Interpersonal Relationships With A Person With Anxiety

by Sharon Vaughn,
Conscious Reminder, Conscious Reminder

Worry and fear are a part of all of our lives. But, what happens when they overshadow everything else and become the ruling factors? Anxiety. Anxiety is one of the most straining disorders because it not just affects the person with anxiety but also everyone in his/her life.

We all have a brief understanding of how it might feel to suffer from anxiety – remember the last time you worried about something. Now, what would you go through if you had that feeling round the clock? That’s anxiety for you.

However, not a lot is said about people who are in interpersonal relationships with a person with anxiety. It can be painstaking, to say the least, for them to try and understand what their loved one is going through and to help him/her.

Let’s take a deeper look from the perspective of a loved one of someone with anxiety to comprehend this better:

The clinginess

People with anxiety may be extremely clingy, which is resultant of their fear of losing their loved one. Whether you are a spouse, a sibling, or a friend, a few are over-protective and over-nurturing because they live every second with the fear that they might lose you or something might happen to you.

The loved one, on the other hand, may find this suffocating (to be blunt). Not many people can withstand clingy nature and regardless of how patient one might be it can get taxing and breed negativity because they may not find space to breathe.

The extreme detachment

A few people with anxiety are on the other end of the spectrum completely. Out of the fear that they may lose their loved ones or that they might be burdening them, people with anxiety disorder tend to detach themselves completely.

This kind of behavior is hurtful, to say the least. Loved ones of people with anxiety go through a lot of emotional trauma because of this. It is indeed a terrible feeling when someone who means a lot to you shuns you away.

The need to ensure everything is perfect (by your definition)

Anxiety disorder causes the sufferer to recheck everything multiple times, hurry back to the car a few times to see if it is locked, place their laptop in the exact place every day, worry about parking spaces even when there’s ample space to park, and so on.

This compulsive attitude that stems from anxiety causes a lot of distress for colleagues, friends, and spouses. The fact that they do not really understand the compulsion to do all this makes it worse for them.

Honestly, no one but someone with anxiety disorder knows how it feels to worry about everything. That’s probably why they get snippy and snap at their loved one who is already going through a lot in his/her head due to anxiety issues.

Believe me when I tell you – it is no fun to suffer from anxiety. It is not a good feeling at all to live your life worrying about every small thing and person in your life. Having said that, I feel it is also very stressful for friends and family to deal with this every day.

The coldness

You have noticed restlessness and cold attitude from your loved one who suffers from anxiety disorder. This may be due to many factors – he/she may be going through an internal battle about something, your lack of understanding may have irritated him/her, or it is a defense mechanism to try and tackle with different things in life.

Whatever the reason may be, being on the receiving end of cold attitude is very upsetting.

The bottom-line

In our haste to help those with anxiety, we often forget that their loved ones need just as much help as they do.

They are mostly clueless about handling situations and fail to realize what their loved one is going through. Also, it is only human to get irritated. So, it would be wrong to put the blame on them.

Living with someone with anxiety often causes more stress and pain than we care to acknowledge. It is harsh, hurtful, and debilitating for both sides, which is why interpersonal relationships with someone with anxiety are usually strained.

We believe, though, that with proper education – for both parties – and patience, it is possible to develop healthy and happy relationships wherein each partner supports the other.

It is definitely hard to share your life with someone who needs more attention but it is also very rewarding because when someone with anxiety disorder loves you, he/she loves you to the core and would lay his/her life for you. It is nothing but a matter of time and trust for you and him/her alike to make it work.

After all, all interpersonal relationships come with their baggage. We don’t give up on them, do we?

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