Fear, Anxiety and Healthy Relationships

January 11, 2012 Tracey Lloyd

I am at an impasse, with my writing and with my feelings. Of course, these issues are related.

Last month, I began writing here about mending my relationship with my ex-boyfriend Bob, and we've been getting along very well in the meantime. We've reached a point of sharing that is different than at any time in our past: I've been able to share my feelings - past and present - with Bob and he has admitted a level of honesty I never expected from him. I was very happy, until I sought to write a long piece about our relationship for my personal blog and I couldn't come up with a way to tackle the topic. That's when I knew that I had some negative reactions mixed in with my warm fuzzies.

Fear of New Behaviors

fearNow that I'm trying to operate from a place of emotional honesty, I've had to get rid of my old defense mechanisms: using sarcasm to mask discomfort; rationalizing my emotional dishonesty as protecting other people; compensating for my feelings of relationship inadequacy by working all of the time. But the thing about defenses is that they work, so when you strip them away it's difficult to get used to a new - albeit healthier - coping strategy. For me right now, that means acknowledging my fear of getting hurt, teasing away my knee-jerk instincts to hide it, and sharing with Bob his behaviors that hurt me in the past. This kind of honesty is hard work, but I'm working through it slowly.

Fear of Bipolar Reactions

When I say "bipolar reactions," I don't mean that we as bipolars react a certain way (even though there's probably scientific evidence somewhere about similar neural pathways among brains of bipolar people). I mean experiencing emotional highs that come with love and pleasure, and being afraid that they'll be accompanied by the lows of rejection and abandonment. When you open yourself up to real emotions the upside potential is great, but so is the downside if your feelings aren't reciprocated. My past relationship with Bob, or at least getting rejected by him, was a trigger for unhealthy behavior in the past. Because I didn't get the love that I wanted from him, I went looking for what I could get - sex - from other men. Though I'm far healthier than I was then, and I've been abstinent for 3 years, I'm fairly certain that I won't have a dramatic rebound if things don't work out with Bob. However, rejection still hurts, and processing that hurt will take more time and effort than I've devoted to such things in a while.

Where there is fear, is there love?

Perhaps there can be a certain amount of fear in all relationships among adults. Fear is our response to a perceived threat, and it's healthy to be aware of real emotional threats so we know how to handle them. Men, including Bob, have hurt me in the past, so both my emotional and rational minds acknowledge that when starting a relationship. On the other hand, love and fear are opposites, so does that mean my fear precludes having healthy love with Bob? I don't yet know how to answer that question, but I'm definitely working - and blogging - through it.
Find Tracey on Twitter, Facebook, and her personal blog.

APA Reference
Lloyd, T. (2012, January 11). Fear, Anxiety and Healthy Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Tracey Lloyd

October, 20 2013 at 10:58 am

When I was severely mentally ill with Borderline Personality disorder, I took my marriage out of context. Every time my husband tried to be good friends with another woman I ended up accusing him of having an affair. I ended up checking his phone, timing him when he got home from work, questioning him and even checking up on him to see where his car was. I took the whole thing out of context and reacted in absurd ways! I somehow managed to convince myself that what I was thinking was true and because I was thinking it, it was happening. I even ended up looking for evidence which simply did not exist because it wasn't happening. What I learned was to 'turn my mind.' Your brain makes you think things and it can convince you it is true even if it is not! This is 'distorted thinking' which is not easy to deal with when you've been through the nightmare of relationships where it has happened, its happened with your parents and you never healed from it. A past full of violence can cause this thinking too.
The key I have learned is to learn to trust your partner and your self that he is telling the truth, to be mindful that your thinking it and figure out why your thinking it and what doesn't add up.
My husband has a preference for female company and he works with females, this sometimes makes me anxious but I trust he knows his boundaries so when I'm 'obsessed' with the idea he could be having an affair, I do something to boost my confidence and I look at it through his eyes by understanding he could be thinking the same thing, since we don't get much time together now because of work.

April, 24 2013 at 7:24 pm

Does love exist would you know when you don't feel the love for anything like you use to.

January, 17 2012 at 10:57 pm

Interesting info. It's funny to read it because I was asking myself the same question. I guess we all feel the same feelings, don't we?
January, 17 2012 at 4:00 am

How to Achieve Healthy Relationships and Contacts...
That’s what everyone is trying to have a healthy dating relationship. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to understand how many relationships are transformed into a pretty random problem is less commitment. A healthy relationship is based primar...

Depression and Anxiety Treatment
January, 12 2012 at 2:29 pm

Stunning quest there. What happened after? Good luck!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Deltra Coyne
January, 12 2012 at 3:52 pm

The situation is a work in progress, that is, I'm writing about it in realtime...thanks for reading!

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