears!)

Suppressing fear creates a mind at war with itself. A mind that is in fear of its own fear. A mind that insists that its own lack of power is stronger than the power of bringing truth to light.

“I’m trying to change reality with my thoughts,” said another client, owner of a once thriving real estate firm.  “My company is losing money and I can’t pay the bills.  But I still go on trips and take cabs because I’m afraid of poverty consciousness.”

She was trapped in mental turmoil, looking for the blame inside herself.  “How did I create this?” she pondered sleeplessly, believing that if she performed the correct mental gymnastics she would undo the voodoo hoodoo of loss.   She was not fully present to name problems and take positive actions.

How can unmet needs be resolved with love and communication when there is fear, blame and belief that speaking the truth will manifest more of the same?  
Unquestioned belief in “thought manifestation” can result in fear of being.  It is a terrifying idea that you cause your troubles if you are anything other than a bliss ninny.

Naming a lack does not create the lack!  If it did, how could we create anything?  If I say I am thirsty, am I manifesting more thirst?  Am I not more likely to build a bridge if I notice that I need one?  Does putting locks on your doors manifest burglars?  Does using birth control manifest unwanted pregnancies? Does responsible stewardship of resources equal poverty consciousness?

How does abundance consciousness explain the occupation of Tibet or AIDS or genocide or abortion?

The planets are in constant motion, ever changing relationships to one another.  Does the moon not wax and wane and the sun rise and fall?  One must see oneself –not as cause–but as transcending the fickle winds of fate.

Fearing the shame of one’s own negative thoughts is like fearing the gas gauge on the car that indicates it is low.  Obviously, the potential power of the car is not determined by the amount of gas — but it does require gas.  Similarly, our thoughts are merely indicators of an underlying condition that requires healing.  What needs Repatterning is not the thoughts so much as the fear of the thoughts, the  lack of positive power attributed to the experience of  thoughts.  I genuinely ask how this level of consciousness is different than a small child thinking they caused their parents divorce?

Thanks to Resonance Repatterning, which includes the non-coherent within the healing process, both of these clients have turned things around.

They are:

  1. Expressing ALL their feelings, recognizing their needs and facing reality responsibly (awareness born of fearless, honest self-reflection.)
  2. Letting go of blame and forgiving life (self-acceptance.)
  3. Facing and acting on the ‘harsh realities’ of life (the will to change.)
  4. And in the process they are gaining faith in their power to do so.

Necessity is the mother of invention.  Let’s invent ways to perceive needs as the seeds of abundance.  Let’s spread the idea that recognizing needs or lack is what activates our power to create and manifest.  Let’s take a stand for UN conditional awareness.

When we resonate with the power of bring the truth to light, we will finally stop fearing (and denying) fear itself.

What about you?  Have you grappled with these questions in your life?  How about your clients? We’d love to have a discussion about this, feel free to comment.  The more voices heard from the better.

Laura Frisbie

laurafrisbie@gmail.com

http://www.beat-depression-naturally.com