Dec 20, Help your partner with anxiety to help themselves
10 Ways you can help your partner deal with their anxiety disorder
- Believe that the two of you, as a couple, can beat the condition. Even if it was to remain in the background, you need not be limited by it.
- Accept that it might not go as fast as either of you would want it to. Be mindful of the fact that the healing process needs to be steered by your partner as they're the one 'going through it'. I do understand that at times feel you may so frustrated that you could bite your own hand off. That is your problem though, and as stressed as you are do keep in mind what your partner is going.
- See the anxiety as a separate entity. You might even want to give the anxiety a name - let's say 'Fred'. That way you'll be able to talk about 'Fred' as being the problem and not your partner. The two of you can now team up to acknowledge and understand the 'Fred' first, and then slowly let 'it' go.
- Seek a middle way- don't let your partner avoid a situation but don't force them either. Negotiate that step outside of their comfort zone.
- Encourage your partner gently to step outside of their comfort zone every single day - several times in just small steps. Don't force the issue, but make sure you acknowledge every effort!
- Don't become an 'enabler' by adjusting everything you do to accomodate the anxiety ('Fred'). The more you make allowances the more you give 'Fred' permission to take control.
- Continue to invest in your relationship, by doing things where the anxiety isn't an issue. It will help to increase the 'credit' in your relationship's 'emotional bank account'. It's easier then to pay the 'bills', such as arguments and disappointments.
- Find someone you can trust, who you can talk to about how you feel. Really importantly - it has to be someone who won't judge either you or your partner. I have a page on that too - see links below.
- Ensure that you have a fair chance of doing things you enjoy by yourself. By this I mean engage (or re-engage) in hobbies or activities. For me this means going rowing with a club near my home or taking my dog out for a long walk. Encourage your partner to do the same, without any feelings of guilt.
- Be mindful that a state of anxiety is a trance state. When your partner is very anxious they will have a narrow focus of attention. It is the same as with any other emotional state; such as lust, sadness, depression or anger. It's as if someone (your partner) is hypnotised. See my page on what hypnosis is (link below).