The Controlling Trait of Anxiety

Welcome to our Wednesday series for anxious people who have an oversensitive alarm system, whose “danger scanner” is always on, and who need a little bit of self-care and positive emotional energy by mid-week (when the tanks are starting to approach depletion). Calm nature pictures are a great way to “nurture” our insecure selves and help us stay grounded and in the moment. The need to control is a major trait of an anxious personality. It’s often a need to control your own actions, that moves on to the surrounding environment, and to the lives of the people we care about. This is all in an effort to prevent bad things from happening to us and to the people we love.  Years of conditioning of how to survive and protect ourselves have created these patterns in our brains of how to scan the environment for worst case scenarios, to predict outcomes, and to avoid the ones with a higher risk of getting hurt (emotionally or physically).  Most of us want to avoid pain, but we don’t automatically think of the 10 worst accidents that could happen when we go on vacation. Anxious people do. I know this very well because I grew up with anxious caregivers that trained me very well at always looking out for unsafe situations. If I didn’t find this job to be really boring, I would have really excelled at being a risk manager at an insurance company, because you can give me the shiniest situation, and I can come up with 5 things that could go wrong in a matter of minutes. I don’t even have to try hard, they just roll off my tongue. The problem is that it’s hard to find joy in life when you are constantly on the lookout for crap to happen. It’s a tense life, it’s exhausting, it’s bleak,  and avoidance sets in more and more. The next thing you know you’ll be restricting all fun activities for yourself and your loved ones. Is this you? Do you know someone like that? It’s hard to see that the anxiety is the culprit behind this highly annoying trait that’s so restricting for so many of us. Therapy can truly help break some of these patterns. It can provide, validation, a lack of judgment at our irrational fears, support when exploring new activities, someone to laugh with at our catastrophic thinking, and more importantly new ways to interpret things happening in our lives. These are all effective ways to help undo some of these unproductive personality traits. If you want a deeper dive into Anxiety and Stress management, without committing to therapy just yet, I want to invite you to my 2-hour course, “The Overthinker's Guide To Managing Anxiety”. If you are not ready to invest time and money on individual therapy, if you are not quite ready to try out medication, but you are ready for a change, then this is a course meant for you! ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, and stress and anxiety management. She is the author of My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution For a Happier MarriageSign up to her free Wellness Library HERE for more resources on effective communication, emotional unavailability, intimacy, and anxiety management or visit for monthly blogs posts.