I'm someone who loves others with great ease, but yet I struggle with accepting the love that is shown to me. Mostly, it comes from my fear of abandonment. If I give in, and accept the love which is given to me today, I give you the power to hurt me tomorrow.
This is something I've learned to live with.
But then I look at my family, my closest and best friends, and all the others who love on me. They cover me with their love. I accept it, but rarely do I surrender to it. (Why do I feel so unworthy?)
I have felt the burden of anxieties trying to drown me. I have persevered through love, and love alone. It was the people that love me who were quick to pick me up, to let me know that love is greater than any other hardship my anxiety could fathom.
And then I realized it... Loving someone with anxiety demands more than any other kind of love. Above all else, this proves to me how great the love is that others have for me. (How lucky am I?)
And this is something I'm slowly beginning to accept for what it is.
So I present this to you, for all of you that have loved me fiercely, and for all of you struggling to understand someone's anxious mind... Here it is:
What to Know When Loving Someone with Anxieties:
- Be genuine with your love. We often feel like a burden to you. Regardless of how badly we need your love, we still feel guilty for wanting it and undeserving of it.
- Be patient. It takes time. Anxiety can't be just turned off as easily as it can be triggered.
- Love us hard. Persistence can help us see you're not temporary.
- Don't blame us. We often do know that our anxieties aren't entirely rational, but yet we can't help feeling that way.
- Don't make us feel stupid for feeling the way we do. (See #4)
- Be honest. Sometimes we're going to ask 'silly' questions, like "You still love me, right?" We are actually seeking validation in your response.
- Anxiety is all-consuming. It's not only a repeated series of worries flooding our brains, it is also a racing heart and the inability to catch our breath. And we'll cry when we finally breakdown.
- Sometimes we'll need to be alone to cope, but don't leave us. Give us space, but stay close.
- Be strong for us. Even the strongest people, under the stresses of anxiety, can feel weak and alone. Be strong enough for both of us.
- Show, and don't tell. Words have often felt empty. Actions speak more loudly. Sometimes a hug means a lot more than an "I love you."
- If we talk to you about our anxieties, understand how much we trust you and how important you are to us.
- We are so grateful for your love. (Please don't stop.)
So, in addition to this series on How to Love Someone with Anxieties, I present to you:
How to Live with Anxiety:
What to Know When Loving Someone with Anxieties (Part 2):
- Remind me of how strong I've been and how strong I will be.