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Sunday, January 20, 2019

What to Remember When Dating Someone with Relationship Anxiety

Dating Someone with Relationship Anxiety

 

Anxiety is basically a disorder of worrying. People with anxiety may worry about specific topics (like relationships, public speaking, specific phobias, etc.), and some people may worry about everything. Whatever the source of the worrying, it may cause some trouble in the person’s relationship.

 

This post is a guide for people who are dating someone with relationship anxiety. Trust me, I know that we are hard to deal with. However, if you love us, and want to continue to deal with us, please read this article in its entirety and attempt to incorporate some of the following advice into your relationship. Next week, I will be addressing tips on dating with anxiety. That post will give tips directly to the people with anxiety who are also trying to date, or in a relationship

 

 

1.       Be Patient while we work up the courage to express our feelings.

 

Sometimes it is hard for us to express our feelings. We may need some time to get our thoughts together because anxiety makes them race like crazy. Just encourage us to talk when we are ready and let us know that you will be there to listen.

 

2.     Don’t assume that we don’t want to talk to you or that we are angry

 

We do! We want to talk to you and tell you every thought that crosses our mind. However, we don’t want to push you away or make you lose interest because of all of our anxious thoughts. So sometimes we need space to get our thoughts together.

 

3.    Don’t tell us our thoughts are irrational, we already know that.

We know that our thoughts are irrational sometimes. We don’t need you to remind us. We tell ourselves that all the time, but it does not make the thoughts go away

 

4.    We may need confirmation for our anxious thoughts, not our sober ones.

 

We don’t think you’re cheating. We don’t think you’re lying. We don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. Our sober mind knows that. However, when anxiety hits, it convinces us that there are signs that were not actually there. The confirmation you give us, is what we use as the “I told you so” proof to our anxious thoughts.

 

Here’s an example of the type of conversation we may have with our anxious thoughts:

 

Anxious thought: What if s/he said that s/he was busy, but he was really with someone else?

 

Us: Well s/he doesn’t even have enough time to spend with someone else

 

Anxious thought: Well there was that time he stayed out late, maybe he met her then.

 

Us: *asks bae for confirmation that s/he was not with anybody else*

 

Bae: *Confirms that s/he did not meet up with anyone else.*

 

Us to Our Anxiety: See I told you s/he wouldn’t cheat on me! I have to stop listening to you!

 

As you can see, we (the anxious people) trusted you the entire time. We just needed proof so that our anxious thoughts can shut up.

 

5.    There may be a lot of tears, don’t run from them.

 

I often say, “I am a cry baby”. I will start the waterworks at the drop of a dime, but I don’t like to cry. I actually feel worse when I cry because I feel like I am burdening my partner, especially in situations where I see that my thoughts are irrational.

In these moments, I don’t need my partner to leave me alone, or give me space. I just need them to be there physically and remind me that they will listen when I am ready to talk. I am sure this is the case for others with anxiety as well.

 

6.    Ask how to help during panic attacks and what to do during future attacks.

 

Panic attacks are different from person to person. Sometimes, it’s crying and screaming, sometimes it’s the inability to breathe, and sometimes it feels as severe as a heart attack.

 

If you sense that it is an emergency (the person may hurt himself/herself or if they are showing extreme physical symptoms) call emergency services for help.

 

If it is unnecessary to call emergency services, ask how you can help the person. They may need a hug, or to be held. They may need you to just stay next to them or stay on the phone with them.

 

When the attack calms, have an honest conversation about what your partner wants you to do if future attacks occur.

 

My anxiety attacks are mainly crying uncontrollably and hyperventilating. I sometimes feel like I can’t breathe. I usually just need my partner to hold me, without words until I calm down. Once calm, it’s helpful if they stay with me or stay on the phone for a bit until my mind is no longer on the situation and the attack.

 

7.    Find out your partner’s love language and learn to speak it

 

Anxiety in relationships is sometimes about your partner not feeling worthy to even be with you. Show them you love them in the way that they best understand it. Whether it be with words, actions, quality time, gifts, or physical tough. Learn how your partner feels most love and do that.

 

 

I wish you all the best when dealing with someone who has anxiety. I know that it is hard on you but think about how hard it must be on the person who actually has the anxious thoughts and feelings. A relationship is about working together. Be a team and work together to get through all of the obstacles that come with dating someone with anxiety.

 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Recognizing Abuse

Recognizing Abuse

 

In light of all the recent news stories (Surviving R. Kelly and the Cyntoia Brown Story), it is imperative that this topic is discussed  and done thoroughly. Many women (and men) do not know how to recognize the beginning signs of abuse. For this reason, they often accept the beginning stages and before they know it, they are locked into a dangerously abusive and completely manipulative relationship.

I am going to point out a few techniques of abusers.

 

1 – Foot and the Door Technique (Just Do This Little Thing)

  • What is it?
    • This is where abusers will get their victims to agree to one thing, and then to more progressively worse things as time goes on.

