How Anxiety Affects Your Relationships with Others

In this article, discover how anxiety affects relationships.
How Anxiety Affects Your Relationships with Others

Last update: 02 June, 2019

Anxiety affects you in certain settings and can make you feel uneasy, even if there’s nothing to feel anxious about. Social anxiety is when you feel scared of talking to others.

Anxiety isn’t the same as being shy, although people might think you are. It’s not a mood. It’s being conditioned by your past experiences due to the fact that you haven’t overcome them.

If you’re talking with someone new and you start feeling anxious about it, it’s going to be very difficult to connect with others. Anxiety affects your chances of having a good relationship.

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he’ll strangle you with his panic.”

-Anais Nin-

A woman suspecting that her boyfriend is engaging in online infidelity.

The Consequences of Attachment and Anxiety

Attachment is how you first connect to someone. Even as a baby, you start looking for a connection, a maternal figure at first, to protect you and at the same time to help you understand the world.

Attachment is very important in early childhood and it’s essential in your development as a person. There’s a relationship between attachment and mental health. An available mother, who’s sensitive to her child’s needs, is a guarantee of good mental health.

Anxiety affects you early on during this stage due to the fear of separation. You feel anxious when you’re separated from your protective figures.

Anxiety affects your mental stability and makes you suspect your environment because you won’t have someone to protect you all the time.

A mother talking to her angry child, to regain control as a parent.

Childhood and Teenage Years

During childhood and teenage years, your physical and mental health reach their peaks. It’s here when you start developing relationships.

Between the ages of three and six, play dates are your world. You consider everyone who plays with you a friend. You first learn about rules from games. During this stage, you start realizing who’s in your social circle.

Once you reach the age of 11, you start to understand that you’re part of a culture with its own social rules. Sometimes you learn this through love and comprehension, and other times through sternness and meanness. This can trigger anxiety and you’ll start thinking you should censor yourself and start becoming too afraid to act.

Your teenage years will define you. You need to find a balance between who you are at home, who you are at school, and who you are among your friends. You need to find your own identity.

Patients with dementia.

How Anxiety Affects Relationships

During adolescence, you might find it difficult for you to connect with others. One of the reasons for this might be the anxiety you’ve experienced before, especially in those moments of rejection. That’s also known as social anxiety and it affects how you relate to others.

This can make you think you’ll be rejected even without making contact first. You start to behave like a reject. When you do get involved with someone, your anxiety will make you act submissive or dependent.

Anxiety can also keep you from going out and meeting new people. It’s the perfect excuse to not engage with others.

Something as simple as a conversation with someone else becomes a difficult task. You can feel the anxiety effects when you start putting obstacles in your relationships. This can seriously damage your mental health.

Even after all you’ve been through, you need to start unlearning what you know so far. Take a look at your past, move on, and start rebuilding your life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Chorot, P. (1991). Teoría de la incubación de la ansiedad: evidencia empírica. Revista de psicología general y aplicada: Revista de la Federación Española de Asociaciones de Psicología, 44(4), 435-445.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.