Post # 1
So, I have a not so great habit of not believing something is going to work out until it is absolutely completely finalized, because I worry about it not working out. For example, not getting excited about a job because I’m worried I won’t pass a background check (which is stupid, because I’ve never been arrested for anything or done anything wrong) or until I have an offer in writing and actually start working, or worrying about getting into university and such with a verbal offer until I actually see it concretely and have made payments, etc. I have always worried that someone would change their mind about getting married to me right before we were about to get married – this has been a fear of mine since forever and I don’t know how people can actually have ceremonies where the papers are signed and such at the ceremony itself – I would probably be paralyzed with fear or have a nervous breakdown.
I think that because I’ve been waiting forever (don’t really know if I call myself waiting now since timelines have passed though I’ve been told many, many times not to worry and it will happen) that the waiting anxiety is worsening my marriage phobia. Basically, I’m worried that if I ever get engaged I can’t trust for the marriage part to happen – I will either have to push for the marriage thing to happen, or that my SO will back out at the last minute (I’ve ALWAYS had this fear, it’s not specific to my SO) or something will go wrong. Just thinking about an engagement of a year or something is enough to put me in a panic. I would ideally just like to just elope or get married with the world’s shortest engagement. My SO knows this, and is understanding of it, but says that maybe I will feel better once we are engaged. I don’t know that I will, but was wondering if any bees had dealt with feeling like this before? I’m not engaged so it isn’t an immediate concern, but it might help calm me down some if I knew such a feeling went away or something.
Fyi, I’ve made an appointment with a counselor for these anxiety issues, so I’m going to ask about how to cope with my anxiety in general, but maybe it is worth going to see someone to get over these fears as well?
Post # 3
It’s good you’re getting counseling! I think it will really help. I also think it’s a pretty common fear–I always thought I would feel more secure when we got engaged. Then we did. But then I was afraid he could still walk away! (I had an ex who did) So I saw a counselor. And I fell SO much better!
Post # 4
@BrandNewBride: How many sessions did you go to?
Post # 5
@MariaW: I am very much like you with my thought process. I always worrying about jinxing myself. I would never ever believe something was going to happen until it did. I worried if I talked about it, it wouldn’t happen. I actually still worry about jinxing myself about getting engaged sometimes, but it’s just a random thought that pops into the back of my head sometimes.
I can’t even tell you how much anixety men gave me. I was always tossing and turning at night thinking about things and driving myself crazy worrying. But you know what is weird… all these crazy thoughts I had dissapeared when I met my SO…
It was like all the fears and worrying I did was about things NOT happening. And he always showed me that when he said he would do something, he would. He proved to me that when he said he would call, he would. And when he said we would do something, we did. He never once said something and didn’t do it. He just made me feel calm and at peace. I could actually sleep!! (Until this whole waiting thing haha)
Almost 2 years ago, I did have this mini melt down b/c of stress and anixety because of work and and life and decided to go see someone. I’m honestly not sure if I can attribute my new feelings in life to my therapist or my SO. Talking to someone does take this huge weight off my shoulders though. But for me, talking makes me feel better. Just talking things out always makes me feel good.
Of course this whole waiting thing still drives me crazy, but less crazy than it would if I didn’t have some ways to cope. I don’t know if I made any sense ( I usually don’t) but I just want you to know, you aren’t alone. I have been one of those constant “What If” people. I am a worry wart and well I’m terrible. BUT I can tell you, my fears and anxiety have dramatically lessened. These feelings can and do go away. I always thought I would be ridden with anxiety about silly things that nobody else could understand, but I don’t feel like that anymore. I think talking to someone would help you, it can’t hurt. And at the very least, I look at it as a way to vent to an impartial party haha. *HUGS*
Post # 6
@EmilyJoy: Thank you! You give me hope! I don’t worry about the same things with my SO as I ever did with other guys – it’s just the getting engaged/married stuff and nothing else. I don’t worry about if he will call, get things done (though he does do things in his own time – I just do things like way in advance and he does them last minute, though it’s true he always does them), or if he loves me, etc.
I think part of it is also that we’ve had timelines he set (though I asked for them) that were missed w/r/t getting engaged (partly my fault in retrospect) and so now I don’t really know whether I can trust the getting married by x date bit if we ever get engaged. But that is it – with everything else he has never said something would happen and it didn’t. I think the missing timelines just worsens a fear I already had.
