Was this a weird thing to do or am I just having major anxiety?
December 20, 2014 2:45 PM   Subscribe

How can I escape a spiraling anxiety and shame based mood and be realistic? I'm drivong myself crazy.

Here's the situation. I spent the night at my boyfriend of 2 months house (his parents house) the other night. He had to work at 630 and got up at 530 to get ready. He said I didn't have to get up right away. So at 6 when he was leaving I think he was expecting me to have been up or at least get up then and go home. But for some reason I thought he said I didn't have to get up and I had slept really heavy and was out of it. So he said he was leaving, probably expecting me to get up finally, and I said ok have a good day. And he left because he was running late. And then I realized I should get up and leave so I did. Now I feel retarded. I'm freaking out about it thinking how stupid I am, he probably didn't know what to say to me. I texted him yesterday and he hasn't texted me back yet. I keep embarrassing myself and being awkward and weird in front of him and I'm fearing he'll start to reject me. I can't tell if I am just in an anxiety shame spiral or not. I am so socially awkward. I am my own worst enemy. Do you think he thinks I'm rude now? I hope I'm not completely alone in these thoughts.
posted by anon1129 to Human Relations (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
No one knows whether he thinks it's rude or not but him. With that said, personally, it wouldn't even occur to me to think that my girlfriend is being rude by sleeping in at my house when I had invited her to sleep there and I had to go somewhere early.
posted by Flunkie at 2:51 PM on December 20, 2014 [9 favorites]

At 6am I'm not even human, much less socially apt. I think that's totally normal and I don't expect other people to be anything other than sleepy at that hour. If you have to go to work early any normal person would be fine with their lover staying in bed. I would so not worry about this at all.
posted by fshgrl at 2:59 PM on December 20, 2014 [6 favorites]

I don't think you were rude, just sleepy. If he really, really wanted you to leave he should have said so.
I would hold off on the texts in favor of a face-to-face conversation. Way easier to gauge his reaction.
posted by tuesdayschild at 3:02 PM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

It does sound like a shame spiral to me. Don't try to read his mind. The idea that he wanted you to leave when he left seems to be coming from your imagination and not from anything he said. Tell your imagination it's not being helpful and to please shut up.
posted by bleep at 3:04 PM on December 20, 2014 [9 favorites]

If he wanted you to leave, he should have said so.

If he needed you to leave, he would have said so.

Don't worry about it.
posted by ageispolis at 3:10 PM on December 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


- He could have said the words, "I need you to get up at X time." That was his job if he needed that!!

- He's rude for not texting you back!!

I think you should scale back your expectations for this relationship. He is a shitty communicator.

You might want to dump him if his shitty communicating is causing you so much weirdness.

Actually. Wait.

" I keep embarrassing myself and being awkward and weird in front of him and I'm fearing he'll start to reject me. "


I'm betting 99% of your embarrassment ensues after he acts like a withholding fuckhead instead of using his goddamn words to tell you exactly what he means.

Whenever someone sends you repeatedly into "shame spirals" dump them without prejudice.

Whether incompatibility or someone actively fucking with your head, keeping it going will be impossible without loss of sanity and self-confidence.
posted by jbenben at 3:10 PM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think it's a little premature to say that he should be dumped because

(1) He didn't say he needed her to get up at a certain time.

(2) He didn't text her back yet.

(3) The OP has anxiety.

After all,

(1) Presumably, he didn't say he needed it because he didn't need it.

(2) Come on, it's been a day. I sometimes literally go weeks without texting people back; not because I'm snubbing them, but because I generally don't think to check my text messages.

(3) I'm not sure how the fact that the OP feels anxious proves that it's the boyfriend's fault that she's anxious.

We haven't really been given much information about the boyfriend at all, and the zealous and quite self-convinced OMG DTMFA seems absurd to me.
posted by Flunkie at 3:18 PM on December 20, 2014 [6 favorites]

It's not your job to read your boyfriend's mind. If he needs you to do a particular thing, he can ask you to do it. In the absence of that, if he suddenly rejects you or whatever for something so silly, he's just not worth it. Believe me, any relationship where you have to be constantly walking on eggshells, wondering if you're making the wrong move is just not sustainable.
posted by peacheater at 3:23 PM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I can't tell if I am just in an anxiety shame spiral or not

You definitely are.

