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Silent marriage killer-excessive worry and anxiety
Today's culture of excessive worry
Many people in today's culture struggle with pathological worry. In fact, many mental health professionals spend countless hours trying to understand and figure out how to help individuals who live, dine in, and sleep in constant anxiety and worry. As Viktor Frankel stated certain levels of anxiety are healthy and propel us forward to achieve and accomplish uncharted territory. However, it is when worrisome behavioral patterns become obsessive or ruminating that is becomes pathological and debilitating.
There is a difference between excessive or pathological worry and anxiety disorders. Someone with an anxiety disorder is aware of the stimuli that causes anxiety, and in turn, will exhibit physical and psychological symptoms. However, I believe excessive worry can bring on generalized anxiety or even panic attacks, especially, if the worry is not dealt with in a timely fashion. So what is worry?
Symptoms of excess worry
Worry is defined as a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems. Synonyms include:
These individuals see circumstances as unsolvable. They are unable to initially accept uncertainty, and in turn, cannot control their anxious thoughts, thus perpetuating the ongoing cycle. These persons also see life through a screwed lens of obsessive thinking and behaving through generalizations, diminishing the positives, all or nothing thinking, labeling, inability to see how others are affected and the unwillingness to take responsibility for their behavior.
The problem perpetuates when the constant merry-go-round worrier is no longer able to remain silent and slews their pathology on their partner. Overtime, the partner begins to feel like they are going crazy and will also experience their own heightened state of worry or anxiety. This may take the form of the guilt trip, self blame or enabling the worrier to continue. However, when the non-worrier begins to have these feelings, they quickly find a way to fix it because living in this constant state is 'too negative and life draining.' They quickly find a way back to equilibrium that is, until the pathological worrier impedes their dysfunction back onto their partner. The first step is figuring out what is really going on.
I believe from my own research and counseling practice that all those who are chronic worriers are also passive aggressive types and have a hard time taking personal accountability for their thoughts and actions. Plus, they typically have poor attitudes toward life and see everything from the worse case-vantage before considering alternatives. I also believe that these individuals are followers. In sum, these individuals are life drainers. You know the type who can't go for more than a few minutes without making a fatalistic comment that is out of character for the conversation piece. It is more than being pessimistic. It is more like pessimism is the backbone to their value system their ideals on life. It is incredibly hard for them to see something from a positive standpoint. In fact you may find yourself having a long drawn out pep talk on why they should see it from a positive position- until those 'positive conversations' become too draining to have.
I see individuals come in who believe they are the problem or the married client who cannot take one more day of living with 'Negative Nancy.' Each person at first, always thinks that they are the problem. "I'm too mean," I must expect too much," "Maybe it is my fault." The reality is the non-worrier comes to distrust their chronic worried partner or may also have ill feelings toward them. They may find themselves trying to keep a distance or find it hard to be intimate or may even begin to resent their partner for the silent turmoil that seems to ooze from the seams of their marriage.
In a nutshell, the non-worried person, no matter how enthusiastic, motivated to accomplish, or passionate about life will eventually end up feeling sucked dry and exhausted!
So you ask yourself, at what point is "too much," enough?
- How to Stop Worrying: Self-Help for Anxiety Relief
Tips for breaking the worrying habit and putting a stop to anxious thoughts.
Self help or counseling?
Please hear this! it is not your fault! You are not responsible to fix, cure, or hang on to the pathological worriers' crap. It is not yours, so don't accept it as yours. You can be a support without being an enabler. There are a wealth of resources to help you understand the intricacies of the problem and what part you play. You are only responsible for your behavior, and you must understand that boundaries are a personal responsibility. But what happens when you are tired of fighting the battle daily and find yourself in sin toward your spouse?
Yes, give it to God. Yes, he will teach you something from it like patience, trust in him and how to create and maintain boundaries. You will grow in your relationship to Christ. All struggles. loss, pain and adversity can be a strengthening agent to our personal relationship with Christ, if we choose that path. But what happens when you are too tired and don't want to go on? Or you feel like your partners inability to change stands between you and God? What happens when your partner can't seem to move forward and grow? Do you leave?
I say, give them a time-line and a clear indication of what your expectations are. If they are willing to work toward healing and wholeness support them, without enabling them. If years are gone, and you still feel like not much has changed, you need to decide for yourself would your life be better and healthier without the person in it?
Your responsibility in Christ
What do you do when you don't like your spouse, anymore? Or you have given so many years, only to render yourself back to the same-ole thing?
I believe first and foremost, we are accountable to God as individuals, then as spouses. Our path and walk with Christ, is ours alone, and it is up to us, to cultivate that, regardless of who we live with. With that said, I also believe God will walk us out of emotionally abusive circumstances, along the way growing and maturing us in our own behaviors and choices. Everyone knows the scripture about worry and anxiety.
[ Do Not Worry ] “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ...
1 Peter 5:7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Yes, it is easier said than done. But when you put your whole heart to Faith in Him, He will make your path clear. You will receive the Holy Spirit as your guide. Ask and you shall receive. You will grow in your trust of his Sovereignty and your purpose in this life. You will surrender all aspects of your life, including your thoughts. You will grow in deeper intimacy which will render more understanding and knowledge. You will want to be accountable and responsible for your life and how you affect those around you. You will become obedient and walk in freedom.
Do your part despite your spouses wrecking attitude and behavior. Don't let their crap affect your path in life.
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© 2015 Amy Casale Choisser