You mention jinxing yourself – I am soooo the same way! And I worry about things way ahead of time too when there is no point in worrying – do you do the same? Like now, worrying about getting married before I am even engaged! Sometimes I feel like I can’t be happy with life because I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and this is something that only started several years ago after I had month after month filled with news of family members and friends being diagnosed with major illness/being hospitalized/passing away.
Sorry for the novel – clearly I am using the bee as my temporary counseling service, haha!
P.S. How old are you? You are quite wise! Also, how many sessions did you go to? And did you try any specific kind of therapy? One of the bees mentioned ACT or CBT or something so I was curious if you tried any of these.
Post # 7
@MariaW: You really sound like me!! I am a forever planner and my guy is not… To me, it sounds perfectly logical that if you had timelines and missed them, you would be unable to trust other timelines. Everyone else might say that is an irrational fear, but to me it isn’t. If something happens once, I worry it will happen again and again… So I completely understand your thought pattern!
YES! I worry about everything way before it happens. My mom always tells me to stop it and you can’t worry about something that hasn’t happened… Of course, I don’t believe that haha. But I too am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It took me a while to even believe that my SO was the amazing man that he was b/c I was waiting for the other shoe to drop… I feel that when you have serious illnesses and death affecting you, your thought pattern changes. How could it not?
It’s so easy for people to say “Well stop thinking like that” but you can’t, you just can’t turn it off. It’s one thing for my mom to say “Oh stop, it will be fine” it was another thing to hear my therapist speak rationally to me about it.
Haha you wrote far from a novel!!! I find myself writing a lot myself. Haha well thank you, sometimes I am! I’m 29, I’ve been going to sessions for about hmm 20 months? I used to go weekly for about 6 months. Now I go about once a month. Just when I think I should stop going, I go and it just feels so good to talk it all out. I’m not familiar with ACT or CBT. The woman I go to is just a plain old Psychologist and is wonderful. I knew that was the kind of treatment that would work for me, but it all depends on your ultimate goal and what you are comfortable with.
Post # 8
I love when bees use this site as a counseling service, because then I actually feel purposeful in chiming in lol
There’s really no such thing as a plain old psychologist. Every psychologist has a different orientation, just some are eclectic (meaning they pick and choose different techniques to use) and others are integrative (combine different treatments based on their efficacy together).
ACT is an acceptance-baced model. It stands for acceptance and commitment therapy. It teaches you about values and finding a direction in life and following it, while accepting your current circumstances.
CBT is cognitive behavior therapy, and what I am currently being taught. The basic model is that your thoughts influence how you feel, and your feelings/emotions influence your behavior and how you act. (Thoughts -> emotions -> behavior) What you would learn from a CBT therapist is to recognize different thoughts in different situations and how to hold a different perspective. The more you pay attention to your thoughts, look at whether the thoughts make sense, are probable, worst case scenario, etc., the easier that process becomes. The premise being that by recognizing your thoughts in the process, you can better control the outcome and how you respond in different situations.
Now a few words about anxiety:
Fear = a response you have to an actual threat. Ex. A tiger right in front of you.
Panic = a response you have to a perceived threat. Ex. A tiger on TV or in a cage at the zoo.
Anxiety = future-oriented panic. Worrying about something you think might happen in the future (aka “what if?”). Ex. A tiger at the zoo you are going to next weekend; what if the tiger gets loose?
None of this is really directly in response to your question, but sometimes a little knowledge can go a long way. Hope this helps =]
Let me know if you have any questions about the above or related topics.
Post # 9
I am engaged and will be married soon – and I still don’t think it’s “real.” Invitations have been sent out. Dress has been bought. Photographer has been hired. Caterer book. Churh paid for. Everything. and my FI keeps telling me how happy he is that we are getting married.
Nonetheless, like you, I keep expecting the other shoe to drop/lightning to stike/something bad to happen.
what do I do about it? Nothing. I just keep putting one foot in front of theother and trusting that it will all work out. I do not “feed” my fears otherwise they will grow. They are not real. FEAR is False Expectations Appearing Real.
Try to replace fear with trust.
Post # 10
@MariaW: Once a week for about three months, then every other week for another three months!
Post # 11
Thank you so much for the responses! I’ve never really talked to anyone about this as much as I have on here. It sounds like the once-a-week thing is how most people start out, so I am going to see if I can do that. I hope it isn’t too expensive.
