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12 Lies Anxiety Tells You That Keep You Anxious and Fearful

Anxiety tells you lies that race through your brain until they feel like the truth. Recognizing anxiety's lies is important. Do these lies sound familiar?

Anxiety lies to you. It tells you lies in order to bully you and control you. A common complaint among people living with one or more anxiety disorders is that they can’t get the racing thoughts of anxiety out of their head. A reason for this is that anxiety, seemingly without stopping, feeds lies directly into your brain. When we’re told something over and over and over again, we start to believe it. By telling you certain lies, anxiety strengthens itself so it can keep a hold on you and your life. See if you recognize any of these 12 common lies anxiety tells.

12 Lies Anxiety Constantly Tells You

  1. Anxiety tells you lies that race through your brain until they feel like the truth. Recognizing anxiety's lies is important. Do these lies sound familiar?The past continues today. All of those worries and mistakes of the past — they’re not really over. They’ll never go away, and you’ll suffer the consequences every day for the rest of your life.
  2. The future is happening now. The fears you have about what tragedies might happen and the what-if scenarios that plague you are justified.
  3. Worrying changes things. The more you think about something and the more you fret and ruminate, the more control you’ll have over the future. So please, worry and agonize.
  4. You’re not good enough. You never have been good enough, and you never will be. Look around you. See all those people? They’re better than you.
  5. Another thing about all those people: they’re judging you. You know you’re inferior, and they know it, too (Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me).
  6. Thinking and worrying at night is a great way to problem solve. Besides, you don’t really need to sleep because you’re not all that important during the day (The [Dysfunctional] Relationship Between Sleep And Anxiety).
  7. You don’t deserve to speak up. Other people are smarter, better, and more in charge.
  8. You’re stupid. You say the wrong things. You ruin stuff.
  9. You can’t ask for things or make even simple requests because you’ll bother people.
  10. If you have panic attacks, be afraid of them. They’re dangerous, and they mean you’re weak, pathetic.
  11. You want it? No matter what it is, be it friendship, love, a raise, a job, new equipment for sports or a hobby, you can’t have it. You don’t deserve it. You’re taking away from someone else. It might lead to problems, so don’t bother.
  12. You’re going crazy. You’re losing your mind.

Recognize the Lies that Anxiety Tells You

By telling you lies, anxiety works its way deep inside your brain and takes hold until you begin to believe the lies. They begin to seem like the truth. The lies are often so numerous, far beyond these 12 examples, and so vicious that it can be hard to recognize them for what they are: lies that anxiety tells you.

Recognizing what anxiety is saying and identifying the statements as lies is an important step in removing anxiety from your life. The next step is to challenge the lies, and the next article (12 Truths About You and Anxiety) will do exactly that.

Let’s connect. I blog here. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. My mental health novels, including one about severe anxiety, are here.

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of four critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges as well as a self-help book on acceptance and commitment therapy. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

19 thoughts on “12 Lies Anxiety Tells You That Keep You Anxious and Fearful”

  1. Hello, since I have got older, my mind is making up stories that are not true, and yet I start believing them, my mother has the same thing happen to her and she is 89 and believes it is all true now, it scares me, my husband is so understanding, what is happening to me and can I fix this.

    1. Hello Gloria,
      The mind does play tricks on us by creating negative thoughts, anxieties, and more. It can be hard to know which thoughts are true and which are nothing more than lies. So you’re not alone in this frightening frustration. I would never do you harm by trying to tell you what is happening. It could very well be anxiety-based, and it could be something else entirely. I encourage you to see your doctor and explain everything that’s going on. He/she will provide insight and direction. Most things can indeed be fixed, or at least minimized.

  2. I have a problem.. Whenever the situation becomes a bit complicated and I get afraid that I will loose my close ones as a result and in that fear I constantly keep on telling lie.. Is this anyway related to my condition ??

