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Author Topic: DESPERATE NEED OF HELP: PARTNER OF ANXIETY SUFFERER  (Read 306 times)

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Offline walkingonglass

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DESPERATE NEED OF HELP: PARTNER OF ANXIETY SUFFERER
« on: December 02, 2013, 06:57:41 PM »
Hi everyone
Hope you are all well.

I am new to this forum, and found it after being on google desperately looking for information. My boyfriend of 3 years suffers with GAD, and I guess I just want to ask you guys for some opinions about if some of his actions are due to the GAD or not.

Some background:
We have been together for 3 years, although 7 months of those 3 years we were apart. This was due to the fact that my boyfriend always looks for approval amongst his friends, and at that time we had only been together for 5 months. We broke up because his friends thought it would be better if he was single so that he could "live his life and not be tied down". Very few of his friends are in serious relationships, or even value a good relationship. As he has never grown up in a healthy family environment, there has been lack of love and his family are almost not allowed to express how they feel amongst themselves it has resulted in my boyfriend being very dependent on his friends and their approval. He always wants to do what his friends does. Anyways, we broke up for 7 months but after those 7 months we got back together because he realized that I am a girl who he wants to be with in the future, and because I loved him so much I was happy to get back with him.

Fast forward to now:
We have a great relationship, he has changed a lot and become more mature in terms of our relationship. If his friends would now say to him to leave me, he wouldnt because he values me more now. Personally, I think we are very happy together. We have the crucial things that are important in relationships, we are always there for eachother through out any life difficulties, we support eachother, we trust eachother, we laugh together, share the same values and principals, have the same goals for the future, we have the same traditional thinking, we respect eachother, we are completely honest with eachother, we are each others best friend.

HOWEVER, Because we have been together for a long time, that new amazing feeling that two people have when they initially fall in love, the spark, the excitement has turned in to a mature and deep relationship. And THIS is where his problem lies at times. My boyfriend often question whether this is a normal feeling. Bare in mind, I am his FIRST real relationship. Hes only ever had flings where its never got past the point where its become a deeper relationship. The only longer lasting relationship he ever had was with a girl and they were just sleeping with eachother, that lasted for over a year but it was purely physical.

He stresses out alot, he is never ever calm or content. In person, he will always shake his leg, his arm, just have a stressful energy around him. Its like he always needs to do something, go somewhere but he doesnt know where to go if that makes sense? When he has a goal, he HAS TO reach that goal with in a time frame, and every day spend all his time stressing about that goal. For example: He wanted a job with in a specific field, for a good few months he stressed and stressed, spending every minute applying for similar job roles, he could not priorities anything or anyone else at all. He finally got this job, and I thought he would be content. He starts in a month, and basically at his current job him and his manager does not get along. So after receiving news about getting this new job that he has worked so hard for, instead of being happy he started stressing that his boss will somehow ruin his chances at this new job by not giving him a good reference. He always tends to think about the worst case scenario at all times.
Its like he has this fear inside of him that wont ever go away.

So TO MY ACTUAL QUESTION NOW: When he is generally stressed in life, or sometimes when he tends to overthinks, he will at times question our relationship. So all of a sudden I can sometimes receive a text where he is asking "Do you think we are right for eachother" "We are so different, do you think we are meant to be?" "I really miss the times where I used to chase you". I have probably had texts as these about 6-10 times now. I always have to reassure him that we are good for eachother because we do have a very good mature and deep relationship. I honestly do EVERYTHING for him and go out of my way to do so. I can honestly say I am the nicest most patient person to him at all times, because I have learnt to be so. I know that these questions will come up from time to time, but he will forget about them the next day or a week after. I just want to know,

are these doubts because of his anxiety or am i just kidding myself?

I honestly think they are, and he is always scared that the worst thing may happen. So I think he is scared that maybe in the future when we do get married it wont work out.

We are generally very happy and he is honestly the love of my life. I know ive made him sound horrible, but he isnt. He is the sweetest guy I have ever met, but I just feel like he has this fear inside of him that never goes away. There is always a new stress he worries about.

Can anyone with GAD or any other type of anxiety comment on all of this, and maybe give me some insight of what problems you may face in a relationship that are similar to these???

My heart truly goes out to you all <3
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Offline Cheeky_beef

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Re: DESPERATE NEED OF HELP: PARTNER OF ANXIETY SUFFERER
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2013, 10:31:27 PM »
Hi walkingonglass

I can't really give you all the answers you need as I'm not in a relationship, and I currently don't have a job, but hearing him thinking about the worst-case scenario is all too familiar in my eyes; much as he suffers from stresses with work, I'm constantly on edge with my health, and I also assume the worst, so in that sense, we're the same.

Also, with the whole texting thing, I remember how I had to question my doctor about all of the symptoms I had; I always needed some level of reassurance - I needed to know I was going to be okay. I honestly do think he has anxiety.

I wish you both all the best!
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Offline doogle2

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Re: DESPERATE NEED OF HELP: PARTNER OF ANXIETY SUFFERER
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 07:38:48 AM »
Hi walkingonglass

Let me assure you it is not you - it is definitely anxiety. We anxiety sufferers question everything and regularly cast doubt into the future wondering if we are going to be OK. So him questioning your relationship and how his future is going to work out is just another symptom of anxiety and just another form of being FEARFUL of the future.

The thing is EVERYONE questions the future, its a perfectly normal thing to do, we think about it to ensure we make the right decisions in life, etc. but anxiety sufferers, because they have a tendency to think fearfully and paint a bleak future in their minds (because they they have trained themselves to do this for a long time) do it badly. They tend to obsess about the future and tend to need more reassurance about their futures than non-anxious people do.