@Kat_Kit2000: I am so an expert in getting myself worked up into a state just based on my thoughts so CBT would be great for me. I know that keeping myself busy works well because it prevents me from thinking in circles and intensifying how I feel, but I can only be so busy and work out so much and do so many things without sacrificing progress in schoolwork.
@EmilyJoy: It is sooooo hard to stop thinking about something. I honestly worry about things several years ahead of me that I have absolutely no control over. And most of it isn’t even rational worries – things like omg what if my husband cheats on me (when I was single this was a big worry), what if I don’t have money someday (when I had a job and paycheck this was also a worry), etc. It seems silly typing it out now but at the time these are genuine concerns!
@bunny8: How do you trust? Between my anxiety and the whole missed timelines thing it is hard. I’ve talked to my SO about it and he tells me he understands and we will figure things out and he loves me and not to worry but it is easier said than done. Also I think cultural stuff makes it difficult. In China (where I’m from) there are many beliefs about what influences certain things, what things mean, etc. – Asian culture sometimes makes it really hard to be in the moment.
Thank you again!
Post # 12
@MariaW: My trust stems from my belief in God. I trust God to care for me no matter way.
Post # 13
I’m not religious, so for me rather than trust in God, or trust in SO, it’s just trust in the process. That’s something I’ve learned in grad school too. I’m on my way to becoming a psychologist and sometimes it sounds like what they teach us couldn’t possibly work (because it sounds so simple in theory). But my teachers encourage me to just trust in the process. You’re not the first or last person in this position, so trust that it will all work out like it has for so many others.
What I forgot to say in my other post is that it sounds like you have doubts in yourself, and like you don’t think you’re good enough or worthy of marriage and of things working out your way. That’s something that might come up in counseling as well.
The more you try to suppress your thoughts the more they will preoccupy you. The best solution is to play them out. It’s like if I tell you not to think about cake. Whatever you do just don’t think about chocalety goodness or icing or the sweet taste in your mouth. (lol it’s funny, but true. Don’t you want cake now?) Same with all other thoughts. If you keep telling yourself to put them out of your mind you’ll be focusing on them more. Whereas if you let yourself think it through you’ll get bored of it/forget and move on to a different topic.
Another strategy that might help you is mindfulness. Think of thoughts as leaves on a stream (very common anology in the biz lol). You have a thought, and you just let it float away. Thoughts are just thoughts. They’re not facts. They’re possibilities. They may or may not happen. Don’t judge yourself for having “good” or “bad” thoughts. Just observe them and let them pass.
Post # 14
@MariaW: dont feel bad! i haven’t been waiting long and im anxious about that stuff too. I think women like us who are used to having control or at least feeling like if we work hard we can make things happen have a problem letting go completely.
At least your chill about it. I dont have your patience or understanding so i know it’ll work out for you. Or i hope at least.
Post # 15
@Kat_Kit2000: I know you are right, but I also focus on those with broken engagements and such – probably the minority but I tend to focus on the worst possible outcomes. I think you are also right about the not feeling good enough part of things – I have used those very same words so many times, and it hasn’t been helpful in any way.
Your idea of thinking it through is quite helpful, but I tend to go in circles again and again and obsess on the same things. I think I am going to try and remember that thoughts are possibilities and not facts (maybe that can be my mantra). Thank you so much – I really appreciate all your suggestions, and just having these to turn to is helping calm me down. I’m going to see if I can read up on mindfulness. You are so going to be the best psychologist ever!
@subtlebee: I am so the furthest thing away from chill about it, but I’m trying to accept that I cannot control everything. With regard to being the ready one in the relationship and my SO not being ready, well, it is difficult but in my rational moments I see it as a good sign that he doesn’t just go along with it, that he is really trying to make sure he is ready, and that I do honestly feel that he is more ready now than a few months ago. When he is ready, I hope his taking this long to get there means that we have a better chance at a strong marriage. If he is never ready, well, then I don’t quite know what to do, but I guess I need to have trust (as PP said) and in my case I try to have trust enough to fully and completely know that I should walk away then.
Post # 16
@MariaW: i think that is what it means. my SO took longer than i’d like to be ready to be engaged even though he knew early on i was the one he wanted to marry. Now even my crazy witing anxiety can’t shake him. I’m the one always voicing doubts due to his early hesitance and he’s always reassuring. When your SO comes around nothing will shake his resolve!