How do I stop self doubt and overcome anxiety. Also how do I stop thinking the worst case scenario?

I always fear that my boyfriend will break up with me because of my past experiences and trauma with my ex. He doesn’t ever mean to hurt me and reassures me and loves me a lot. How do I stop being fearful that he will break up with me? How do I forget about my past trauma?
Asked by Britt


What you're describing is pretty common--you've been in an unhealthy relationship and now you're feeling insecure in your current one. I don't know what the trauma with your ex was like, but "forgetting" about what happened probably isn't realistic. There are a few things I'd recommend, however:

1. Pay attention to what you are telling yourself about the past and current relationship as well as what messages you've acquired about yourself. Once you identify the beliefs/messages behind your thoughts, you can then challenge and counter those thoughts with healthier thoughts. By changing the way you think, you change the way you feel. It does take work, and what I'm describing is what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seeks to do. 

2. Learn and practice coping skills. Journaling can be one coping skill that allows you to express your anxiety and fear. Deep breathing can help you to lower your anxiety. There are a number of coping skills that can be helpful here.

3. If you experienced physical or sexual trauma in your last relationship, I encourage you to look in to working with a therapist who is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). The goal of EMDR is to reprocess (not forget) traumatic memories in healthier ways. It's extremely effective.

4. It sounds like your current boyfriend is being understanding, and so continue to allow him to help you be assured in the relationship. Continue to talk to him about your feelings.

5. Challenge yourself to spend a little time away from your boyfriend. What I mean is that, if you find that it's distressing any time that you're away from him, challenge yourself to participate in some activities without him. A little time apart can not only help you work on your anxiety, but it can also improve the quality of the relationship and make your time with him even more special.

I do encourage you to reach out for help. The answer to dealing with trauma is not to try to forget it, and the answer to recovering from an unhealthy relationship is not to bury yourself in a new relationship. It can take some time and practice, but you can move forward in your new relationship by addressing what transpired in your last one.

Take care,

Nicholas DeFazio, MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC