Relationships are wonderful, but they can also be a breeding ground for anxious thoughts and feelings …

Fear in a relationship can occur at any time. Some people struggle with fears and worries in the early stages of the relationship: 

” Does he really like me ?”

” Will our relationship work ?”

” How serious is our relationship ?”

Unfortunately, these concerns do not disappear in the later stages of a romantic relationship. In fact, as people get closer, the fear can become even more intense. We start to think about whether our relationship will work, if the partner really likes us, if the relationship is developing too fast, if we are really ready for that kind of relationship and if the partner will lose interest in us.

All these worries and fears about our relationships can make us feel pretty much alone. You can make us create distance between us and our partner. In the worst case, our fear may even lead us to give up love altogether.

Learning about the causes and effects of anxiety in a relationship can help us to recognize the negative thinking and actions that can sabotage our love life. 

What causes fear in a relationship?

In the simplest sense, love challenges us in many ways that we absolutely do not expect. The more we value someone else, the more we can lose. Both on a conscious and a subconscious level, we fear being hurt.

To a certain extent, we all have a fear of intimacy. Ironically, this fear often arises when we get exactly what we want, when we experience love, as we have never experienced it, or when we are treated in a way that is foreign to us.

When we are in a relationship, it is not just the things between us and our partner that make us anxious, but also the things we imagine about the situation in our heads. 

We all have the “critical inner voice”. This is the mean coach in our head who criticizes us, gives us bad advice and nourishes our fear of intimacy. This is the coach who tells us:

“You’re too ugly / fat / boring to keep his interest.”

“You’ll never meet anyone, so why are you trying?”

“You can not trust him. He’s looking for someone better. “

“He does not really love you. Get lost before you get hurt. “

This critical inner voice makes us turn against ourselves and the people around us. It can promote hostile, paranoid and suspicious thinking that lowers our self-esteem and creates unhealthy levels of distrust, defense, jealousy and fear. Basically, it feeds us with many thoughts that jeopardize our happiness, and makes us worry about our relationship rather than just enjoying it.

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As we focus on these thoughts, we are unbelievably distracted from the real relationship with our partner. We can begin to behave badly, make bad comments or become childish towards our partner.

For example, imagine your partner stays at work one night longer. As you sit alone at home, your inner voice starts to say, “Where is he? Can you really trust him? He probably enjoys not being with you. He tries to ignore you. He does not love you anymore. “

These thoughts destroy you and when your partner comes home, you feel insecure, angry or paranoid. Because of your behavior, you are acting angry or distant, which will make your partner feel frustrated. Pretty soon, the momentum between you will change completely if you continue like this.

Instead of enjoying the time together, you’re probably going to spend the whole night feeling annoyed. Thus, you effectively force the distance that you were originally afraid of.

The culprit behind this self-fulfilling prophecy is not the situation itself, but the critical inner voice that influences your thinking, distorts your perceptions, and ultimately leads you on a devastating path.

When it comes to all the things we care about in relationships, we are much more resilient than we think. Actually, we can handle all the injuries and rejections that we are so afraid of. We can endure pain and heal over time. Our critical inner voice, however, tends to terrorize reality. It can trigger problems and threats where they do not exist.

Even if it happens that the partner separates from us or falls in love with another person, our critical inner voice will destroy us in ways we did not deserve. It will completely distort reality and undermine our own strength and resilience. It feels like a cynical housemate is always giving you bad advice. “You can not survive this. Just be careful and never let anyone into your heart again. “

The defense we make and the critical voices we hear are based on our own unique experiences and adaptations. When we feel anxious or insecure, some of us tend to become attached and desperate. For this reason, we feel possessive or controlling towards our partner.

On the other hand, some of us feel easily invaded our relationships. We can withdraw from our partner and detach ourselves from our feelings of desire. We can just pretend that we are aloof.

These patterns of relationships may be descended from our early attachment styles. Our relationship pattern is anchored in our childhood attachments and continues to function as a working model for adult relationships.

This influences the extent to which each of us responds to our needs and how we can meet them. Different attachment styles can make us experience different levels of anxiety in relationships. 

What thoughts cause anxiety in a relationship?

The specific critical inner voices we have about ourselves, our partner, and our relationships arise from early attitudes to which we have been exposed in our family or society. Sexual stereotypes, as well as attitudes our parents have towards themselves and others, can infiltrate our perspective and disguise our current perceptions.

While each person’s inner critique is different, there are some common critical inner voices:

Critical inner voices about the relationship
– People are only hurt in a relationship. 
– Relationships never work.

Critical inner voices about your partner
– Men are so insensitive, unreliable and selfish. 
– Women are so fragile, needy and indirect. 
– He’s only interested in being with his friends. 
– Why are you so obsessed? What’s so great about her? 
– He’s probably cheating on you. 
– You can not trust her. 
– He can not do anything right.

Voices about yourself
– You will never find another person who understands you. 
– Never tie yourself to her too much. 
– He does not really care about you. 
– She is too good for you. 
– You have to make sure that he cares about you. 
– Singles are much better for you. 
– As soon as she meets you, she will leave you. 
– You have to take control. 
– It’s your fault if he gets angry. 
– Do not be too vulnerable or it will destroy you.

How does the fear of relationships affect us?

When we look at our past, we quickly realize that there are many previous influences that have shaped our attachment pattern, our psychological defense, and our critical inner voice. All of these factors contribute to our fear in relationships and can cause us to destroy our love life in many ways.

Listening to our inner critical voice and giving in to this fear can lead to the following actions:

Braces – When we are afraid, we tend to be desperate towards our partner. We stop feeling like the independent, strong people we were before we entered the relationship. As a result, we can easily collapse, become jealous or insecure or stop engaging in independent activities.

Control – When we feel threatened, we try to control our partner. We set rules about what he can do and what not, just to alleviate our own feelings of insecurity or anxiety. This behavior can repel our partner.

Rejection – If we are afraid in our relationships and are always worried, the distance might help us. We can reject our partner to protect ourselves. This act can be subtle or direct, but it is almost always a sure way to enforce distance or create insecurity in our partner.

Restraint – Sometimes, in contrast to rejection, we tend to refrain from our partner when we are afraid. Maybe we got too close and feel confused, so we retire. The restraint may seem like a passive act, but it is one of the quietest killers of passion and attraction in a relationship.

Punishment – Sometimes our response to fear is aggressive and we punish our partner or leave our feelings in him. We can scream or give our partner a cold shoulder. It is important to pay attention to the impact our actions have on both our partner and our critical inner voice.

Withdrawal – If we are scared in a relationship, we can give up love and intimacy and then retreat into the fantasy world. This world is an illusion that replaces the true feeling of love. In this state of imagination, we focus only on the imaginary things. We can stay in a relationship to feel safe but at the same time stop tying ourselves to our partner. In a fantasy world, we often engage in many destructive behaviors. We do this to create distance and protect ourselves from the fear that naturally goes hand in hand with the feeling of freedom and love.

How can I overcome the fear in a relationship?

To overcome fear in a relationship, we need to focus on ourselves. We have to see what’s going on in us, regardless of our partner or relationship. Which critical inner voice aggravate our fears? What defense do we have that could create distance?

This process of self-discovery can be an important step in understanding the emotions that drive our behavior and ultimately shape our relationship. If we look back at our past, we could get a better idea of ​​where these feelings come from.

What made us feel insecure or distance ourselves from love? You alone can learn a lot about the fear of intimacy and how to identify and overcome your critical inner voice.

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