It is so very important to realize that there is almost always a reason why a person is having panic attacks, intrusive thoughts or obsessive worry with compulsive behaviors.
Certainly, trauma can cause these anxiety symptoms, but I rarely find that among the majority of my clients. Stress can surely add to the symptoms, but most often I have found that stress only aggravates the anxiety symptoms.
What I find in most cases is that personal conflict is typically the source. Whereas stress can come and go, conflict hangs over our heads until we deal with it.
Yes, like feeling trapped in a go-nowhere job but avoiding taking steps to create opportunities to change for fear of failure or rejection.
Maybe feeling stuck in an emotionally, physically or sexually abuse relationship, but avoiding taking steps to remove yourself because of your fears of being alone, or the fear of retaliation.
How many times we want to express ourselves toward someone who is controlling, intrusive or manipulative, but end up avoiding and repressing what we feel.
Key word is avoiding, since avoidance effects how we see ourselves. Avoidance can cause us to feel weak, erodes our self-esteem and leads to our not trusting ourselves.
Of course, when we doubt ourselves, what do we do next ? We WHAT IF ourselves and then we avoid !
There is a reason why the more adapting and approval seeking personalities have more anxiety, panic and OCD symptoms. Their need for approval and want to avoid possible rejection or exclusion makes them fair game for the more manipulative people in the world. All you caregivers, conformers, peacekeepers and perfectionists are really good people but you need to learn to set boundaries with people who would take advantage of your adapting natures.
In future blog articles, I will address some ways for each personality type to make changes so they might feel more in control, and thereby begin to take control of their anxiety symptoms. I look forward to your comments.
Meanwhile, take a look at our Blog at www.RuledByFear.com
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist