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Anxiety in Relationships: Why We Push Away Instead of Leaning In

There seems to be a lot of talk on social media about attachment styles and how they hurt or help in creating bonds. Rather than go into all the various attachment styles and how they interact I wanted to take a moment and talk about one of the key factors that seems to play a huge role in relationship bonding. How we connect with other people depends a great deal on the amount of trust we have with the other person.

Imagine trying to be emotionally vulnerable with someone that you are not sure you can trust. When you don’t know if you can trust the other person any attempt to connect can lead to anxiety. The only way that we can feel safe and move out of the anxiety is to put distance between ourselves and the other person. We take for granted that if you have gotten married or are dating someone you trust the other person. Sometimes the desire for connection can be stronger than the fear of being hurt. That does not mean that the relationship is healthy or that trust is suddenly built and the anxiety around it goes away.

When Trust is an Issue

When trust is an issue many times the closer we get to someone the more we fear that we will be hurt. We cling to the other person, attempt to control the other person, or push the other person away to see what will happen, all to lessen the feeling of anxiety we have. Unfortunately, these attempts seldom work, instead, they leave us with more anxiety as well as making our partner feel as though they can never do anything right. There can be several reasons why you have an anxious attachment style. Many professionals believe it has to do with early childhood trauma, feelings of abandonment or not getting your needs met. Others feel that this can happen later in life due to relationship trauma that leaves you feeling unsure of yourself and others.

What Can You Do?

So, what can you do about this anxiety and the chaos it can bring? First, it can be important to figure out how much of this anxiety is due to your insecurities versus the actual actions the other person has taken. If you have evidence that the other person is hurting you, not they will. We have no control over the future, nor can we go back and undo the hurt we have experienced in the past. You can deep dive if you wish through journaling what early need may not have been met. Communication is key, however. The ability to discuss fears without being accusatory. “Hey, I know I am insecure about this, can you reassure me now and then.” Sit down with your partner and discuss the fears, insecurities, and what you need. It is also not your partner’s responsibility to fill all of your needs. That is an unfair expectation and gives the other person a no-win scenario. One mistake and all the trust is gone. So, discussing boundaries and expectations is crucial. It is possible to step out of anxiety and move into trust with work and perseverance.

At Mind Works Counseling Services in Lubbock, TX. We are prepared to help walk you through this journey to a healthy, happy relationship. Feel free to call us if you need help traveling along the path.

Learn more about the Relationship Counseling services we offer.

Contact us to schedule an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.

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