Do you find yourself craving certainty? If this happens on a regular basis for you, here is one thing I know for sure. Craving certainty is a surefire recipe for anxiety. Craving certainty is the very definition of anxiety. Craving certainty creates the anxiety habit. And yes, it is a habit.
Have you ever found yourself so wound up you simply cannot untangle what it is that is bothering you the most? Entangled thoughts make you feel like you can’t think clearly because you have an inner dialogue going on that you have created about some aggressive, relationship-ruining, sexual, logic-defying, bewildering, even violent content running through your mind. You may experience a healthy dose of guilt and shame alongside that content, because you wonder how on earth you can be a good or sane person and think this way.
Perhaps you have learned that no matter how hard you try, your anxious unwanted intrusive thoughts are not going away. That is because anxiety is a paradox, meaning the harder you try, the more persistent the thoughts become. You no doubt have heard the phrase “What you resist persists.”
That is how OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) thoughts operate.
Ever unlocked your car in the parking lot of the grocery store with a big ole bag of groceries in your hand and looked down to find you just stepped in a wad of gum? Gum that has been baking on the asphalt to a nice stretchy glob of stickiness? Then you spend 10 minutes trying to get the mess off your shoe while the ice cream in your grocery bag slowly turns to mush. Maybe you succeeded in getting a bit off, but you also did an excellent job of spreading around what remained into an even wider area of that disgusting suction you now have with every step.
PSA: Get some awe. Go out and get yourself to a place where you can easily feel your insignificance. A place in nature where you can look up, down and all around, and breathe in the idea that all of the anxiety, the worry, the daily grind, don’t matter. At least not in that moment.
Lately the world is abuzz with talk of narcissism. Politics aside, sometimes I see this in the therapy room. It is more subtle than you might expect. These behaviors are not as black and white as this yin/yang symbol. Indeed, this set of emotional behaviors is more like 50 shades of gray! Why? Because it is often difficult for a partner to pin down why they are the ones feeling exhausted and depressed when dealing with a narcissist. Is it Oz? The comparison of Oz as the epitome of the narcissist is used by Eleanor D. Payson in her book The Wizard of Oz And Other Narcissists. She sees the wizard from the movie The Wizard of Oz as a glowing example of narcissism, and Dorothy as the “codependent” who repeatedly and desperately tries many ways to please him in her goal of getting back home. In this classic example, both parties fit together in a yin and yang manner, perpetuating this painful dance.
Hello everyone! This post is a Part II to last week’s, which you can read here if you missed it.
What happens when you are fighting with your lover and you get either so hurt, or so angry, that you can’t think clearly?
Research by Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University demonstrates that mammals develop a special pathway in the amygdala that lights up when they perceive their mate is unavailable. Panksepp is convinced this special pathway exists in all mammals. So what happens when you feel, most likely without even realizing it, that your connection with your partner is under threat? You are plunged into what he terms “primal panic.” The primal part is due to the absolute need, a primal need, for connection to others–especially our significant others.
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.
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.
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Anxiety Therapy
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
Free parking at office