Do you try to help, but only seem to make the worry worse?
Understanding and identifying anxiety in our partners can be complicated and frustrating. First of all, why are they getting anxious? The situation and environment may seem safe and routine to us, but cause panic in our partners.
Below are a few facts about anxiety and ways to counter the reactions you may be seeing.
1. Anxiety is fear based- not logic based
● Anxiety starts in either the cortex (thinking part of our brain) or in the amygdala (fight or flight center)
● Both are largely fear based
● The amygdala attaches negative emotions to our environment-think
planes= unsafe or public speaking= embarrassment, but also positive
associations ( apple pie=grandmas house)
2. Anxiety “sounds the alarm”
● It is often described as a fire alarm going off in my head
● Some association has been made that the situation is “unsafe.”
3. When the alarm goes off, we react
● Fight or flight or freeze, these are the primary functions of the amygdala.
● The goal of the anxious brain is largely to become safe again
4. We have fire drills for a reason
● If your partner struggles with anxiety, discuss this ahead of time and
establish what it is they need from you when they are struggling. It will be
different for everyone and may change as they learn more about their
5. Most importantly: be patient and ask questions after the anxiety has subsided
● Again,anxiety is not always logical or personal. As a team, you and you
partner can understand how to better control the anxiety.
Rodney is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional with 10+ years experience working with couples of all shapes and sizes. Contact Rodney at 603-892-9777 or at www.603counseling.com to learn more and schedule your free 15min consultation.