Anxiety is difficult to manage. Whether you have anxiety yourself or your partner has anxiety, it can absolutely affect your relationship.
Today’s guest post is from Anne Russey, Owner of Anne Russey Counseling, PLLC in Katy, TX. Anne specializes in anxiety and has listed her top 3 tips for helping your partner through their anxiety.
3 Ways You Can Help Your Partner With Their Anxiety
Anxiety is more than just feeling worried or nervous. Anxiety can feel like an overwhelming sense that something is going or will go wrong. Sometimes anxiety can feel like extreme irritability, and may even surface as anger or rage. For some people anxiety might cause them to constantly beat themselves up. Or to believe that they’re failing and letting everyone else around them down.
People who struggle with anxiety may feel like everything in their life is out of their control. They may attempt to assert control over how their partner performs certain tasks like loading the dishwasher. They might try to control how their children behave or dress. An inability or resistance of a partner or child to comply with their requests to do things a certain way might lead to conflict or tension in the home. An anxious partner may constantly question their partner’s words, thoughts or intentions. A partner of an anxious person may feel nagged, criticized and frustrated.
Ask how your anxious partner is feeling and actually listen.
Make a point to ask how they’re feeling every day. Do this with some intention, and let them know you’re paying attention to their response. Put your phone away, ask them this question while the TV is off, or while minimal distractions are present, and listen to their response. If they’re feeling anxious, or overwhelmed, ask them how you can help. There may be something specific you can do to help. Or they may just need to vent. They may want to talk through what’s making them feel anxious and help them come up with some solutions. Or they may just want you to listen and offer encouragement or a hug.
Do the things you know are helpful in easing your partner’s anxiety without having to be asked.
Remember those things your partner has told you can be helpful when you’re asking how they’re doing and how you can help? Well make an effort to do those things without them having to ask. Take the trash out to the curb before you leave for work. Pack the kids’ lunches for the next day. Pick up the dry cleaning on your way home. Schedule the sitter for the next date night on the calendar.
The mental load of an anxious person is heavier than you might imagine, so a partner taking care of things they’ve been willing to delegate in the past can feel like a huge relief. Remember feeling in control of things helps ease anxiety so try not to take over anything they seem particularly invested in doing themselves or want done in really specific ways. The things they’ve been willing to delegate to you in the past seem like safe things to start with. Try to check in with your partner occasionally and make sure the things you’re doing to try to help are actually feeling helpful, and try to make adjustments if needed.
Tell your partner who struggles with anxiety what they’re doing well and how much you love them.
People who feel anxious are usually their own worst critic. The dinner they burnt because they were trying to get the kids bathed before you got home from work- they feel like the worst partner ever. Getting stuck in traffic and running late to pick the kids up from school- they assume they’re a failing as a parent.
Try offering them some positive feedback. Tell them how much you appreciate the very specific and unique things they do for your family. Let them know how good they are at comforting your kids when they’re feeling sad or overwhelmed. Tell them how much you appreciate the long hours they’re working and that you recognize the sacrifices that requires. If you have a partner who struggles with anxiety, they’re likely focusing on all of the horrible things that could or have gone wrong. Help them see their wins for the day or week by intentionally focusing on them and celebrating them.
Sometimes no matter how supportive and encouraging you are, your partner may feel like their anxiety is getting the best of them. Treatment for anxiety is available and can help your partner learn to cope with and better manage their reactions to the things that cause them to feel overwhelmed, irritable or like everything around them is out of their control. Counseling for anxiety can help.
Anne Russey Counseling specializes in providing treatment for anxiety, postpartum depression treatment, postpartum anxiety treatment, counseling for moms and LGBT counseling in Katy, Texas and throughout the state of Texas via online counseling.
Facebook: Anne Russey Counseling