Social Question

prolificus's avatar

How do you cope with anxiety triggered by the dynamics of on-going relationships?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) April 17th, 2010

Last night I posted a very detailed question about a personal situation involving family. It was helpful for me to disclose private information. The responses to the previous question were helpful, too. While the anxiety of the situation has felt suffocating, seeing the situation exposed allows me to see how anxiety has been affecting me. Also, it is allowing me to see the bigger picture in other relationships.

I’m beginning to consider ways I can deal with my anxieties within the context of my on-going relationships. So, in this question, I am not seeking advice per se. Instead, I’m curious to see how others have dealt with their specific situations.

When you realize the dynamics of an on-going relationship triggers anxiety, how do you cope with your anxiety AND continue being in relationship with the person whose presence or behaviors triggers the anxiety?

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8 Answers

Ron_C's avatar

I can truthfully say that I don’t put much thought into it. I find that overthinking a relationship is the surest way to kill it. I live by a simple rule, I avoid irritating people as much as possible. If I can’t avoid them I try to see the funny side of my irritation. I enjoy meeting new people but am not afraid to spend time by myself. I can be a very interesting and entertaining person (at least to myself).

So what I am saying, try not to think too much about your anxieties and get to know yourself. I am sure that there must be some things you like that don’t requre team participation.

janbb's avatar

I guess for me the best way to reduce my anxiety about relationships – the one with my mother being a prime one in the past – is to do things that take me out of my own head and my ruminative thoughts about the relationship. Hanging out with people I really enjoy is one the best ways I’ve found to get out of my head; another is strenuous exercise. Specifically, one of the things that helped my handle my relationship with my mother was giving myself some permission to put some distance between us; i.e., getting Caller I.D. and not always picking up the phone when she called, and in general, not always jumping when she told me to jump. Getting to the point where you feel entitled to say “no’ is very difficult, but very helpful in managing stressful relationships. (And sometimes therapy is needed for that.)

escapedone7's avatar

Read up on setting and keeping healthy boundaries and try to practice putting some in place. Use lots of boundaries .

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

I live with two bitter middle aged women who hate men and don’t have goals. What I do to help with the anxiety is exersize, it’s a distraction for one, and it make my body stronger, Sometimes you just have to let things go through one ear and out the other, unless you learn to do that at times, you will get over whelmed.

Rangie's avatar

My oldest sister now 70, is like your mother. All she talks about is dying, her illness, her injuries. Always managing to drop the little upending remark, “I just don’t feel well, I don’t think I will last much longer”. I hate that. I have 2 other sisters. The one that is 68 just does not call her. But continues to talk about her. The youngest 65, listens all the time, and then becomes hateful when she tells others family members about it. I listen to a point. My usual answer is “oh that’s too bad.” and
then laughingly say, well, that’s what happens when we get old. Then I go on to change the subject. My contact with her is limited. She is too depressing.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I have circles of intimacy and access regardless of blood relation, proximity, whatever. Friends I trust and who don’t annoy or hurt have access, everyone else is at my discretion to contact and I no longer give a damn what they complain about or who they do it to because the people closest to me won’t be the ones they bother. Yes, I have less than perfect relatives, one I live with but I limit my time there and control the contact. At first there was a lot of balking and guilt tripping but in just a few short years then people gave up and became resigned to how I live my life. Funny how the good ones have little to complain to me about.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Have you thought about asking her if it’s helpful to her to have you to complain about everything to, because if it is, you are more than willing to listen because you love her. But if she thinks that she is helping you by talking about it, she’s not. And then tell her what you need from the relationship with her.

The only certainty that we have in life is that one day, we are all going to die. Our parents are going to die, and we will move up the ladder to become the adults in the family. That is just the way it is. We want to make and keep the memories. Focus your conversations with your mother on good things, Redirect her, even if you have to cut her short. Tell her what a good job she did as a mother.

mollypop51797's avatar

I believe that when you take on a relationship with someone, you are sort of saying “hey, if I want to take on this relationship, then I am willing to be in for the ride”. What I mean is, if you’re willing to be in a relationship, you know that it includes the stress and anxiety, the fights, and other bad parts, but the good parts too! Basically I say, that I want to be in this relationship and I’m willing to do it despite what happens.

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