How does Anxiety affect your relationships with others?

People who suffer with anxiety or GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) are known to have difficulties in their lives, including relationship anxiety with relatives, friends and partners.

While you may worry a lot about your family, friends, coworkers, and others, you may use negative strategies to cope with this worry. Over time, this can erode the very relationships you are working so hard to maintain.

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may experience these symptoms:

  • Being afraid to let others close to leading to fewer relationships.
  • Difficulty expressing how you are feeling
  • Feeling fearful or defensive in romantic relationships
  • Unable to trust others
  • Avoiding activities with others out of fear
  • Being impatient and having a short temper with others
  • Feeling suspicious or lacking self-confidence and needing reassurance from others
  • Being irritable with others or overly critical
  • Overreacting to situations
  • Ending relationships out of fear of being hurt
  • Feeling dependent on or clingy toward others, which can lead to being in controlling or abusive relationships
  • Feeling insecure

Here are a few suggestions to help avoid relationship anxiety problems:

  • Think (not over-think) before voicing an anxious thought
  • Do something with others that makes you laugh to relieve anxiety
  • Go easy on other people when you feel anxiety is controlling your behavior
  • Talk about problems instead of holding it all in and letting your anxiety spiral out of control
  • Try to see your behavior through the eyes of your friends, relatives, and significant other and understand their behavior from their point of view
  • If your behavior affects others, tell them you have GAD. If they’ve never experienced anxiety they may not get it completely but at least it will give them an idea of why you react to situations the way you do
  • Think twice before burning a bridge with someone; is anxiety fueling your behavior?
  • Ask for support. Sometimes we just need a hug or someone to tell us to take a deep breath and think before we act
  • Seek the help of a therapist
  • Reading self-help books: I will have some suggestions on coming soon.

Bottom line is that as human beings we are meant to have relationships of many kinds.  This means we must let others close which puts us in a vulnerable position…That’s scary as hell. We also must learn to love and respect ourselves so that others can.  Once we can let our guard down and let others in the rewards outweigh the risk.