There are some tips for a meaningful and happy marriage or intimate relationship:
Don’t hesitate to seek the help of a Professional Marriage Counsellor when you get stuck.
Emotional abuse is a regular pattern of threat, constant criticism, and manipulation to control and suppress the other person. It doesn’t always lead to physical abuse but equally harmful as Physical Abuse. It is extremely damaging to your self-esteem and confidence. Any relationship can be emotionally abusive like parent-child, siblings, friendship, intimate relationship (boyfriend-girlfriend) and husband-wife relationship. The most common emotionally abusive relationship is of husband and wife.
Sometimes for years, victim person doesn’t see ill-treatment as abuse. Victim person lives in denial to deal with stress and this cause individual further severe Emotional Trauma, Depression, Anxiety and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Abusive People have their own set of insecurities n they don’t know how to have positive healthy relationships. They mostly feel hurt, anger and powerless. Most abusers are suffering from different personality disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Antisocial Personality Disorder and so on. If you face few of following behaviours, you need professional help and it’s a possibility of an emotionally abusive relationship:
If you are facing such issues, first thing is verbal abuse is a choice and you have to accept that it’s happening with you. You have to identify the patterns of controlling behaviour abuser use and accept the responsibility of your behaviour and start taking steps how to overcome it and finally approach us for professional help.
1. Listen To Your Partner
All communication requires two basic necessities-a speaking voice and listening ear. Relationships are superficial if we do not listen carefully. Most of us practice selective listening, switching off and on as it suits us. Listening is an art that we all can learn.
It involves both hearing and paying attention. It is a window into your spouse’s world. It is an opportunity for you to realize that your spouse’s concerns are important to you.
Best way to improve your relationship i.e. you should not only listen to your spouse carefully but should also hear the full story before reacting. Your vocabulary should be full of positive words for yourself as well as for your partner. While listening, you should keep continuous eye contact to encourage better communication. You should not try to interrupt your partner midway. Psychologists say that verbal or nonverbal acknowledgment also assures that you have listened carefully. If possible you should summarize or restate whatever you have heard to ensure that you have not misunderstood whatever partner communicated.
2. Appreciate Your Partner
All of us yearn to receive compliments which assure that we are loved and appreciated. Nowadays, couple peruses careers and live hectic professional lives, So it’s very important for them to take a time-out to talk, share and express feelings to each other. They should learn to share and appreciate each other’s taste.
Insults and caustic comments will never change anyone for the better; they will only aggravate the situation. Neither, you should criticize your partner nor you should compare your partner with another person. You can learn from Couple Counsellors how to express your appreciation in style through a little sympathy, understanding, kindness and a flair for right words. There are so many ways to persuade and influence your partner in a positive sense.
Your compliments not only make your partner happy but also build up the self-esteem of your partner. If your spouse has a special talent or gift, you should encourage your partner to pursue his or her interests. You should appreciate your partner’s skills and share what is important to him or her. This way, you meaningfully participate in your partner’s interest. This sense of understanding and appreciation should grow with time to nourish and strengthen the bond between them.
3. Understand Your Partner
Understanding human nature is indeed a complex and challenging art. Each human being is unique- a profound and mysterious being. Understanding is most precious quality a person possesses. It requires kindness, empathy, tolerance, patience and a healthy respect for other’s interest. The best way to understand is to be understanding i.e. to observe something from the bottom to top. Unfortunately, we are losing the ability to understand others. We rush into snap judgments. We develop strong opinions on everything and everyone even when we really don’t know about them.
To make the relationship stronger, you should learn to be emphatic. Empathy means nothing but understanding other person’s point of view. It is an excellent technique for strengthening relationships. It should be based on mutual respect. To be empathetic, you have to step out of your rigid, inflexible perspectives and see the world from another person’s viewpoint.
Relationship Counsellors emphasized the role of Tolerance in life as it is another virtue to make the relationship successful. Tolerance is nothing but a sincere effort to understand, appreciate and respect your partner’s beliefs and habits. This doesn’t mean you simply accept the other’s point of view. It only means you make an effort to understand it. As you make the effort to understand your partner; you grow in the understanding of yourself and events of life. This way you acquire wisdom and patience and learn to avoid misunderstandings.
