Is Your Anxiety Sabotaging Your Relationship?

Have you ever felt insecure about something that’s happened with your partner and got yourself worked up in your mind? I have. Many times.

If you can relate to being the kind of person whose emotions and anxieties can be easily triggered in a relationship, this video is really going to help you…

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Are you sabotaging your relationship? Have you in the past been responsible for sabotaging a relationship? It’s okay if you have. We’ve all done it, haven’t we? We’ve all done something that we wish we hadn’t, said something in a way where we think, “God, if I’d have thought that out more, if I could go back, I would have said that differently, I would have had that argument differently. Or maybe if I’d have approached it in that manner, we would never have had an argument in the first place.”

If you are the kind of person who perhaps leans into an anxious attachment style… We’ve all heard – well, many of us, I suppose, have heard – that concept in the book Attached about the three different attachment styles: avoidant, secure, and anxious. If we find ourself with that anxious attachment style, then one of the things that we can be guilty of is seeing something that we don’t like, or perhaps is just reminiscent all of an experience we’ve had in the past that we didn’t like, and now this is triggering us in a certain way.

Our brain very quickly concocts a story about what’s happening. It could be that your boyfriend goes to a party and doesn’t contact you for perhaps most of the night whilst at that party, and the anxious part of your brain latches on to this and starts immediately calculating what this means. We have this amazing ability as human beings to construct story very quickly. I think it’s one of the best and worst parts, I suppose, of being a human being, is that we have this super computer that makes deductions and calculations at this extraordinary rate.

And in this situation, especially if we’re someone who has a kind of anxious mindset, we can make lots of very rapid calculations about what this thing means. “They’re at this party and they’re not texting me because they’ve met someone and they’re flirting with this person.” And now we get jealous and angry and hurt, and that leads to the feelings of, “I’m not enough. This person is going to abandon me. This person is going to hurt me. This person is selfish. They’re a terrible person. They’re not who I thought they were.”

All of this can happen before we even got a chance to talk to this person and find out what the situation is. We might actually talk to that person and they go, “I was just with my friends.”

Our brain can take a small piece of information, a small piece of data, and the super computer splices that data with our demons, with our wounds, with the experiences we’ve had in the past, our biases based on the ways that we’ve been hurt. And it uses that to form the DNA of the story. There’s a Jurassic Park element in there, Harry. They take the dino DNA and they need to complete it with something else, so they splice it with frog, and boom, dinosaur. That was a pretty good pterodactyl.

What this means is, we very quickly start to have these emotions based on not reality, but the story that we’ve created in our minds. So when our partner comes back to us, we’re ready for a fight, because that pain that we’re feeling, the fear, the hurt, the sadness, the “I’m not enough” of it all has been converted into anger and anger means we now arm ourselves with our weapons and we attack.

Now, we all have our favorite weapon. Your favorite weapon might be giving someone the silent treatment. Your favorite weapon might be passive aggression. Your favorite weapon might be sarcasm. Your favorite weapon might be attacking someone head on. Now in that moment, what happens is, unless someone is incredibly perceptive – which it would, I suppose, be unreasonable to expect our partner to be this perceptive – they don’t see the hurt that’s going on beneath that, all they see is you brandishing your weapons and them trying to stop themselves from being decapitated or shot.

In other words, they’re in danger of sustaining damage themselves right now if we attack their character, their judgment, their intentions, if we call them bad at their core, then they’re dodging bullets. You can’t save someone else when you’re dodging bullets yourself.

And of course, this is one of the great ironies, that we don’t get to see how they could show up for us, how they could help come together with us to heal our wounds, because they’re too busy focusing on defending themselves. What it turns into is just animosity that blinds both parties to what’s really going on.

A lot of relationships and not because someone couldn’t handle our wounds, but because they couldn’t deal with our weapons. And the reason I think this is so interesting is because a lot of people have this feeling, it’s almost like an entitlement, that, “Someone has to be able to take me as I am. They have to be able to deal with me, baggage and all.”

There’s a grain of truth to that, in that we do want someone who can come along and help heal us. Great relationships should help heal past wounds in some way, because it’s two people who make each other feel safe, feel loved. But what we can’t do is blame someone for not being able to handle our weapons. We have to take personal responsibility for communicating our wounds in a vulnerable and real and authentic way that doesn’t attack the other person, but gives them a chance to truly show up for us. If all we do every time we’re hurt or scared is try to wound our partner, we’ll never see what their true potential could be in coming to our aid.

