If you are in a relationship and one of you tends to be a little ‘extra’ in the nervous or fearful feels, welcome to the gang. The only thing worse than watching someone you love experience Anxiety is being the person who’s caught in an anxious spiral, so please always remember that, as frustrating, confusing and difficult as it may be for you to wrap your head around, your partner is usually going through something much worse.
The way someone feels is completely out of your hands when you love someone as much as I’m sure you do, you want to be able to support them, right?
I’ve got you covered. Here are a few things I’ve worked out to be true in the hopes that you can show up as the best ‘thunder buddy’ going around.
Compassion wins every time
Attempt to understand. Provide Reassurance and answer the same question fifty times if they need you to (without the huffs and puffs). Anxiety and a need to control or predict the future comes up when we don’t feel safe and secure in our present use this knowledge to do whatever you can to make the moment safe again by engaging your partner in their ‘now’.
Listen to them, empathize and show support. I know it can be frustrating, and at times it may seem completely irrational to you. To your partner, at that moment their feelings, thoughts, and fears are as real as that coffee stain on your fresh white shirt right before a meeting. Completely jarring, totally uncalled for and a major inconvenience to them too.
We don’t need you to fix anything because we for sure aren’t broken. What you may need to do is take the reins for a bit. Take the pressure off and be a loving force in the face of a war that no-one can see. Make the decision for dinner or what to do today if that helps. Decide to get out of the house for a change of scenery (take them with you of course) and be the voice of reason and loving acceptance.
Change the channel
Not on the TV because if your partner is losing their shit and you are still watching the TV then I’m guessing this may be a part of the problem. Bring up a new focus, change the outlook, shower them with love and remind them of what a great team you are. Sure, something might go wrong, but you’ll face it together if it does.
Things that will not help.
This is the worst flipping idea. You can’t discipline, force or scare anxiety out of someone. Making someone anxious about feeling anxious will give you front row seats to an unraveling of all sorts.
Telling someone to calm down
No one in the history of the world has ever calmed down by being told to calm down FFS. Just like no one who is feeling depressed has ever found their love of life again by being told to cheer up.
I know it’s hard. I know it’s repetitive but please know it’s not about you. Whatever your partner is going through is a symptom of something else. It might be a limiting belief, an old story a lack of self-worth, and the best thing that you can do is to be there to support and encourage them while they figure out what that is and heal.
Anxiety is not an attribute of someone showing weakness, but a sign of someone who cares infinitely who loves their life and wants to protect themselves and the people they love within it.
You don’t need to fix them because they aren’t damaged.
You don’t need to change them because they are enough exactly as they are. What would be awesome is if you could stand next to them, love and encourage them to do the work so that they can get to a place where they no longer fear their fears. Instead, they use them as stepping stones to a place of understanding who they are in a world that tells us all to be so many different things.
Remind them often why you love them. Show them how much you care for them. If all else fails? Laugh. Laughter will always make the harder parts of life a little easier. After all, you have each other and what could be more wonderful than that?