Four Tools To Create Trust and Reduce Anxiety In Your Relationship

Letter from a Student About Trust and Anxiety:

“Ever since I met my husband, I experienced a deep attraction, awe (sometimes) at what an amazing man he was, and an appreciation for his qualities that touched my heart.

We married, and my anxiety went through the roof. And the anxiety made me ruminate if I was with the right person, and about our future together.

After 4 years marriage and lots of inner work, I am not at that level of anxiety at all, but it continues to circle back sometimes.

I notice that some level of defensiveness or uneasiness has always been in me, keeping me at a distance, not giving myself fully openly to him.

I hear in my own mind my projections— “if he was more this or that”. Such doubt makes it hard to appreciate wholeheartedly all his goodness.

Then in a moment of consciousness, I understand that I have to heal my own fear. I wish I could feel more love, aliveness and soul connection in my relationship.

How can I cultivate openness? How can I break the cycle?” (Signed)

My Response

Congratulations. Some healing has taken place for you, since your anxiety is reduced. Usually such growth means that you feel more trusting.

Trust is not a steady state in any relationship. It can come and go throughout the day, month or year. There are specific techniques and beliefs which can increase trust.

Most people project their own fears onto their partners, and try to fix or change them, in the hopes that their anxiety will diminish. This plan doesn’t work. (Accusing blaming suggesting attacking advising are common methods of controlling the partner.)

You are lucky in that experience the anxiety in yourself, in your own body. The fear resided there well before you met your current partner. It usually comes from childhood relationship with parents or siblings.

I can attest that fear will arise in a long relationship like mine; the key to healing the fear (usually of being overwhelmed or abandoned) is to be aware of it, and to work with it in a different way.

How can you do this?

  1. State clear Intentions to each other. “I’m willing to create a safe, loving relationship with you.” If you say this out loud to your partner, you will create a new habit of openness and vulnerability.
  2. Dedicate scheduled time to the relationship. Such discipline keeps the relationship in present time and reduces the backlog of resentments and unspoken injuries.
  3. Practice authentic speech. Most of us need a course in honest self-disclosure, and this honesty takes practice and courage.
  4. Learn how to acknowledge unconscious outbursts — normally these are in the form of Attacking-Defending or Pursuing-Withdrawing. Our ego always wants to make the partner wrong.