Anxiety and Fear-Based Decisions
May 30, 2014 10:35 PM Subscribe
Yes, another anxiety-related question from me. I'm sorry. I'm currently in the throes of a possible breakup, and I've recently realized that I'm making far too many decisions based on fear - fear of having a panic attack, fear of getting sick, fear of having needs. This has damaged my relationship. I need to stop this behavior, but I'm not sure how to do so without becoming non-functional from the resulting anxiety.
posted by msbadcrumble to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
In doing some work, I've realized that, from childhood, I gained my sense of worth through being invisible in order to please adults or those important to me. I was praised for being a quiet, well-behaved, compliant, need-free kid. I internalized this and being invisible became my identity. I learned that having needs caused others to become angry or disappointed or irritated and they didn't want to be around me. I learned to be responsible for others' feelings. I don't stand up for myself. I don't express my needs or wants. I keep everything in. I know my anxiety has roots in this identity. My fear of having needs manifests in being afraid of getting sick and needing help. Then, I'm so afraid of getting sick, that I actually feel sick, and then the panic comes and then I feel worse, and on and on. My fear is that I will cause others to leave and/or I will be unlikable and considered a pain or worthless if I have needs. I'm afraid to be a person because people have needs and needs make others mad and they go away. I desperately want to overcome the anxiety and do what I need and want to do, both for myself and for my relationship. How do I make decisions that terrify me (i.e. cause panic) while remaining functional so I can actually follow through? In the past when I have done this, I became so anxiety-ridden that I literally could not eat. I lost five pounds in about a week and a half. I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't function. How do I convince myself that it's ok to have needs, it's ok to make decisions based on what I want rather than what others think I should do, that it's ok to stand up for myself and express my needs? I have never had a positive experience with expressing my needs with another person.
tl;dr: My anxiety is ruining my relationship because I make too many decisions based on fear. How can I stop while remaining functional (meaning, not becoming so anxious that I'm having continuous panic attacks where I can't eat, sleep, etc.)?