  3. Wow, such a useful article……..I am currently in a place with anxiety that it lies to me about my relationship…….that it isn’t going to work out, that I need to panic around my other half. I can see this is anxiety making me focus on the positives in my life and turn them into negatives with its lies. Last week when my wife was away it turned it’s irritation on to my daughter and my parents and lied to me that they were the reason for my anxiety and depression. Now my wife is back it’s her again! Lies, lies, lies……..but they sometimes make me think they’re true! Anxiety wants me isolated and on my own…….away from friends and family so it can just hang out with me………..if I let it, I know I’ll lose everything and so it’s so useful to read this article over again when the lies become very believable so that I can remember that is just what they are…….Lies . Is there a link to the post you mention about beating these lies? Thanks 😃

    1. Hi Daryl,
      I’m very glad to know that this article has been helpful. Also, thank you for sharing part of your own experiences. Your thoughts will be useful to others and help people know that they’re not alone in their anxious thoughts. Here is the link to the post about beating anxiety’s lies: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2016/04/12-truths-about-you-and-anxiety/. I’m going to go add it to this article right now. 🙂

  4. How can I recover from anxiety I’m thinking that I’m in danger coz I talk to someone and she’s telling something about other people but I’m the one who feel scared about it everyday what do I need to do

  5. Indeed, they are misinterpretations of things or people we ought to face with, during daily global life functioning. Furthermore, they are unavoidable life prostrations that accomplish our personal, family, occupational and social routine. But it should be aware of its repercussions, if they occupy all our mental apparatus. So it ought to give up from rumination of idea that disturb us long away. It ought to ignore fix idea in order to continue to fulfill daily needs and deeds. Life events and people are in permanent moving and changing, so i t is preferable to construct our mental model in this concordance. Be tolerant and resilience against life problems and interpersonal misunderstandings! We can’t change the fate of the world. The best way to face with daily contrariness is to accept them as common life circumstances. In a word, we must to change and moderate our perception equipment in accord to respective psycho-social features. Anyhow, we should respect and implement some rule and aspects of sociocultural milieu, where we live and work. Otherwise anxiety would surmount your 12 useful suggestion that may relief anyone from anxiety tightness.

    1. Hello Dr. Ferati,

      Thank you once again for your insight. It does seem like so often, it’s hard to separate oneself from what’s going on in the surrounding environment. Internalizing everything — all struggles and stressors, even when they’re not our own — contributes greatly to anxiety. When anxiety tells us that we’re responsible for the world’s problems and happiness/lack of happiness, we naturally become burdened by anxiety. Separating ourselves from things in our surroundings we can’t control is crucial in decreasing anxiety.

  6. All these lies are true. I especially struggle with worrying all the time. It really doesn’t change anything but I can’t get rid of that awful habit.

    1. Hi Michael,
      Anxiety tells these lies to so many people. They’re common with anxiety. And they’re annoying. Worrying is an especially common “activity” with anxiety. Being aware of it is the first step in stopping it (or at least minimizing it to the point where it doesn’t interfere in your thoughts, feelings, and actions — in your life). There are other steps you can take to reduce worrying, too. I’ll be sharing some next week. 🙂

  7. Thanks for the kind information. I must appreciate the 11 point which you have mentioned in “Twelve Lies Anxiety Constantly Tells You” blog.

    “11. You want it? No matter what it is, be it friendship, love, a raise, a job, new equipment for sports or a hobby, you can’t have it. You don’t deserve it. You’re taking away from someone else. It might lead to problems. So don’t bother.”

    1. Hello John,
      I’m glad you like the information. These are all lies anxiety used to tell me (yes, number 11, too), and in continuing to research and read about anxiety as well as talk with others in various capacities, I’ve discovered that these are some of the lies anxiety tells many people. Being able to identify them when we’re thinking them and labeling them as anxiety’s lies will help silence them.

      Thank you for the helpful link to The Anxiety Expert, too!

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