There are a couple of things you should know, though since this is probably psychological, I don't know if being told them will help:

(1) If he didn't tell you that you needed to leave by the time that he did, then that's on him. This normally means it's okay to stay, and therefore, if he needed you to leave he needed to tell you. It's in no way your fault for not being able to read his mind at 6am, if that's even what he wanted you to do.

(2) People in relationships are awkward and weird around each other all of the time! A lot of the time, this is because they spend way too much time trying to guess what the other person's thinking instead of just talking about it, but a lot of the time, it's just that people are in general huge dorks.

There is no way to avoid making mistakes sometimes and you should be easier on yourself! Being open is one way that I think it's easier to short-circuit the obsessive thoughts about what you could/should have done. "Sorry if you wanted me to leave when you did, but at six am you've gotta be frank with me because I couldn't read the back of a cereal box, much less someone else's mind."

I think jbenben's advice to DTMFA right now is really overreacting; you haven't told us enough about your relationship to know if this partly his fault or not. Waiting a whole day to text you back (if he hasn't yet) is still way too much for a gf, though. I think that you've picked up on that being too long and are now trying to come up with reasons why he hasn't -- but the way you're doing it is to blame yourself. That's not good! There are many possible reasons, from your text getting buried (happens to me) to him being a poor communicator (happens to me also).
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:27 PM on December 20, 2014 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah, I deffinitely have anxiety and I think my boyfriend is actually a great communicator. I'm just awkward at times and have been running this situation thru my head the past day without talking about it to anyone and I blew it way out if proportion as I suspected. I have no good reason to think that he will reject me exactly, it's just that I see myself as socially awkward and uncool and him as cool and tactful. It's my issue and I'm working on it and trying to separate it from the relationship.
posted by anon1129 at 3:28 PM on December 20, 2014

You are definitely catastrophizing but I think most of us have done that. I do not think this is a very big deal. I will say though, one added factor is that this house is his parents' house, and not having been dating very long, he may have felt it awkward to leave you with his parents.
posted by Glinn at 3:50 PM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I texted him yesterday and he hasn't texted me back yet.

What did you say? Word for word if you're able - obviously, remove identifying info.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:52 PM on December 20, 2014

Based on your previous questions which have similar threads of anxiety you should definitely consider therapy. I think you would find it very helpful in situations like this!
posted by cecic at 4:45 PM on December 20, 2014

And again, I reiterate:

Text is to communicate short, factual information. Things like: running 5 min late, movie starts at 7 not 7:30, call me.

You call to speak to people, especially when the nuance of tone of voice and immediacy are important, which is always when you're feeling weird or vulnerable.

Also, you did nothing wrong in this scenario, he said stay and sleep. He didn't amend his statement. If he needed you to be up and out, he should have said so. If he tries to lay it on you (if in fact there's even an issue) then simply say, "Dude, if that was the case, you should have said something, I'm not a mind reader."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:46 PM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You are obsessing and catastrophizing and you should stop thinking about this. If you're still reading this thread, stop! Interrupt that shame spiral!
posted by mskyle at 4:50 PM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: DTMFA


As far as I can tell the OP's friend has thus far done absolutely nothing problematic! OP is just catastrophising something she doesn't even know for certain is an issue of any sort. He may have simply been saying goodbye when he said he had to leave!

OP: without knowing what you texted it's impossible to say whether not texting back is at all meaningful. I can say that you shouldn't be having any kind of serious conversation via texting, though. Texting is for "do you need me to pick up milk?" or "be there in 5 minutes".
posted by Justinian at 5:40 PM on December 20, 2014 [16 favorites]

Best answer: Wow, I think the DTMFA advice is really really strange and out of line here. As in, so jawdroppingly weird that I actually thought it was supposed to be a parody or something and was waiting for the "Hahaha, just kidding!" There's precisely zero here to base that advice on.

OP, you're catastrophizing. That's all. I recognize it really well; I do this kind of thing all the time and it's your own brain telling you stories. I'm guessing you do this pretty frequently, right? It's just more of the same.

Of course, no one reading this can tell you where this very new relationship is headed because you haven't provided enough information (not a criticism -- you probably couldn't even if you wanted to, at this stage of the game). But should you be worrying about this one incident? Nope nope nope. At most, it was a miscommunication between the two of you because you don't know each other well yet. That's all. Maybe the relationship will last for the long haul and maybe not, but either way, it will have nothing to do with this incident.
posted by holborne at 7:07 PM on December 20, 2014 [13 favorites]

If your boy was that tactful and wonderful a communicator, you wouldn't feel weird and awkward quite as often as you report, even with anxiety issues.

