It's been a very anxious two weeks for me. I don't consider myself an anxious person, nor do I consider myself someone who gives into anxiety. These past two weeks, however, I've been beaten over the head by my anxious thoughts. The earliest I've been able to sleep is midnight; the very thought of work has left me simply exhausted. Feeling overwhelmed has become normal. What this means for you is even when you reach a level of mastery, you never "arrive"; there are still struggles & challenges to overcome. You are not alone; whether you feel anxious in regard to your kids, your job, your spouse, your parents, your finances.
I've definitely learned a lot as a result of my intense anxiety, and I hope you will be able to benefit from what I've learned. Primarily, I discovered my anxiety was really a result of the transference in my relationships with significant others.
Do you ever feel like you need someone else's approval or acceptance?
I know I wouldn't have thought so if it weren't for these past two weeks. However, when you begin doing something different, you start taking risks, you step outside your comfort zone, it's amazing how rapidly your confidence can diminish. Maybe none of those apply to you; perhaps you simply feel anxiety in your marriage. Maybe your anxiety is represented in the fear of the unknown: "How will my wife respond if I tell her...?" "What would my husband do if I...?" "What will happen to us if I get laid off?" "What would he/she think if I was completely honest with them?" Any "what if?" question in your mind is essentially the fear of the unknown. I'm not saying if you've ever asked yourself "what would happen" you have anxiety about the unknown.
Sometimes it can be a good objective way of gathering information or brainstorming ideas. I'm talking about when "what would happen" is answered with fear, shame, guilt, negative self-perception, or negative scripting about your relationship with someone else. When "what would happen" only has negative answers or fears and there's little to no positive alternatives, it's most likely a fear of the unknown. You're basically feeling afraid you'll lose out or miss out or won't get something you believe you truly need or are hoping for.
I share my experience with you because often anxiety, especially the fear of the unknown, keeps couples from having the marriage they truly want and hoped for on their wedding day. Let me ask you a question: When you were at the alter, looking into your lover's eyes, were you dreaming of a life filled with frustration, despair, hopelessness, powerlessness, arguments, fights & conflicts? Of course not! I'd be willing to bet instead you were dreaming of a life overflowing with love, passion, peace, fun, fulfillment & happiness, right? Yet this hope is seldom realized by most couples. And those who don't get to experience this type of marriage are quick to talk about the "realities" of marriage. You know what I mean - every marriage has problems; every couple fights; conflict is normal; it's normal to not be as passionate as you once were; of course you begin to take each other for granted.
But what if they were wrong?
You see, I don't think the "reality" of marriage is actually reality. I think it's what most couples settle for because they won't take the risks involved in getting the marriage, the love, the fulfillment, the peace, the passion, the happiness they truly want. Marriage requires facing your fear of the unknown. It necessitates challenging your anxious thoughts & pushing forward in spite of them. You can't hide from yourself or your partner or your kids because you wonder what someone might say, think, or do if you were honest about how you really feel, what you really need or want, your experience in your relationship with them, or what you really think. Because when you choose to do so you're also choosing to have a marital relationship defined by frustration, a lack of fulfillment, & arguments.
Caesar wouldn't have these problems
It's easy to believe if circumstances were different your marital problems would be different too. If only you had more money, more time, more wealth, more power, more affluence. The reality is most of the problems in marriage are caused because one, if not both, of the people in a marriage are giving up their power - to their partner. And, their creating (usually unconsciously) a dynamic where their sense of acceptance and approval comes from their partner as well. Yet we don't like in the Roman Empire & Caesar isn't Emperor. Your partner doesn't have life or death power over you. Their word isn't the law or truth. You're equals; you have equal power & only you can approve or disapprove of your self, choices, or actions. Acceptance of you ultimately begins and ends with you. And when it doesn't you'll experience conflict, strife, arguments...ever experience any of these? I'd say that's the litmus test. If you are on a regular basis it tells me there's possibly a power imbalance and/or one or both of you is secretly depending on the other for approval and/or acceptance.
P.S.: If this article was helpful to you, encouraged or supported you, or if you learned something new or were reminded of something you needed to be reminded of - let me know! I'd love to hear from you!! Email me. Also, if you think it would benefit someone you care about, please do them a favor and "pass it on