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Reinforcing Anxiety

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

Glyndora Condon, MS MFT LPC

Anxiety is a strong emotion that erupts as people dwell upon the “What-if’s” of this world. Some examples would include: What if they think I am selfish? What if they misunderstood what or why I did this? What if something bad happens? What if I cannot get a hold of them?

As anxiety is occurring, first with an automatic thought regarding a situation or perceived possibility; then the person impulsively feels the strong need, resembling a craving-to make the fear ridden cycling thoughts stop. With this need then the person will often call repeatedly, text repeatedly, actually get into their car to drive over, contact the employer to reach the person; check and double check their prior behaviors to ensure they had turned off the stove; or etc…

This level of anxiety is exhausting, crippling, and will disrupt lives, work, relationships, and health. Often co-morbid with anxiety are depressive symptoms, suicidal

Feeling surrounded and lost? Do you not know where to turn?

, panic, aggressive behaviors, and many other behaviors and emotions that attach with anxiety. With compulsive and repeated reactions in the attempt to lower the anxiety to feel better; the person adds more pressure to others and often exacerbates the problem. Those on the receiving end often have to repeatedly affirm their love and intent to remain faithful but these are ignored, disbelieved, and fall on deaf ears due to discounting of the positive. Or, feel attacked, disrespected, controlled, pressured, bitter, confused, frustrated, and suffocated. As this continues then the receiving individual grows weary of the continuance and shuts down.

The uncontrolled anxiety from the distorted automatic thought and the reactions to it; as they grow more out of control of their anxiety and behaviors in efforts to control their issues-then find themselves facing the very issue that they feared as others refuse to be manipulated or controlled and seek freedom from the imposing stress and actions. The attempts to stop anxiety has then reinforced more anxiety of the individual who then over-reacts and continues to pattern the same dysfunctional and in-effective behaviors. Several distortions of thinking errors are present during this effort which are believed to be absolutely true by the anxious person. This belief is resistant to self-analysis and treatment as the person seeks to blame others for their anxiety and thus imposes more controls and guilt-ridden manipulation of others.

Only when the person realizes that they may have been their worse enemy without now imposing undue blame on self; realizing that their anxiety is a strong and debilitating emotion, that was only mishandled in a common reaction method; which was more due to learned perceptions and actions- and which can be unlearned and replaced with a more positive discernment and response; will then experience the strength and insight; and the coping tools needed-to be able to address their anxiety correctly while not imposing on others.

This technique is taught frequently at Heal and Hope Counseling Services. Call now: 423-790-4906 to schedule your appointment to learn how to stop reinforcing your anxiety! We want to hear from you!

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