 

  • What’s an example?
    • In Surviving R. Kelly, the victims stated that R. Kelly would start off by telling the girls and young women to call him “Daddy”.

 

    • If they agreed, especially quickly and without hesitation, it showed him that they are easily submissive. He would then tell them that they could not talk to people and other people could not talk to them.

 

    •  If they were still in agreement, it would go to controlling what they can eat, wear, and do. If the victim stayed through that, he began to hit them and control them even more.

 

  • What to do?
    • Do not agree to anything that is remotely submissive or demeaning – especially in the beginning of the relationship. I understand that some people are into more exploratory sexual fantasies, however unless you discuss your boundaries and limits fully with your partner and consensually agree on that lifestyle, it is important that you do not show signs that you would blindly submit.

 

2- Isolation (You Can’t See Them Anymore)

  • What is it?
    • Many abusers will also isolate their victim away from their family. They will tell the victims that only the abuser loves them. They may move them far away from family and friends.

 

  • What’s an example?

             Statements like the following are examples:

 

    • Limiting communication with family

 

    • Moving far away from friends and family

 

    • Changing cell phone numbers and passwords without victim’s knowledge

 

             All of these things were seen on Surviving R. Kelly.

 

  • What to do?
    • Ensure that you are not allowing your partner to diminish time with your friends and family, or move you away from all of your loved ones suddenly

 

    • Remember that just because you are in a romantic relationship does not mean you need to limit you familial and platonic relationships that came before.

 

3 – Micro-cheating (Technically)

  • What is it?
    • This is where abusers do things that are “technically “ not cheating. They talk to other people, have dates, accept DMs and pictures but say “I didn’t do anything physical with this person, so I have not technically cheated.

 

  • What’s an example?
    • Hiding a friendship and messages with someone else but claiming they are ”just friends”.
      • If you know all of their other friends, there should be no reason to be secretive about a specific friend or set of friends

 

  • What to do?
    • Set clear standards in the beginning and clearly define cheating for you. Cheating is not just physical. Cheating is anything that goes against the mutually agreed upon terms of a relationship. However, you both must come to a mutual agreement by discussing your relationship boundaries. If you two cannot agree, it may be best to avoid this relationship altogether.

 

4 – Minimizing / Gaslighting (You’re Crazy)

  • What is it?
    • Minimizing: Making the victim think that they are over-reacting and they are obsessing over small things.

 

    • Gaslighting: This is a technique where the abuser tries to make the victim feel like they are crazy and question their own sanity.

 

  • What’s an example?

           The following statements are examples:

 

    • Minimizing: “You’re over-reacting. It was just oral. It’s not like I went all the way with her.”

 

    • Gaslighting: “I don’t know what you’re talking about. You didn’t see me with anyone else. I never cheated.”

 

  • What to do?
    • Don’t let anyone make you question your sanity, especially about their wrongdoings.

 

    • If it is important to you, it is important, and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

5 – Humiliation / Punishment

  • What is it?
    • This is where the abuser purposely embarrasses the victim (Humiliation) or punishes them for perceived wrongdoings.

 

  • What’s an example?
    • In Surviving R. Kelly, the victims stated that R. Kelly would often tell the girls and young women that they were stupid for not doing little things right. They said that he would make them perform sexual acts in front of others as a way of showing power and control (Humiliation),

 

    • They also stated that if they refused to oblige, he would hit them, bind them to beds, withhold food and water, and confiscate their cell phones. They also reported that he would also withhold his affection (Punishment).

 

  • What to do?
    • Take note of how people talk to you, especially when around others. If they say things or try to get you to do things that is embarrassing, or if they try to punish you for doing things they dislike, it may be time to walk away.

 

6 – Deflection (It’s Your Fault)

  • What is it?
    • This is where abusers will try to take the blame off of themselves and put it on the victim.

 

  • What’s an example?

 

    • “I wouldn’t have hit you if you had listened to me”

 

    • “I only cheated because you work too much”

 

    • “This was all your fault”

 

  • What to do?
    • Set and enforce your standards. Do not allow people to deflect. Remind them and yourself, that you do not deserve to be treated poorly, not even if you made a mistake. Mistakes are human, abuse is not!

 

7 – Threats / Violence (I’ll Kill You)

  • What is it?
    • Threats are used to intimidate or scare the victim into doing with the abuser says.

 

    • Violence can be against the victim, the victim’s family, or the victim’s property.

 

  • What’s an example?
    • Threat: “If you don’t do what I say, I will kill you and/or your family”

 

    • Violence: The abusers may hit the victim, the victim’s loved ones, or damage valuable possessions.

 

  • What to do?
    • Please do not let it get to this point. Many abusers will show the previous signs before turning to threats and violence. If it has already gotten to this point, please find a safe way out. You can contact the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit https://www.thehotline.org/help/

 

 

 

Please be safe! Here is a resource if needed

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

https://www.thehotline.org/help/

 

 

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