Anxiety and love are connected. Logic, as we think of it in the Western sense, is often prized above love, when love is thought of as an emotion that lacks intellect. Yet love, which is comprised of all six innate identified emotions (recognized and verified via social science the world over): fear, anger, happiness, sadness, surprise, and shame, is exquisite in its logic of self protection. We are designed by evolution to seek connection for survival and much research on attachment theory has verified this. So what happens when our sense of attachment with our partner feels threatened and we start to feel anxious?
Perpetual issues permeate every relationship. A perpetual issue is essentially an unresolvable problem, kind of like having a bad back when you age. We learn to live with chronic conditions like this and to make the best of things in spite of them. BTW, did you realize that marriage allows you to have the special privilege of annoying one person in particular for the rest of your life? Uhmmm…and the other way around as well? By definition, when you enter a relationship, you have chosen a set of problems that you will deal with for the duration of that relationship. Here’s an example of what I mean by a perpetual issue, and a technique for managing it called a gentle start up.
How many times have you obsessed over how to say just the right thing in just the right way so as not to offend someone you care about? Or perhaps tried to say something in a way that would not upset or offend your boss or coworker? Knowing what you need and saying it without sounding defensive or aggressive isn’t always easy. But life’s too short to be subtle! Leaving your fate to chance is like taking the long way around with the possibility that you may never arrive. It’s never too late to set new goals and go after your heart’s desire.
Wow. What matters most in therapy? There are so many schools of thought on that question it boggles the brain. Between the problem approach and the list of disorders published in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fifth Edition), identifying what makes therapy successful has about as many answers as there are economists predicting the stock market. When I scroll through other therapists’ listings on Psychology Today to see how many different disorders they treat, I start feeling a little queasy. Should I be treating all those? Listing all those specialties? Does that matter? Or should I maybe sound more warm and fuzzy like many sites do? Should I declare that my undying passion is to help others?
How do you like to be loved? Does this seem like a strange question? Or perhaps an unusual question? Maybe you don’t know the answer. Would you like to find out? You would be surprised at the simple, but not so obvious answer, to this conundrum.
Ever have the feeling that you and your partner are drifting apart like icebergs, and you don’t even know how it happened? This cold sense of drift is one that mounts very slowly over time, and then one day you just know that the relationship is in danger of being irretrievably lost, yet you experience the shame and sadness of not knowing how this happened. You begin to wonder if there is anything that can be done to save it.
Appreciate the boring, the routine, the mundane, the ubiquitous features of your daily life. If they were removed, you would grieve for the normalcy lost. This is in fact a thread in some of the testimonies recorded by Holocaust survivors in the memory foundation created by Stephen Spielberg as a part of living history. His USC Shoah Foundation has filmed about 52,000 two-hour eyewitness accounts in 34 languages and in 58 countries. What most struck me in some of the recordings is their gratitude for mundanity, the “everydayness” of the lives that were stolen from them. This Thanksgiving I see these testimonies as urging us to appreciate what we have.
Gratitude schmatitude. Bah humbug. And many other similar sentiments would express how I feel about the recent election shenanigans that were so filled with negativity. I had on my negative lens. But instead of dwelling with that experience, I chose to immerse myself in Cucalorus. Cuca-what you say?
Our bodies are truly amazing at protecting us. Which is one reason people ask me “What happens to my body during an anxiety attack?” Let’s talk physical.
Yes , that’s me stress whining. Lately I have been grousing and grumbling a good deal about my schedule and feeling slightly overwhelmed with my “To Do” List. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have a busy work and social life with much to accomplish, but the way I do stress management is to let off steam by doing a little whining. The question is what do you do to keep it all reigned in?
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Couples Counseling
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
Free parking at office