Below is a flow diagram to visually illustrate the intricate dynamics of how those anxious feelings influence your social interactions. It’s also available to download using the link below the image. This diagram is to provide you an insight into how others may be understanding your behaviours when there is lack of communication and openness and why your relationships may feel challenging at times. The diagram serves as a tool to increase your insights and self-awareness to illuminate where you need to make changes to get the relationships you’d love.

This diagram is not to make you feel guilty or give you anything to feel badly about. Remember that a lot of this behaviour is an attempt to protect yourself due to an unmet need that is creating fear and anxiety, so it’s to hold that compassion for yourself by allowing your loving inner parent and inner wisdom to be with you and support you as you explore your interpersonal processes.

ANXIETY IN RELATIONSHIPS

It’s common to get caught up in overthinking and analysing everything throughout this process. This is very inward looking behaviour and is another form of avoidance for protection. You avoid connection with others cos you’re preoccupied with yourself, or you avoid creating a positive relationship with yourself because you’re preoccupied with tearing yourself down because if you’ve already torn yourself down, it won’t hurt so much when others do it, right?

When you avoid those times for connection and other people hear you saying no and without understanding what’s behind your response, it can lead to misunderstandings because they can’t read your mind so they are left to draw their own conclusions: you’re not interested, or you don’t want to, you don’t like them, you’re unreliable, but that may not be the case at all. So you miss out and maybe they don’t ask again because they want to do the right thing by you, or they feel defeated and let down, they’re hurt too.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

 

Action Step

Now consider the following questions in your journal:

  • What part of this flow diagram resonates the most with you?
  • Reflect on a recent social situation where you felt anxious. How do you believe your anxiety impacted the dynamics of that interaction?
  • Consider the behaviours or verbal cues that you exhibit when feeling anxious. How might these behaviours be perceived by others?
  • Use the negative core belief you clarified in module 7. Rewrite this flow diagram starting with your negative core belief and how each stage is specifically impacted. What do you feel? How do you talk to yourself? What’s the impact of this and how might others feel because of your behaviours?
  • Have you received any feedback from friends, family, or colleagues regarding how your anxiety affects them? If so, what was their experience?
  • Think about times when your anxiety has caused you to withdraw or avoid social situations. How might others have interpreted and understood your withdrawal and/or avoidance?