emotional distance

25 Ways We Use Distance to Manage Anxiety

Distancing is perhaps the quickest way to bind anxiety. We move across the country from our parents. We stay late at work to avoid our spouse.  Or we never share our real beliefs with friends who might disagree. It’s also why many of us, initially energized by all those Zoom calls in early COVID days, have begun to internally withdraw from other humans.

Physical and emotional distance are adaptive—we wouldn’t engage in them if they didn’t help us manage our anxiety. But distance has its price. We lose the opportunity to build real person-to-person relationships, and to work on our own maturity, when we automatically withdraw. When we let ourselves choose immediate calmness, we often forsake our best thinking about how to be in relationship with other humans.

How do you use distance to bind anxiety in your relationships? Do you see yourself in any of the these examples? (more…)

The Gift of Information

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People often tell me things they have never told anyone. It’s quite useful to talk to someone who won’t criticize, lecture, or panic. What people don’t realize, however, is that it can also be useful to talk to the very people who might.  

After people relay their challenges to me, I ask them whether these challenges have been shared with family members. Here are some common replies:

  • I don’t want them to worry about me.
  • It will only make my mother even more anxious.
  • They will say, “I told you so.”
  • I don’t want to burden anyone.
  • They’ll try and tell me what to do.
  • They won’t understand.

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