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Worrying about Worrying

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by GTfan, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. GTfan

    GTfan Peer Supporter

    Hi all:

    Since all of you here are like me and have suffered from TMS, I'm sure you can relate. I'm a chronic worrier, I always have been. I get caught in negative thinking feedback loops that last for days or longer.

    I have been dating this girl for almost 2 months and I really like her. I think we have amazing chemistry together and I don't want to screw this up.

    Anyways, I'm a very laid back person and I don't do well with confrontation and I also don't do well with opening up and revealing flaws and insecurities. And I think that frustrates her because she is quite the opposite, she always says what she feels even if she gets emotional or feels vulnerable.

    We have been in an argument or two and it has bothered me. I tend to dwell on the argument and instead of enjoying the moment I like to play scenarios on my head on how to prevent us getting in that argument again over and over until I make myself go crazy. I realize this is irrational.

    She is very smart and knows a lot about body language and human pyschology. So she can tell when I'm worried about something and calls me out all the time. She gets frustrated if I don't want to talk about it, and I'm worried if I do then she will get upset and we might break up.

    But anyways that's just a back story to my main point. I worry about worrying. I worry about sexual performance sometimes, because I know if I am worried in the moment then it will effect my sexual performance. I worry when I go to the doctor and get my blood pressure taken that I'm going to be nervous in this moment because I know that makes my blood pressure spike and that they will think something is wrong with me but there really isn't.

    If there is a situation where anxiety will make it worse, then I'm going to worry about the anxiety because I don't feel in control. Because I know that she can pick up on my anxiety, sometimes I just worry that I am going to act anxious around her and cause her to think I'm uncomfortable around her and think we need to break up which I fear more than anything.

    I know this is completely irrational and all in my head, but it's something I deal with. How can do better and living in the moment and just enjoying the present instead of just worrying about what could go wrong?
    keenie82 likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Honestly my darling, be yourself. Tell her how you feel, let her know you are a gentle soul (this she already knows. Every woman on the planet has bruising encounters with cavemen. Gentlemen we love). Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable with her. You say she is open in this way with you so she is probably comfortable and aware of the fact most people struggle with this. Don’t hide your discomfort, there’s no need.

    I remember a time years ago when my husband was to sing live but his voice was suffering due to Parkinson’s (no one knew at this point. It was our secret). He asked me what the hell he should do and I told him to be vulnerable because that was authentic and people feel that. (Aren’t we all exhausted by the pretence?)

    He did exactly this. The room was full of bikers. It felt very tense for a few excruciating moments and then... the men stopped talking, and listened and watched. One song in particular caused one to visibly tear up. I’ll never forget that moment. I feel weepy just thinking about it.

    I posted this on a recent post which seems germane to your problem:

    “It may help to think of it like this;

    “In Buddhism, these unavoidable pains in life are known as 'first darts.' These are the darts life throws at us that we can't do anything about. But what we can do, is avoid throwing 'second darts' at ourselves. These second darts are our judgments and reactions to the first darts.”

    (http://patrikedblad.com/self-discipline/how-to-deal-with-pain/ (How to Deal With Pain: First & Second Darts – Patrik Edblad))”

    So please, try to relax about this. All of us are terrified in love, all of us are possessed of sexual doubts, all of us fear dropping the shields that protect our hearts. This is the exquisite twist of intimacy. Be kinder to yourself for this is so very human.

    And how to do this?
    Take a deep breath
    And just do it.

    Plum xxx
    BinLA, Bodhigirl, Ellen and 3 others like this.
  3. GTfan

    GTfan Peer Supporter

    Thank you for the response. I think what it really boils down to is truly facing what I fear the most and not being afraid of it. I fear losing her more then anything, and my very fear of this is what's causing my worry and pushing her away because I'm not being myself. I'm only worried about avoiding what I'm afraid of and doing whatever it takes to prevent that.

    Just because I feel anxious doesn't mean that I need to desperately do something in my head to make that anxiety go ahead instantly, because you can't think something away inside your own head. I realize that. You only get caught in a negative feedback loop and create more and more anxiety until it's crippling because you realize what you are doing isn't working and you feel not in control.

