Today I offer you an illustrated peek into what it’s like for me to deal with anxiety within the context of relationships (romantic, platonic, and everything in-between and outside of these.)
I think relationships are inevitably going to trigger us—it’s like they hold up a ~*mirror*~ for us to see where we’re tender, where we may need some healing, and where we may need to be showing up for ourselves a little more.
When my relationship anxiety flairs, it often brings friends. Sometimes I let them run the show and make decisions I’m not always happy with. But other times, and more often recently, I invite them to tea, hear what they have to say, and use that information as a guide to show me how I might take better care of myself.
These shadows you see above were born out of trauma—my valid-ass wounds breathed life into them. And even though they are not nice to me, they are trying to protect me from experiencing that pain again. I can recognize that while also declining to accept their help. Because I don’t need it anymore.
I think it’s important to note that while, yes, we do experience pain and trauma being in relationship with others, we also experience healing in relationship. If I believed these shadows all the time, I would block myself off from experiencing healthy relationships, ones that don’t repeat trauma patterns. And sometimes that’s scary. Trauma is certainly not fun but sometimes it sure can be comfortable.
If you also host tea parties for your relationship anxiety (or anxiety in general) please let me know because I’d love to hear about it. And if not, I invite you to try it—what happens when you stay curious about these shadowy friends? If you hold the information they share with reverence?
Being in healthy, loving relationship with others is brave and transformative and radical—because ultimately, you’re choosing to be in healthy, loving relationship with yourself (because, you know, ~*mirrors*~)
As always, I never promise to have the answers, but I sure do love having you along while I figure it out.
Do you have answers?
What does your anxiety tell you about your relationships? How do you work with your anxiety? I would love to know—respond to this email (or mention it in the comments!)
I acknowledge that this newsletter is written and illustrated on the traditional land of the Duwamish People, past and present. I honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe.