How Anxiety Interferes With Relationships

We are all aware of how anxiety impacts people's health, but we often fail to understand how it affects relationships.

We are all aware of how anxiety impacts people’s health, but we often fail to understand how it affects relationships.

Anxiety can cause periods of fear or panic, leave you feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, or cause anger and sadness. Anxiety can take over your mind and control your thoughts in ways you never imagined possible, and this can take its toll on your well-being and the well-being of your relationships.

Here is how anxiety impacts your relationships and what you can do to stop it

Those who suffer from anxiety know all too well the crushing feelings of dread that come along with it. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness. It can cause physical symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, dizziness, dry mouth, and feelings of tension. It can make you irritable, short-tempered, or tearful. Although everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some point in their lives, this experience is extreme for some. While typical in stressful situations, anxiety can significantly impact the health and well-being of your relationships.

Anxiety breaks down trust:

Anxiety can cause fear or worry that leaves you unaware of your actual needs. It may also lead you to be less attuned to your partner’s needs and desires, resulting in your partner feeling neglected. When you suffer from anxiety, you’re unable to focus, and it can be difficult to pay attention to what is happening around you. This can cause significant issues in your relationship because your partner will feel like you are not present or think you do not care.

Combat this by living in the moment. If you find yourself stressed out, worrying about the what-ifs, pause and think about this moment. Consider what you know and focus on the facts. Take a moment to calm your mind and keep yourself centered on what you know rather than what your mind is leading you to believe. It may help to share your fears with your partner. Letting them know what you are feeling or thinking is a great way to build trust and tell them that you care about them enough to let them help.  

Anxiety steals your voice

Anxiety can make it difficult for you to express yourself and leave you feeling overwhelmed, lost, or alone. Anxiety can be problematic to your relationship for many reasons. For example, experiencing anxiety may cause you to shut down and avoid discussing issues that need to be sorted out. It may also cause you to think that problems need to be addressed immediately when a break would be helpful. Anxiety also runs in a cycle. Not expressing your needs leads to increased anxiety, which leads to being unable to express your needs. Unfortunately, this cycle can go on endlessly if left unaddressed.

Combat this by acknowledging your feelings as soon as you have them.  While it can be hard to share what you are feeling, it does not have to be a disaster. Holding in your thoughts and feelings will make things far worse than just letting them out and talking about them openly. Practice sharing when you feel good, and this will open the door to sharing when you are not feeling so good.

Anxiety causes selfish behaviors

At its most basic level, anxiety is an overactive fear response. Unfortunately, this response can lead to acts of self-preservation, and you may become preoccupied with your concerns. This focus on protecting yourself or dealing with your worries may come across as selfish, putting added strain on an already stressed relationship.

Combat this by showing compassion and attending to needs, not fears when you feel anxiety rising, looking for understanding for both yourself and your partner, and asking for support.

Anxiety causes anger and resentment

Worrying about your relationship is a natural aspect of any union. However, healthy worry tells you that something ‘is not right.’  Unhealthy anxiety feels more like a rock in the pit of your stomach all the time. Unlike healthy anxiety, actions do not make this feeling fade, and you cannot rationalize them away quickly. When you experience someone being bullied, anxiety will cause you to speak up to rectify the situation. Unhealthy anxiety, on the other hand, will arise without cause and will have no clear solution.

Combat this by feeling the discomfort. Much like any emotion, you must feel anxiety if you hope to overcome it. Embrace the emotion, talk about it, and find ways to work through it. With practice, overcoming your feelings of fear will become a part of your daily routine.

Anxiety kills your joy

Joy requires you to feel safe and secure, something that is not usually present in anxious individuals. Instead, anxiety leaves you feeling fearful or trapped. Anxiety can also have serious physical effects. Increased anxiety will impact your ability to enjoy sex and can cause a lack of intimacy in your relationship.

Combat this by enjoying the moment. Try not to take life too seriously. Find joy and happiness when and where you can and look for ways to invite joy into your relationship. Laugh with your partner often. Joy helps combat anxiety and build a deeper bond.

Anxiety causes weaknesses

Understanding how anxiety impacts your relationship and making an active effort to combat these effects will help you build trust and lower stress.

Seek help if your anxiety is unmanageable and you are unable to find solutions on your own.

Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings with your partner as much as you can to show that you are trying to improve, and lean on them for support as needed. Cope with anxiety by remembering that your partner loves you and wants to help –  Learn to let them.


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