    We talked for several hours on the phone last night. (I travel a lot for work, which makes things difficult in its own right. She is afraid to express herself when she misses me, because she is afraid I will dismiss her as being needy. So I guess we all have our fears)

    I was very open and vulnerable with her. I told her I feel uncomfortable sometimes because I don't like confrontation or fighting, and I don't like sharing my deepest emotions and all that. I told her I feel uncomfortable sometimes because I feel like she is constantly pyschologically analyzing me all the time and it makes me self conscious and nervous. Like I need to be on my best behaviour or something.

    This really hurt her feelings, because she said that I am her safe place. Whenever things get tough she knows she can go to me and she will always feel better. She thinks that all these feelings I am having are red flags for the fact that I don't feel good around her and that if I really did then things would just come easy and care free like it does with her.

    I don't really agree with this, relationships take work. People are different. Although I do understand why me expressing my worry to her hurts her feelings. But the problem is that this is precisely what I want to avoid the most, and I don't want this discussion to prevent me from being open with her because of fear again.

    So yeah despite our discussion, I still worry about her picking up on my anxiety and her thinking that I don't feel good with her. This is the main thing I want to get past.
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @GTfan, everything that @plum said. Times 100.

    And don't ever forget - your fearful primitive brain thinks it is trying to protect you from pain and hurt and anything that might cause you to not survive - but in the case of those of us who are supremely anxious, this survival mechanism has gone completely haywire in the modern world.

    What you must do is to recognize this, and change the conversation. You need to teach your fearful brain that you are physically safe, and that taking these risks in your personal life is necessary for your emotional survival! Your primitive brain does not understand this, because in the primitive world, emotional survival was not at all important compared to physical survival!. You simply have to turn this around. I say "simply" but for some people, although the concept is simple, putting it into action is hard, because the fear of our primitive brains is SO strong. It will take practice, and it will take mindfulness, and it will take will power to talk back to your brain - but it can be done!

    Patrisia likes this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    LOVE this :joyful:
    plum likes this.
  6. GTfan

    GTfan Peer Supporter

    @plum @JanAtheCPA

    Thanks for the responses. We ended up having a fight over the weekend. She felt worried that I was feeling all this anxiety and it really frustrated me that I was expressing myself and not getting positive feedback so I blew up for a second and said some things that hurt her feelings even more. But in the end we were able to move past it.

    Then later on I could tell that she was feeling very tense and being snappy with me. And I bluntly (being myself) asked why she was acting like that and if I was annoying her or what. She got even more defensive and said that I need to quit taking things so personal that she was just stressed, but I'm not going to just go along if someone is being rude with me.

    The tension kept building to the point where I felt like I had done everything I could do to help her and nothing was working. So I just quit talking to her, and started zoning out watching TV. She kept getting more visually frustrated and started yelling at her phone going off, so at this point in my anxiety of the situation which I could not control I went into my freeze response and just started laughing. And I told her I was laughing because I didn't know what else to do, because everything I tried only made her more upset so she was on her own.

    That's when she came over to me and just started falling to pieces and just letting everything out. Her anxiety was crippling her because nothing she was doing felt like it was enough. She had stressed herself out from work to the point that her whole life was work and she still felt like she wasn't good enough. And then when I went to her with my troubles she added that to her pallet of her thinking that I was telling her that she wasn't enough and she just reached a breaking point that she couldn't handle. So she just laid there with me and vented for half an hour or so and I could just see the relief in her eyes as she let it all out and then everything was fine.

    I guess I just get so caught up in myself that I forget that shes a human with emotions too that has her own insecurities. The only thing I worry about going forward is if I can handle a full plate of my anxiety and her anxiety. I don't want to doubt her or doubt our relationship, but I don't do well with confrontation it makes me anxious. Sometimes the selfish part of me just wants to go back to being single where things are easy, and I don't have to worry about any of this stuff but I know that's not the way to true happiness. I truly like this girl and I don't want to lose her, but I also don't want to be unhappy or anxious.
  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm going to show my most cynical side right now, and point out that Nature has a way of dealing with overpopulation. And if anyone reading this thinks we are not dealing with a worldwide overpopulation crisis, I respectfully invite you to think again.

    In any case, my point in quoting the above is that this may be a consequence of the current epidemic of anxiety.

    And if you don't think we aren't experiencing an epidemic of anxiety - once again, I respectfully invite you to think again - starting with the ever-growing number of new members - particularly young members - that we have right here on this one forum. In less than a decade, I have seen a significant increase in young people with serious anxiety/TMS issues, and there are an alarming number of recent news articles that support this.

