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My Boyfriend Increases My Anxiety

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From the U.S.: My boyfriend and I have been together a year. Recently I was diagnosed with extreme anxiety and depression, though have been seeing a therapist. I realized that my boyfriend sometimes phrases things that worsen my anxiety. For example, he says, “You will cause Y if you do X” instead of “If X happens, then Y happens”; (“You’ll cause the shower curtain to mold if you close it while it’s wet.”instead of, “The shower curtain will mold if it’s closed when i’s still wet”) This increases my anxiety because I feel like he’s immediately placing blame rather than stating an objective outcome. I feel like I’m a burden who can’t do anything right instead of a girlfriend.

Do I bother addressing it with him, or should I talk to my therapist to find ways to deal with it on my own? I worry that he’ll feel like I’m blaming him for my mental health struggles rather than clarifying that his phrasing can be hurtful.

My Boyfriend Increases My Anxiety

Answered by on -

A.

It comes down to intent. Does your boyfriend intend to undermine you? Or are you being over-sensitive to an ordinary construction of language? If it’s the latter, it makes more sense to work on your anxiety than to try to change the way your boyfriend phrases things. If he means no harm, no harm should be taken. I think you should follow your instinct to talk to your therapist.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

 

My Boyfriend Increases My Anxiety

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Boyfriend Increases My Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/12/13/my-boyfriend-increases-my-anxiety/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 12 Dec 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 12 Dec 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.