PREVIOUS: T.E..A. & Anxiety (#1)
1. T.E.A defined
2. ANXIETY (cont.)
• ACoAs will do almost anything to avoid feeling emotions – especially fear.
‘Coping’ styles (escapes):
– keep so busy you can’t feel it (or much of anything else)
– withdraw, isolate from people, refuse help or comfort
– find other ways to escape (internet, tv, sleeping……)
– stay angry so you don’t feel scared
– blame everyone/everything else when upset or disappointed
– use various types of addictions to numb out any unpleasant Es
– dump on anyone who’ll listen: compulsively go on & on about situations & people in your life that upsets you, without any self-awareness or attempt at making appropriate changes where possible.
▶ And then there are those of us who are drowning in it – for days, months, yrs or as far back as we can remember – our constant daily companion. We don’t know what to do about it, don’t know the source & have never learned how to find a solution.
CHICKEN or EGG
Whether anxiety (physically & emotionally painful) has been a life-long companion, always in the background of everything you do, OR an occasional unexpected ‘visitor’, seemingly out of nowhere, two important questions come to mind:
Where is it coming from? // What can I do about it?
a. Not everyone is self-reflective. Most people go thru life ignoring or using other defense mechanism to sidestep emotional pain. If you’ve asked yourself these Qs, you get a shrug: ”I don’t know”. They’re just baffled & stay that way
b. Some see a connection between an event (action) & anxiety, but don’t know what it is, & attribute it to something that shows our imperfection:
— making a mistake, forgetting something, being late, saying the wrong thing, losing something valuable (even temporarily), making a fool of ourselves, failing at some effort…..
OR, more often something or someone outside of ourselves
— waiting for an important phone call, being called into the boss’s office, a break up, anticipating an attack or punishment, the death of a family member, someone important turning against us, being verbally attacked or accused wrongly, caught in a character defect …..
c. Emotionally oriented ACoAs feel the anxiety intensely, (possibly Enneagram 2, 4, 6 types, & anyone with a lot Water signs in their Astrological natal chart – Scorpio, Cancer, Pisces), but only then ‘hear’ obsessive thoughts – some call it “spinning” – & assume it’s a way to explain the emotional distress, after the fact.
Sensitive /emotional ACoAs may assume that a stressful situation (from self or others) generates anxiety, which CAUSES the spinning. obsessive thoughts, as a way of explaining it to ourselves. We may do this kind of endless ruminating:
— to beat ourselves up, taking on all the blame for a situation
— to identify how bad/weak/inadequate… we truly are & in what ways
— to figure out how to fix it, but from a narcissistic perspective (“It’s all about me!”), via people-pleasing, groveling, hiding out, being belligerent…. depending on our personal defensive style.
HOWEVER – the reality of our internal process is that, as adults, all our anxiety is the result of our harmful THINKING!
NOTE: We usually speak of T.E.A. in terms of what generates our behavior – that is – Thinking + Emotions = Actions.
➼ In this case, we start with what we are immediately aware of – the Emotion of anxiety – then work backwards to correctly find the cause:
Action + Thinking = Emotion
NEXT: T.E.A. & Anxiety (Part 3)