So really all your boyfriend is doing, is what all anxiety sufferer's do, and that is:

  • Question the future................... (because he doesn't want to get hurt)
  • Paint the future bleak.......................... (because he has trained himself to do that, due to his upbringing or whatever else has caused him to be fearful about future events)
  • Not like what we see in the future - and so becomes scared/anxious of it ............................(as you have so rightly said he thinks negatively - so he will have created a bleak future in his mind)
  • Try to protect ourselves from that - IE: The scary future he has predicted for himself in his mind......................... (which is not even real)
  • Obsesses over that...........................(Because he has predicted possible DANGER - and even though it is not real to you, it is very real to him and his fight/flight mechanism, etc.)
  • Seek reassurances that this bleak "crap" scenario we have dreamt up will not come true ........................(His mind has painted a bleak future - he needs to BELIEVE it won't happen, because his mind has told him it MIGHT and he is scared/anxious of that. Now you will paint him one future and his friends will paint him another, his boss may paint him another, etc., etc.)


And the biggest thing that you and your boyfriend can do is understand that PROCESS - because that is all anxiety is it's a process that we get locked into after years of poor thinking and bad habit.

Once you start to recognise the PROCESS, then you start to recognise anxiety and how it works. Once you start to understand anxiety, and how it works - then you can go about changing some of that poor thinking and breaking some of those bad habits (negatively trying to predict the future, etc.), and making changes for the better - but not before you understand!!.

And I for one think that this guy is very lucky in having a girlfriend as understanding as you.

Good luck on your journey together.

Hope it helped  :action-smiley-065:
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The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish ~ Evelyn Waugh

Offline doogle2

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Re: DESPERATE NEED OF HELP: PARTNER OF ANXIETY SUFFERER
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 08:53:11 AM »
Sorry but this:

  • Seek reassurances that this bleak "crap" scenario we have dreamt up will not come true ........................(His mind has painted a bleak future - he needs to BELIEVE it won't happen, because his mind has told him it MIGHT and he is scared/anxious of that. Now you will paint him one future and his friends will paint him another, his boss may paint him another, etc., etc.)

Should have said this:

  • Seek reassurances that this bleak "crap" scenario we have dreamt up will not come true ........................(His mind has painted a bleak future - he needs to BELIEVE it won't happen, because his mind has told him it MIGHT and he is scared/anxious of that. Now you will paint him one future and his friends will paint him another, his boss may paint him another, etc., etc. And all those different opinions will lead him to become even more confused, bewildered and unsure about the future than ever and that leads to getting trapped in a loop of questioning, doubting, seeking, questioning, doubting, seeking, questioning, doubting, seeking.................and that all...............brings on the ANXIETY!!!)

That is the PROCESS and it is this process that perpetuates our anxieties. 

And so the "cure" is to cease painting negative scenarios about the future, because that is what is going on, and is all that is going on.

It is all about the way you think - and the main difference between you and him. When you "think" of the future together you paint a happy picture - when he "thinks" of your future's together he paints a crappy one.

Both are just make believe scenarios as the future hasn't happened yet - but your future is a loving happy one and his is a SCARY, FEARFUL one and so he needs to learn to paint happier futures for himself in his head or simply just stop painting future pictures altogether.

Hope it helps
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The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish ~ Evelyn Waugh

Offline walkingonglass

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Re: DESPERATE NEED OF HELP: PARTNER OF ANXIETY SUFFERER
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 10:40:14 AM »
doogie2, thank you for your reply :)

I understand what you mean, he isnt always negative about our future together. In fact, he is the one who will discuss marriage, kids and a happy future. He will SOMETIMES be negative about our future together, and that is mostly when he has other things that stress him out.

I dont try to force my happy picture of the future on him, I just try to reassure him because we are actually very happy together. We have everything in a relationship that anyone would want, trust, comfort, similar future goals etc. So when he does stress about the future, I guess it does not make sense to me because we do not have a unhealthy relationship at all.

I just dont know how to make him see that there is actually nothing wrong in our relationship at the times when he does get stressed and anxious about it. What would be the best way to reassure him in THAT moment when he feels anxious?

Thank you for your help :)
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Offline doogle2

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Re: DESPERATE NEED OF HELP: PARTNER OF ANXIETY SUFFERER
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2013, 01:56:24 PM »
Well first help him understand the process, because if he doesn't understand the process, then you won't have much chance of helping him out. However once he understands the process then you can help him by reminding him of it when he is stressed and anxious.

You can help him by reminding him (gently of course) that logic goes out of the window when FEAR and DOUBT are allowed onto the scene and that endless questioning and endless "what if's" about the future, are just useless and counter productive - especially if they are tinged with negativity and/or gloomy outcomes.

Looking for answers about how his new boss will treat him after what his old boss might say, for example is a pointless pursuit, and providing he is aware of that and has just forgotten due to his anxious state then reminding him that ruminating on what might happen is pointless - will help. However if he has no understanding of the process then you may well be wasting your time, as instead of him seeing you as helping, he may well interpret your actions as interfering or just not understanding him - so you do have to be careful with that one IF he doesn't understand the process of anxiety and how it will be working on him and affecting his thought processing.

So the best advise is to get him to understand the process, understand what is going on, then you will have really helped help him out.

If he already understands the process of anxiety then great, just remind him of that at the times when he has forgotten, and is suffering as a result.

Hope it helps
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The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish ~ Evelyn Waugh

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