Yeah, no. Anxiety does not work like that at all. I frequently feel awkward and embarrassed around the most tactful and wonderful of people, because it's all in my head and has approximately zero to do with them. This dumping advice is beyond weird here; it's totally excessive.

OP: what you did was, to my mind, totally normal. Anytime I've had a boyfriend sleep over, if I have to get up early and they have to go too, I say so. Otherwise I say "go back to sleep, make yourself at home, I'll be back at whenever." I'm pretty sure that most people, if they need someone to be out by a given time, will say something to that effect, and from what you've said it doesn't sound like your boyfriend did. If he did need you to go, it's on him for not saying so--and what you've said about his communication skills indicates that he would have.

So don't sweat it. Sure, say to him "I was kind of bleary and out of it yesterday morning and wasn't really clear about whether I should leave or not, sorry if that caused any difficulties." Or even ask him point blank if he feels you were rude.

Sometimes when in a spiral of shame/anxiety/depression it helps to do a really objective reality check. Make a list, even. Think of--or write down--the actual facts of a given situation. Be objective; go only with what a video camera would have captured. No thoughts or emotions or feelings or motivations, only what is observable reality. Examine how what you are feeling maps onto that reality, and you may well see ways to break out of the spiral.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:24 PM on December 20, 2014 [8 favorites]

Anxiety is GREAT fun, huh? Everyone is right: it's his job to say, for instance, "I feel a little weird about you hanging around my family when I'm not here, so tomorrow, would you mind getting up at 6 and leaving when I do?"

If you think he isn't communicating that way, you could ask him to. "Hey, so, I have this anxiety thing where I imagine people are wanting me to do things I don't know, so I'm constantly reminding myself that it's not my job to read minds. What this means is, please don't ever expect me to read your mind! Please, if you want something, just ask. I promise I won't be offended by the request, whatever it is, and you'll be doing me a huge favor by helping me stop trying to mind-read if you directly ask when you want something." Praise him the next couple times he asks for something outright for good measure. Or here's a different approach: "by the way, I'm shite at picking up on hints, so please tell me directly if you ever want me to do something. I'm warning you now! :) One day you'll think 'why didn't she do X?' If you didn't ask me directly, I didn't do it because my hint-detector is broken. You have been warned! :) " After you make either of these requests, it is officially Not Your Job to pick up on subtle hints.

I'm sorry that somewhere along the line you learned that you were supposed to read someone's mind and that you should be ashamed and might be rejected when you miss a secret signal. Fuck that! It's impossible to figure out what people need. They're adults and can communicate with words. Whoever treated you that way ... well, I'll just say, you deserved better. That's why I suggest you tell him outright that you are moving on from Guess culture, so that you can -- guilt-free -- move into a new phase where it isn't your job to figure out things that go unspoken. Surround yourself with adults who ask for what they want and don't play games.

For instance, you deserve to sleep when you're sleepy (unless someone asks you to please leave when they do) and to not feel at ALL bad. Sleep is one of those fundamental human needs and greatly pleasurable. You probably really needed the sleep! Any hint given while you're too sleepy to process it officially does not count. Sleeping people can't drove cars, vote, or be expected to figure out hints. It's the awake person's responsibility to help the person woken out of deep sleep figure out what the heck is going on.

I love to sleep! I probably would've done what you did, except stayed sleeping in until about 10 or 10:30 am and then been all, "hey what's up, Mr. and Mrs. X? I'm anon1129. I can't believe we're only finally meeting now. Joe had to leave early, but today's my day off, so I slept in. It's really nice to meet you. Have a good day!"
posted by salvia at 12:33 AM on December 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Mod note: A couple of comments deleted. Please don't post repeatedly to argue your point; it's okay to post just your advice once and let the OP choose what makes sense or is helpful for them. Also please use regular paragraph style rather than taking up tons of screen space with superfluous breaks, which can be annoying for readers and people navigating on mobile devices, particularly. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:36 AM on December 21, 2014 [27 favorites]

I used to worry about all this kind of stuff, too. You're not weird or anything, but it would be better for your mental health to work on strategies to deal with your anxiety, so that you don't get so worked up about things that aren't a big deal.

