We assume that we’re being rejected because in some way we’re inadequate or inferior, triggering deep beliefs that we’re basically unlovable. Even the passing of a loved one can activate feelings of emotional abandonment from childhood and cause shame about how our behavior prior to death.
If we’ve suffered emotional abandonment in the past, particularly in childhood, we can have anxiety about experiencing it in the future. We worry others are judging us or upset with us. If we have an emotionally or physically abusive partner, we’re liable to be “walking on eggshells,” anxious about displeasing him or her. This reaction is typical when living with a practicing addict, narcissist, or someone bipolar or with a borderline disorder.
It’s also common among children of addicts or those who grew up in a dysfunctional family where emotional abuse, including control or criticism, was common. When we live in such an environment for years, we may not realize we’re anxious. The state of hypervigilance becomes so constant, we can take it for granted. Anxiety and accompanying depression are characteristics of codependents.
Early intervention yields the best results. Psychotherapy empowers patients to reduce anxiety by changing beliefs, thoughts, and behavior throughout their lives without the side-effects of prescription drugs. Effective therapies include various forms of cognitive-behavioral techniques, such as exposure therapy, CBT, and dialectical behavioral therapy.
Other options include anti-anxiety medication and natural alternatives, such as non-drug supplements, relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy, and mindful meditation. Whereas drugs provide fast relief, the effect is mostly analgesic. Healing shame and freeing the true self-provide long-lasting reduction of anxiety by allowing us to be authentic and not worry about others’ opinions of us.
©Darlene Lancer 2017
Written by Darlene Lancer JD, MFT Originally appeared on WhatIsCodependency.com