Relationship anxiety

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    I’m struggling with relationship anxiety. I’m in my mid twenties and I’ve met someone whom this would be my first serious relationship. Sadly we’ve not exactly done it.. how I imagine most people do – where they date and slowly get to know each other. We both have mental health issues (we met through a support group) and knew them about each other early on, and started out as friends. Although we’ve only recently acknowledged our feelings for each other, it already feels quite intense as we know each other well, and I think because of our mental illnesses.

    I think I’m falling for him, and he has said he is for me. However, I have severe anxiety issues, and he’s the first friend I’ve made in many years. I’m only now starting to have a social life and go out again after many years of mostly interacting with mental health support or dysfuntional family. We make each other so incredibly happy, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so at ease with someone. He has said the same. We’ve had a very open and honest relationship so far about everything we’re feeling and nerves we have and are supportive of each other.

    The problem lies in that I’m already assuming I will ruin things for us. I feel like I’m a horrible person to be around and abusive.

    I’ve already ‘broken up’ with him now three times (lasting a week, a few days, and as of just now), because I am afraid I will eventually hurt him. I see I’m hurting him already just by doing this. Each time I usually have an anxiety attack and feel like I need to sort myself out and seek help about these issues, and I still believe that, but I’ve not yet had a chance to talk to anyone.

    He said he understands, and knew this about me from the beginning, but wants to continue, and will keep being there. I feel I am being a horrific abusive person and can’t believe I have it in me to do this to someone. He reassures me that sadly he’s been a victim of abuse, and that I’m actually lovely, and would not put up with abuse from anyone again. Everyone says I’m lovely, but it seems too good to be true.

    So now I am here, and feeling truly ashamed, and don’t know what to do. I wish I had never spoken and don’t think I should make any more friends, as I know I’ll just mess it up again.

    Any advice appreciated, thank you.

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by norit.
    • This topic was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by norit.

    Dear norit:

    Welcome back. The relationship reads like a good one to me, other than you breaking up with him three times.

    You wrote that you met him in the context of a support group and are aware of each other’s mental illness. Please do not be too attached,  if you can, to you being mentally ill as well as to him being the same. Healing is possible. Mental illness is often not a life sentence. It is possible for you to keep healing, restart the healing process. Patience with the process, patience in times of distress, persistence through distress, not giving up, is necessary and possible.

    December 2016, you wrote about your mother, that she was/ is “obsessing over how others or myself live our lives, and whether it’s right or wrong”- can you elaborate on that?



    I am the other end of your situation.
    My best friend, she’s going through depression. In the other hand, I’ve had anxiety. She has tried to cut off our relationship more than a hundred times over a year and I have expressed my raw emotions with that, but understandaby such occurences still continue and I can’t help but feel a little disappointed and insecure myself although I’ve grown to be more adept to it.

    Seeing your post was an eye opener. I got to see what was on the other side.

    There were a few times I had nearly given up on her. I felt utterly guilty for those times, when I lashed out and even begin the thought of letting her go. Even if she had ‘given up’ on me more than I had. Well, I am definitely not as strong as your benevolent partner – that’s for sure.

    I just wished she knew that I’ll be there with her all the way. I just want her to give herself some time even if she leaves me for a bit. I know she never meant for me to leave. I knew she never meant to be a burden. I just need her to love herself for me, because I love her very much.

    I need her to be here for herself, with me.

    Please, don’t be afraid to give yourself that time or care. Please, don’t be afraid to clarify with us and ask for our help. I know you need assurance in every action. Let us be here for you.

    We love you because we saw you fighting with your inner monsters. We’r mesmerised by the way you move. Don’t let us stop you. Continue. You are not a burden, or a dead weight. You are strong, powerful in the battlefield that you have so trustingly shown to some of us. We believe in you.

    We don’t expect you to immediately change for the better. We are very well aware that we are not the antidotes to the disease in your mind. Because we are struggling too, and we trust you with ourselves. We’re in this together.

    Don’t keep the fears you have inside. They will not be cast away until they are told and torn off. Be the burden. Then see it become lighter as you walk with it.

    Please don’t regret. Walk with us. You are not abusive, do not believe that you are. You are not a lie.

    Please, take care of yourself. If you feel like walking out again, talk to us. Give us a hug. We are grateful to have you.

    My sincerest apologies if my post was quite self-centred and personal.



    Hi anita,

    Thank you – I’d been lurking the forums now and again, although not posting. It’s nice to talk to you again. I hope you’ve been doing ok?

    I recognise mental illness isn’t a life sentence, and for me see my anxiety as something I’m learning to manage and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I think he sees illnesses as a life sentence and sees himself rotten to the core.
    I keep telling myself I’m not responsible for other people’s emotions, but it truly doesn’t seem like that is the case. My actions have an impact on other’s emotions – if I had a difficult day he would in turn, some way or another.

    I went back to that post in regards to my mum. I think I meant it in how she can be quite judgemental, and also focuses more on other people’s lives so she can avoid her own problems. I’m not sure how to elaborate any more. She still does this and is still struggling with addiction sadly.

    – norit


    Dear norit:

    I am fine, thank you. And you are welcome.

    Sure we affect each other, as social animals it happens this way: when your boyfriend is sad, it causes you some distress and vice versa. What affects me more intensely is when someone near me is angry. That distresses me. On the other hand, if a person near me is calm and pleasant, oh, how helpful it is for me, how much better I feel. It helps me to feel calm myself.

    From what you shared, he was indeed abused by others. Not by you. With the backgrounds of the two of you, I would say, make sure neither one of you harms the other, and if you suspect that you are harming him, ask him, check with him, as you have done, and when he tells you that you didn’t harm him, believe him.

    If you trust each other to tell the truth, then you don’t have to torture yourself wondering if you harmed him or abused him. Ask and believe him when he tells you that you did not harm him.

    It can help to reduce your stress with him if you cut short the time you spend with him. Or if you talk less during any one time. Take on… a temporary vow of silence, a no talk break when the two of you hold each other, relaxing in each other’s arms.

    When you write that he “sees himself rotten to the core”- what do you mean, or better, what does he mean by it.. how does he behave as a result of this belief about himself?



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