    Less cynically, @GTfan, I sympathize with you - but this IS what relationships are. The only exception might be the parent/child relationship, but that shouldn't last past childhood. If we are lucky enough to have a mature relationship with reasonably functional parents into adulthood, one of the things we learn as we mature is that even the most nurturing of parents have the same anxieties and frailties that we do.

    But it won't stay fine, not until you are able to do the same with her - which is what prompted you to start this thread to begin with, right?
    BinLA likes this.
  8. GTfan

    GTfan Peer Supporter

    I get all that. We are going to argue, we are going to piss each other off sometimes. Men and women are very different anyways and compacting that is the fact that we are different people with different personalities too. Only in a perfect fantasy world are we going to be holding hands and smiling 24/7.

    I will admit that I'm not all that experienced with relationships. I'm 29 years old and the longest relationship that I've been in was 8 months. So maybe I'm overreacting to the confrontation.

    But yet again, I don't want to be a pushover. I want to stand up for myself. If she is being rude to me I'm going to get defensive. If I'm just nice and understanding all the time, then that is going to be enraging to my ID and cause my TMS to go crazy.
  9. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    You can get into a right pickle with this kind of thinking, trust me I speak from experience. I’ve managed to fully incarnate my shadow side and in some ways that’s been very healthy and in other ways not so much. My best advice on this front is don’t overthink. Experiencing an emotion is one thing, dissecting it to the nth degree is something else entirely.

    I’m fairly confident in saying the vast majority of people on this forum either need to learn or have learned about healthy boundaries. I think for most of us this is an ongoing learning curve, not because we are dense but because the nature of relationships change as we age and as we pass into shiny new socio-cultural norms. The world has become a lot more complex. I’m Generation X (child of the 70’s) and I miss the simplicity of those days. It’s not mere nostalgia. I grew up in a world before the digital revolution. We played outside all the time. Life was real. Today the world feels anything but and it matters.

    A natural life is exactly that.

    People today are racked with anxiety that masquerades as caring about the world. We’re all too stuck in our heads, in our smartphones, to live from our heart. Every single thing is overthought yet means so damn little compared to what really matters to us.

    I’ve been with my man for 30 years. We are night and day, chalk and cheese but we are soulmates. And let me disabuse you of any romantic fantasy, we have been through some epically rough times. This is what relationships are. They are not easy. Easy is walking away, easy is chasing the hormonal high of “new love and sexual delirium” every three months.

    The best basis for any successful intimate relationship is shared values, the rest you can kick around.

    The most beautiful aspect of a long-term relationship is how deep your roots go, the shared experiences, the triumph of living through brutal situations intact and still standing, and the way all of those things take you deeply into the most vulnerable and exquisite embrace of knowing another as well as you know yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly.

    Whoever you are with, that gift awaits you so choose well. Unwrapping a soul is not for the faint of heart. None of us are perfect nor will we ever be so choose someone who can help you become authentic and for whom you can do the same. It may be this lass you are with now, this lies in the hands of time and rests upon how much of your self you are willing to yield and how much of her opening to you, you can hold safe.

    Plum x
    GTfan likes this.
  10. GTfan

    GTfan Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much, I needed to hear that.

    I really think this girl has a heart of gold. She always has good intentions, she makes a point to remember what my favorite food is and cooks it, she drops me off at the airport, she makes me sweet decorated poster that says she misses me when I'm gone for over a week. And I feel amazing with her 90 percent of the time.

    I just have trouble with the 10 percent of bad times like fighting and anger and stuff. She is emptional, she wears her heart on her sleeve. I have to accept all genuine love I get from her while also accepting all the genuine anger and frustration I get from her when she gets upset, because that's who she is. I'm not good with confrontation, I've been running from it my whole life. Maybe she can help bring out the best in me while I'm doing the same for her. And yet again, maybe things won't work out in the end and that's ok too. All we can do is try our best.

    I guess when we fought over the weekend, we almost broke up. I got almost out of her neighborhood and she called me crying and asked me to come back. I went back, and I shed a few tears myself. I've never cried over a girl, definitely not in front of a girl, ever. I guess in that moment we both realized how much we really cared about each other and how bad it would hurt to lose each other.
    plum likes this.
  11. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    90% is amazing. You do know that. :)

    And you are here, sharing with us and figuring this stuff out. That is amazing too.

    Cut yourself some slack, relationships are the best and the worst of the human experience. The fact that you are willing to untangle the kinks and knots speaks volumes. From this distance that bodes well.