 

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Ian Malcolm:

Well there it is.

 

John Hammond:

There it is.

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Thanks so much for watching everyone. And by the way, so many of you are still not subscribed to the YouTube channel. Hit subscribe so that you never miss a video, and I’ll see you next week.

13 Responses to Is Your Anxiety Sabotaging Your Relationship?

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  1. Terri says:

    Hello Matthew!
    Great points!!
    I have put dating on hold for over a year because I was attracting guys who took my past hurts and used them to continue to do damage whether it was psychological, emotional or actual damage. So, they “showed up”, but in an unkind and evil way. 4 out of the last 5 guys I tried to date were Narcissists. Wondering if there are any normal guys out there? Meaning…they too may have past hurts, but are willing to try to have a real genuine relationship…

    Terri XOXO

  2. Kim says:

    Would love more videos on this and how to fix it because this is something I struggle with and there’s not a lot of information out there about it
    Would love to know how to resolve the past hurt and create a new story that empowers and how not to feel this anxiety about a partner, especially around cheating

  3. Rae says:

    Thank you for this! I have many triggers to anxiety in my romantic relationships. I’ve been holding up the mirror for months now, trying to get a clear image of my true self… and to learn control over my reactions/ responses. Your videos have been so valuable in helping me through. Thank you so much!!

  4. Ola Kowalska says:

    Hi Matthew, happy new year! Thank you for your amazing videos. I just watched the latest one about anxious attachme t. It is all about me, so many lost opportunities because I create a story in my head and attack. You said we need to take responsibilty to be vulnerable when communicating with a partner instead of attacking them. Can you give an example of such behaviour please, i really dont know what i can say whe i am so angry and hurt.

  5. Shauna says:

    Hi Matthew and team, could you tell me the author of this book? I feel that it’s an important step for me on my journey. This video really hit home. Sadly.

    Cheers,
    Shauna

  6. Ashley says:

    This was much needed. A guy im dating is currently out of the country and went to a party yesterday- I didn’t hear from him for 9 hours! My anxiety after a few hours was really high. But, when he finally reached out, I was very calm and happy for him. Once I showed him that, he opened up to me last night in a way he hadn’t before and was really romantic through text. Giving him that trust and space allowed me to see a new and exciting side of him.

  7. Gi Indoccio says:

    Yes…. I love the book attached….. I am also asking, “Please tell us the next step to communicate authentically and calmly”.

    How do we do this?

    Can’t wait to hear how.
    xoxo Gi :)

  8. Mt says:

    My partner is interstate atm, I truly believe we miss other the same,
    But I’ve been hurt before and feel/ think that while apart he doesn’t comment on many of my texts, I don’t slam him with continual texts, but it only takes a few seconds to reply at same part of his day and he doesn’t comment about those texts or pictures, while we catch on the phone.
    I do feel like sometimes I m taking for granted and I m trying to ride out my anxieties until he comes back and see how we react when we are in each other’s presence.

  9. Ghislaine says:

    Great video! Thank you! So then HOW do we come together to communicate constructively please and thanks :)

  10. Berni Reed says:

    Is Your Anxiety Sabotaging Your Relationship? Video

    I am Deaf. Could you put all the videos with subtitles please?
    Thank you for your time,
    Berni

  11. Anna says:

    So very true. Being aware of our attachment style and reactions to avoid self destruction can be a long journey and exhausting. Its like fighting the automatic response that wants to protect us, but instead prevent a healthy, loving relationship to thrive. How do we switch for healthier weapon? How do we keep kindness as our weapon of choice? How do we come back and stay to a safe, loving place? Healthy relationships are opportunities fo heal these old wounds but old wounds also can destroy them quickly if not taken care of. I started taking a 10min when needed to write down what creates anxiety. No need to share them or deal with them just yet. But by putting them down on paper it makes me relaxe more and calm down. As if I say to my anxious mind that im being seen and heard. But there is no need to react right now on these worries because its just based on speculations and not intuition. When I feel like this it just makes me feel unworthy of healthy love. And the inner talk is self destructive. I feel I need to rebuild self confidence and self worth everytime. It must get better with time right?

  12. maria says:

    Where is the next step after watching this video, do you have a specific link to help with this? I need your help! lol

  13. Noelle says:

    Now that I am aware… How do I go about fixing myself? Lol

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