I Feel Out Of Control: Anxiety Destroys Relationships

I Feel Out Of Control.

In this video I’m going to help you understand relationships on a deeper level.

I’m going to help you understand why people lose emotional self control and get into arguments with their partner. I’m going to show you how to be more conscious and aware of what’s going on internally and how to reassure your partner. 

Learning about this takes time, but eventually it will help you avoid the manhole. If I tell you there’s a manhole. The first time, you’ll see the manhole and still fall in it. The next time you’ll think to yourself, I better step over it, do so, and still fall in it. Eventually you’ll see the manhole and walk around it.

I got an email today from a woman who has an anxious attachment style. If you don’t know what that is, that’s okay I will give you a quick rundown.

In the first 2-3 years of our life we form an attachment style with our caregivers. The more attentive your parents are to your needs (feed us when we’re hungry, held us when we were crying, and attention, love and interacting we received), the more secure we of an attachment we formed.

If for example, they met your needs 90 percent of the time. You form a secure attachment. You learn to trust others. The world feels safe.

If our parents were not attuned to our emotional needs consistently, we form an Anxious attachment style.

What happens is, the world does not feel as safe. We become fearful that our parents will abandon us. This is especially true if your father and mother split up and you didn’t see him.

For example: My mom had a lot of anxiety. As an infant or a baby, you absorb your parents anxiety and you then become anxious. If you are constantly around someone who is anxious, it’s all you know, and you become anxious. It feels normal for you. The thing about it is, you don’t even realize your anxious.

Here are a few signs of anxiety you may have had as a kid: If you wet the bed, frequent ear aches, stomach aches, picking your nose, difficulty focusing, frequent crying.

SO, why is attachment style important? What does it have to do with your romantic relationships?

Well the relationship you had with your parents, you are going to create that in your romantic relationships. So the hurt and anxiety you felt with your parents, you’re going to have with your partner.

I got an email from Kayla who talked about that very issue she has with her husband.

Kayla says: Hi Craig, love your channel, I’m already seeing problems in my relationship with my husband and making changes thanks to your videos. One of the things that me and my husband argue about is anytime he is out (right there it tells me she has separation anxiety). If he goes out with his friends after work, I get very stressed and start obsessing about what he is doing. Even though he has never cheated, I worry that he is going to find someone else better than me.

(I wonder if her father found someone “better” than her mother in her childhood and that the trauma is triggering separation anxiety).  

I get really stressed and I don’t know what comes over me. I just lose it. I start getting more and more angry and I can’t calm down.

She is having separation anxiety and she hasn’t learned to soothe herself. In our early childhood, we learn to hear our parents voice to soothe us and it actually calms our nervous system. If you don’t know how to do it, you can imagine my voice. Reminding you Everything is going to be okay. You can always get my help personally at AskCraig.net

Kayla: This was our most recent argument: He went to meet up with a few friends after work and he said he would be home around 9. (She’s already anxious about what time he will be coming home)

Kayla: He came in around 1015. I admit I had an angry tone of voice when he walked in the door. I said What’s wrong with you? Why he didn’t call me to tell me he was going to be late?  

He said. I told you I was going out with my friends. It’s only an hour later. What’s the big deal?

I grabbed my plate and threw it in the sink. I asked you to call if you’re going to come late.

He yelled: Why are you freaking out? You’re out of control.

Kayla: Because I was waiting for you! I had a bad day and I wanted to talk with you (She probably didn’t have a bad day until she came home and her separation anxiety kicked in).

Kayla’s boyfriend: I never get to go out with my friends and I was only out a later than you expected. Why are you making a big deal out of nothing?

Kayla: It’s not nothing! You said 9 o’clock and you came home later. Who were you out with? Did you meet some girl at a bar?  You don’t even love me. Like always, you only think about yourself. You don’t even care about me.

This is where the anxiety causes her to have a melt down.

Man (with disgust): Oh my God you need to calm down. Then he slams the door and locks himself in the other room and I feel even worse than when he was out.

Craig, I hate the way I feel. I feel like I’m losing control. I can’t calm down. I know I’m making a big deal out of small things and I don’t know why.

You’re afraid that you’re losing him. So what happens, in an effort to pull him close, you wind up pushing him away. The very thing we are afraid of happening is the thing that we cause (I talk about this in The Real Reason Relationships Fail and Have Discipline or Fail)

Kayla is afraid that the relationship is not secure. That is why she is getting so anxious. She is feeling disconnected from her boyfriend. Then she starts to panic. She needs reassurance.

The really difficult part is recognizing what is going on in the moment. So to help you see what’s going on I’m going to look at how they both could have handled this better.

When he first got home, Kayla was hurting and scared. So it caused her to be angry. Which is all her boyfriend can see. She says to him Why didn’t you call when you knew you were going to be late?

Our automatic response is to defend ourselves. When he perceived her behavior as a threat, he wants to defend himself and minimize what happened. So he said, I’m only an hour late, what’s the big deal (minimizing his behavior and dismissing her hurt).

Now if she was more aware of how she was feeling, she could have went over to him and said: “I really missed you. I get scared that when you go out, you’ll find someone else that’s better than me and leave me.” If you or your partner can become that conscious of your feelings, you can connect with your partner much easier.

If he was more conscious, he could also have said. When she said, what’s wrong with you, you why didn’t you call me to tell me you would be late… He could have said: You’re right, I know you worry when I’m out. I apologize. Then go give her a big hug.

What he did was dismiss her feelings because he didn’t make her feel understood. He was minimizing his behavior (oh I was only an hour late).

When she threw the plate and he said she was out of control.

What she said is: I had a bad day and I was waiting for you. (if she was more conscious of how she was feeling what she could have said is, I was scared you were never coming home). On some level, that’s how she feels. In which case he could have reassured her.

He could have said: I’m sorry you had a bad day. It sounds like you really wanted to talk. I can understand, if I had a really bad day, I’d want to tell you about it too. Then he could put his arms around her and hold her close to make her feel connected and reassure her.

What you have to understand is that one person feels scared. They feel disconnected. They lose emotional self control. Then they lash out, when all they really want to do is pull their partner close and say I’m scared. I thought you were going to abandon me.

When the disconnected person lashes out, the other person (in this situation the man who was inconsiderate and out late) gets anxiety over the woman’s anger. Her anxiety got worse when he was dismissive towards her initial response (what’s wrong with you). His anxiety gets triggered by your anger. Both partners start to worry that the other wants to leave.

That is the root of the problem, anxiety and fear. Both people are constantly having to manage their fear that the other is going to leave. When you are able to be able to identify what is really going on inside you emotionally, you can start to avoid the manhole.