You long to feel emotionally connected, to have fulfilling relationships and a rich social life. To laugh and share stories with others. To talk about your life adventures, hopes, dreams, or fears. You wish others to feel inspired by your presence and open themselves to you, share themselves with you.
At times, you have moments when you feel natural, in your element, your conversation flows, it feels right, fun, and light. It leaves you with that special feeling in your heart: the warm joy of feeling connected to someone. And, it’s not only the conversation that flows, you feel grounded and present in your body.
But, way too often anxiety takes you away from being emotionally free to connect with others. You find yourself too nervous to have access to your real self. Or, numb and frozen in anxiety, you just want to disappear. Perhaps sometimes you even avoid certain social interactions.
In particular if you are a creative, a performer, or an artist you may feel that relational anxiety may interfere with your career – holding you back from showing up in developing meaningful career relationships, or at events that are part of your professional life, or maybe even holding you back from showing up in your art/performances.
Maybe when you are in a relationship, you feel needy and too much. Being vulnerable is making you nervous. Maybe you’re conflict avoidant.
Perhaps you also worry that your nervousness is too apparent, you’ll scare others away. The discomfort of feeling that others can see how anxious you are adds layers and layers of anxiety on top of anxiety. The shape of feeling anxious kicks in, now you just want to hide.
Though you want your relationships to succeed, anxiety creeps in and doesn’t allow you to participate in personal or professional relationships to create the life you want.
The beautiful emotional dance of feeling present and connected with others, it feels distant right now.
Fortunately, there are ways that psychotherapy can help: you can heal emotional trauma that may be at the root of anxiety, reconnect with your authentic self, and start showing up in your relationships with more authenticity, vulnerability, and presence.
Let’s take a look at how psychotherapy can help you heal anxiety that is interfering with your relationships.
Psychotherapy can help you heal relational trauma that is at the root of anxiety
One of the most important aims of therapy is to heal the emotional relational trauma that is at the root of anxiety.
Your therapist can help you look inside, reconnect with old relationship stories that may trigger anxiety. You can rewrite a new story that can soothe the old and empower you in the present.
You can let go of difficult moments with people who may have been neglectful or abusive to you – emotions that may have been trapped in your body. You can understand your patterns and your internal conflicts that are keeping you stuck in such old emotional places and perpetuate the trauma instead of moving forward.
Psychotherapy will help you clean old relational stuff so you can start living with more emotional relational freedom in your present life.
Psychotherapy can help you reconnect with your authentic self
Anxiety is the wall between you and the most important relationship you have – your connection to your own authentic self. It leaves you trapped in a disconnected mental space without awareness or feelings in your own body. You’re out-of- touch and out-of-tune with yourself.
As you go through therapy, you can start letting go off the defensive walls that don’t allow you to access your true self. As you relinquish unhealthy defense, you can shift to a more authentic you and reconnect to yourself. You’ll be able to see the core of who you really are – without the defenses, the fake masks you took on to protect yourself from difficult relationships.
All the defenses that helped you in the past, now they are keeping you trapped in anxiety – trauma responses that continue to traumatize you – instead of being emotionally present and free to be and enjoy your relationships.
You, reconnecting to your own real, vulnerable, and curious self you can start showing up in other relationships, as well.
Psychotherapy is facilitating the connection to your core authentic self, therefore it will facilitate the connection to others.
Psychotherapy can help you show up in relationships with more presence, vulnerability, and authenticity.
As you heal from old relational trauma and reconnect with your authentic self you can start feeling safer to show up in your current relationships or social interactions.
Instead of being controlled by old fears, you can feel more driven by a wish to engage, connect, and enjoy others’ presence. Instead of acting from anxieties, you can just relax and be in relationships – personals and professional.
Moment-by-moment of you showing up in your current relationships with more ability just to be and connect, you will further solidify your social confidence – the trust that you can be in relationships from a place of comfort.
You can act from the genuine need to be with people and experience the joy that comes with fulfilling connections, again either personal or professional.
Psychotherapy can help you show up from your in-the-moment self, not from the projections of the past, therefore you can be more present, vulnerable, and authentic in your current relationships.
Take the Next Step
When you feel a wave of anxiety in your relationship, don’t panic. Don’t give up. Seek support. It’s time to get curious and dig deeper. A therapist can help you heal and reconnect. Learning to lean in and heal anxiety will help you feel more loving, confident, and more connected as you move forward!
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I am specialized in treating emotional trauma and in working with creatives and performers with their emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creativity, relationships and love, PTSD, and addictions.