    You’re young, wise to TMS and it’s games, and you care. In this world that makes you a gem. At your age I wasn’t even a diamond in the rough but I’ve been tumbled enough to shine if you catch me in the right light.

    I’m rooting for you sweetheart.

    Take good care of yourself and that gorgeous woman.

    Plum x
  12. GTfan

    GTfan Peer Supporter

    Wouldn't you know, I feel much better with the tight chest, worrying feeling now. And now my allergies are suddenly in full force. Coughing, sneezing all of the above. Good ole TMS lol

    My girlfriend is having allergy issues too so my brain chose that symptom to lock onto now, I'm sure of it. Funny how it works sometimes
  13. GTfan

    GTfan Peer Supporter

    Ok well we broke up tonight I think. Please tell me I'm being rational here. We had an amazing weekend together, probably one of our best. We have been dating since May so we are still relatively new to each other.

    I travel for work, so I'm almost always out of town Monday through Friday. I get it that it is rough on a relationship, and we have talked about it often.

    Anyways, I saw her this morning. She dropped me off at that airport. I've been texting her all day like always. And at the end of the day she asks me to FaceTime, and I decline because I have reports and emails to send before I go to bed and I'm exhausted.

    She calls me and says that she has a really bad gut feeling that something is really wrong. I told her I'm fine, and she pretty much hangs up on me.

    She kept prodding at me, so whatever I finally admitted that yeah I've been traveling solo for work for three years. Sometimes I just want to come back to the hotel and text her good night and crash. And not have like a 2 hour FaceTime conversation. I said "I know that is a selfish thought so I didn't want to come out and say it because I didn't want to hurt your feelings"

    Well needless to say we ended up having that FaceTime convo for a couple of hours. She just insisted that what I said meant that I was saying that some days I just don't give a fuck about talking to her and that I wasn't fully committed to her. Apperently that is a deal breaker on the spot and she is done, which completely blind sided me.

    To me all I said was, I would rather just have my alone time some nights and not have a long conversation on Facetime, because I miss that from my routine that I have become accustomed to over the years. She took it as I'm not committed, I don't want to talk to her, I travel she needs to talk to me every day no excuse, I miss being single so I just need to go back to being single, I'm half in and half out, etc.

    I basically told her that I have no idea how she took the molehill I gave her and turned it into that My Everest. And I don't think I'll ever understand so I don't see us getting back together. I'm not going to apologize and say "I'm sorry baby, I'll FaceTime you every night no matter what no matter what. I won't let it happen again.". I'm my own man, and I'm living my own life, this is ridiculous.
  14. GTfan

    GTfan Peer Supporter

    @plum @JanAtheCPA

    Well we talked. Eventually she admitted she has a fear of abandonment, she accepts that her behavior is not ok sometimes and she can do better. Her response to the whole thing was "We don't have to have a two hour FaceTime everyday. We all need me time. But I would like to at least hear your voice every day. Just a quick 5 minute check in if you need some unwind time or have things to do"

    I told her that I wasn't ok with how she reacted to me when I told her how I felt sometimes. She wants me to be open with her, yet when I tell her the difficult stuff that may hurt her feelings sometimes she gets extremely upset with me in an angry and agressive way, so naturally I'm not going to like that and I'm going to react defensively. I don't want to have to walk on eggshells or be very careful when I want to say things to her, yet I don't want to just say whatever I feel like and not expect her to not have emotions (to be fair)

    So yeah we had a very civil, deep, heart to heart discussion about everything. She acknowledged everything above. She said "If I really make you feel that way then that makes me sad. I'm not sure why you are in a relationship with me if that is how you feel."

    She then started to speculate some things. Said to me "I have an intense fear of abandonment, I know that. Sometimes those lens make me see things differently then how I actually feel. That's why I try to stop and think before I talk, but sometimes I fail to do that. I think you have two lens. A fear of not having control and a fear of letting people down. So when we get in these arguments your lens are telling you that you don't have control and you walk away from an argument thinking that you let me down and that's why you feel bad. And I think that you have intense feelings for me but that fact that it doesn't make sense to you logically and rationally it drives you crazy (my sister hates her, I do things I don't normally do, she does weird quirks around me that shouldn't be turn ons, etc) But love isn't rational, it doesn't make sense. I don't know if I'm right, maybe wishful thinking, but that's what I think"

    She then basically said "I want you to take some time to yourself and really meditate and think about how you really feel. Are you happy with this relationship? If you aren't happy then I don't want that for you. If you come back to me and say that I'm not the girl for you and that this isn't going to work that's ok. I really care about you and respect you so I will understand"

    I asked her to do the same, and she said she will. She just asked that when I do come back to talk to her that I try to be more vulnerable instead of cold and demanding, because she responds better that way.

    So yeah that was a lot. I went into that conversation with a logical plan of discussing one thing and it turned into a big giant emotional discussion about everything. I guess that's what makes guys (logical thinkers) and girls (emotional thinkers) so different, and why relationships can be hard sometimes.

    So yeah I actually feel immensely better today after getting everything out and she responded in an understanding way instead of anger. I could tell she was hurt, but she was doing her best to not get emotional.

    Where do I go from here that is the question. She basically told me to take some space and decide if I'm really happy with her or not. She agreed that she "is a bitch sometimes" and knows "she can do better". So I guess I just have to decide if I'm ok with all this moving forward or if these worries and doubts I'm feeling are enough that I am willing to throw away that "spark" we both feel for each other. I don't know.
  15. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Amen to that. But it is love with all its wild rebellion and wonderfulness that makes life worth living. Remember it can manifest in many, many ways. As you get older you cherish every nuance and flavour of this.

    I don’t have an easy answer for you. Quite honestly I’ve had a bitch of week and my ambition for the evening centres around chocolate ice cream and an early night but one thing did strike me about your post.

    I’m a total introvert. My partner is an extrovert.
    On the Myers Briggs Personality Stack we are complete opposites. I am INFJ. He is ESTP. Potentially it’s a nightmare. We can drive each other to utter distraction and we can also embrace those rough angles in the other as “opportunities for growth”.

    For what it’s worth I wonder how much of your apparent conflict is because you are an introvert (leave me the fuck alone. Please). And she is an extrovert (I just want to hear your voice. FaceTime me every day).

    I’m tired and two cups in so if that is nonsense then let it fly. Just didn’t want to leave you hangin.

    Plum x
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  16. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Oh, gosh, what a sweet thread!
    Lean into your anxiety. The way out is the way through it. I’ve been on the path a long time. Getting last things is often an illusion... we walk in circles... no shame in it. Nothing to fear but the ego’s rupture... the good news is you have a vast Self, soul and it’s in conversation with hers.
    plum likes this.
  17. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter


    I read this post by post... and about half way through, I started to know where the next post was going. lol.

    That's a product of being 50, having been through many relationships... being a guy... and as I said before, you and I have some very similar personality traits.
    Even our symptom expression has been very similar. (Lower quadrant pain, stomach issues, anxiety, etc.)

    The bottom line here is that we almost always have to figure these things out for ourselves. But, my overall gut feeling in reading what you're saying is that you're doing the right thing by taking a break from this. Unfortunately, sometimes people we feel the most "spark" with can often be very exhausting for us. That spark comes with a price, and sometimes we can misinterpret an emotional rollercoaster as being something more serious or meaningful.

    I went through an expereince very similar to what you describe about 8 years ago. Highly intense, up and down, on and off and endless analysis of the relationship with what seemed like daily peaks and crashes. The highs were high... the lows were low and the whole thing was just so incredibly taxing. This helped create the notion that it was somehow more meaningful, bigger... more important than it was.... when what it was was simply 2 people that were perhaps TOO similar? Or... maybe just too different in crucial aspects that couldn't be overcome.

    Whatever it was, like you... I finally reached a point when I had to step away. After 1.5 years of on and off, something told me to get beyond the insecurity of letting it go and just make a stand. I did... she moved on (with much drama for us both again) ... and that was it. It was hard for a long time after, but some part of my logical mind knew it just didn't need to be the way it was with us. Hard to explain, but it was almost an instinctual decision.

    I'm not saying you can't work this out, your situation may be different than mine was. But hearing you describe it, and knowing my own personality... I could just feel that old mindset arising as I read it. So, as a male with a decade or so on you, just throwing it out there. As I said... we have to figure these things out for ourselves.

    Oh, I should mention... about a year after that situation I met the woman I'd end up marrying. This month marks our 3 year marriage anniversary. (Been together around 6 years)
    We're highly compatible. Limited drama. Incredbile love between us and plenty of spark... but without fire damage.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    plum likes this.

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