It is annoying that your boyfriend didn't respond to your text message, but I wonder if maybe he doesn't think this is at all a big deal, and he doesn't want to feed your anxiety by replying. If he doesn't reply to the message about this, I think that it would be okay if the next time you saw him you just said something like, "Hey, I hope it was okay that I left the house after you the other day. I'm not used to getting up quite so early. Do you need me to get up at the same time as you next time?"

Try not to stress about these little things. If your relationship doesn't work out because your boyfriend, who didn't make it clear that he wanted you up, is upset that you left the house after him, then it just isn't meant to be. I don't think you have to worry about that yet, though, because this isn't a big deal.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 7:34 AM on December 21, 2014

I texted him yesterday and he hasn't texted me back yet.

One of my personal rules is to make a point of flat refusing to assign any emotional importance whatsoever to texts (including the lack of them).

It's a good rule. I recommend it. Texts are for reminding you to pick up some milk on the way home. They are not a competent relationship management tool.
posted by flabdablet at 8:07 AM on December 21, 2014 [11 favorites]

I think without confirmation from boyfriend himself, you should assume this is in your head. See how he acts when you're together again. At most, you could say something like, "Hey, I was really out of it this morning, I hope it was okay that I slept in?" and see what he says. Since you acknowledge you have some anxiety issues (don't we all!), I think he gets the benefit of the doubt for now.

Yeah, sometimes we can pick up on a vibe that someone is uncomfortable, and the vibe is correct, and then we have to deal with it. But sometimes we pick up vibes that come from our own discomfort, and honestly, that's where I'm putting my money on this one.
posted by kythuen at 9:41 AM on December 21, 2014

Best answer: Hey, this sounds like it was really stressful and tough for you. I think you're taking a really healthy approach by checking your feelings out to see if they're proportional to the situation. Great self-care move!

I think in the long-term, therapy would really be helpful for this--specifically, you might consider looking for someone trained in dialectical behavioral therapy. It's supportive and chock-full of helpful practical tools for dealing with this level of interpersonal anxiety. I really believe that someone who already has your level of insight (you know you're anxious, you know that you have a shame spiral going on) will do GREAT with some additional tools and support.

Hang in there!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:22 AM on December 21, 2014

I think suggesting you dump your boyfriend because he didn't text you back once is maybe excessive even for the green and DTMFA-happy plains of AskMefi.

If you are wondering if he's angry at you then ask him. He'll almost certainly say 'no', or maybe 'huh? why would I be angry?' That's the answer to your question. In the unlikely event he says yes, then say 'sorry!' Then go and do something nice together.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:35 PM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think he was expecting me to...
probably expecting me to...
he probably didn't know what to say to me...
I'm fearing he'll start to...
Do you think he thinks...?

Girl, please, just stop. Sadly, no, you are not alone. Many of us possess jerk brains that won't shut up.
My only recommendation: ASK HIM. As soon as you start to hear words like those above in your head, stop that internal self-talk and ask the guy what he thinks/feels about the situation. If he can't communicate his thoughts-intentions-expectations clearly, then you guys are not a good match.
posted by divina_y_humilde at 4:01 PM on December 21, 2014 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: So, just so everyone knows what happened, I was totally freaking out for now reason. I see now that I was just havingmajor anxiety for no reason. The next time we hung out he made no mention of it. I really had nothing to worry about
posted by anon1129 at 8:29 PM on December 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I see now that I was just having major anxiety for no reason.

But of course there was some reason.

The trouble with brain farts is that they lie to us about why they're happening, and we believe them because they're us.

But one of the nifty things about being able to think is that we can, if we remember to, step back from what seems to be the cause of an episode of anxiety and check whether the anxiety itself is part of a larger pattern.

In many cases, this simple step alone is enough to blunt the urgency of acting on whatever it is that the anxiety appears to be "about". But if it isn't enough, and if getting a reality check from other people as you've done here convinces you that the anxiety was spurious, and if this kind of thing happens often enough to annoy you, then it's worth treating that larger pattern as a problem to be solved in its own right.

That might involve anything from a regular mindfulness practice combined with some regular physical exercise to therapists and/or medication. But there is almost always a way to reduce chronic anxiety to easily tolerable levels; it's not something that needs to torment us for life.
posted by flabdablet at 12:16 AM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

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