4. Forgive Your Partner
No human being is perfect on this earth. Therefore no relationship is perfect either. Misunderstandings accidents and quarrels are inevitably occurring in any relationship. Some of us forgive easily but cannot forget. Forgiveness is the characteristic trait of selfless and unconditional love. It should not be based on logic, methodology, justice and must be spontaneous. It is simple and straightforward; you accept your partner’s shortcomings still continue to love.
You need to erase the bitter memories of the past to create a happy future. You require an honest apology, a generous acknowledgment, and loving forgiveness to wipe out the bitterness and anger. It’s not only extended to your spouse but it requires a healing process inside you so that you do not feel any bitterness or resentment about what happens. It’s always a good thing to communicate your expectations and disappointments. Speaking out is far better than brooding on such matters. During Counselling sessions, Couple Counsellors expect and aid to confess your dissatisfaction n look at each other’s failings or shortcomings as opportunities for strengthening the bond.
5. Don’t Expect Perfectionism
No man and woman are ever perfect. Frailties and imperfections abound in each of us. We succumb to anger, falsehood, and prejudice and hate so easily and so often. An important part of the relationship is to understand and make allowances for the failings of your partner.
Relationship Counsellors mostly advice that expects your spouse for what he or she is, not for what he or she would be, could be or should be. It’s good for you to go with a clear-eyed realization that life has its limitations and relationship has their store of problems. You suffer from painful disillusion when you find the reality of life is not matching with your fantasy. You face disappointment and frustration and feel cheated when you expect too much from your relationship in the first place. When you adopt the best realistic and compassionate approach to your partner and life, you grow in understanding and maturity and your relationship become rewarding.
6. Avoid The Serious Fight
Every love relationship has its share of misunderstandings and differences but the wise person learns from it. Constant quarreling can damage any relationship but if the disagreement is constructive and handled in the right way it can actually strengthen the relationship. There is no need for a couple to conform to each other, think alike or have similar perspectives. Rather these differences must be cherished and accepted as opportunities to learn more and more about your partner and in the process reach a better understanding of yourself.
You should be sensitive to the moods of your partner. This will help you to understand, when to be gentle and when to be tough. If your partner is in a mood to quarrel, you should be patient. Both should never lose the temper at the same time. When you disagree or agree to differ as the euphemism goes, you are expressing your individuality and independence.
It has been observed by Marriage Counsellors that when a quarrel arises, both just speak in anger and respond with more anger. If you wish the bad mood to end quickly then both of you must learn to control yourself. When you exercise self-control, you are cutting off fuel to the fire, which is sure to die quickly. In emotionally charged crises, you should not reply back or counter punch.
So, every effort you make to resolve the conflict or disagreement works ultimately to make the relationship stronger and more secure.
7. Develop a Sense of Humor
The world seems to have grown very serious nowadays. We tend to look at life solemnly we have begun to equate maturity with seriousness. We believe that wisdom cannot be accompanied by laughter. True life is serious business and requires our deliberate consideration and thoughtful purpose but a little fun and laughter now and does plenty of good for everyone. Humour is an all-round tonic. It promotes your physical mental and emotional wellbeing. Love also grows strong and healthy when it is nourished a healthy sense of humor.
The happiness thrives on fun laughter and play and these all are therapeutic. Laughter diffuses stress and tension. It promotes relationships and improves communications. It forms the bonding between you and your partner. Couple must learn to laugh and make each other laugh and should not get trapped in daily chores, rituals, and work. A little can change the day. Psychologists believe that when things get you down, do not explode in anger and stress instead find a reason to laugh and you will see that anger and stress simply melt away.
8. Learn to Resolve Conflicts
Every relationship contains conflicts and disagreements. A conflict exists in a relationship when the action of partners prevents or interferes with your action. Some individual grew up in a family where there are constant fights and quarrels. Underneath these, family members really loved each other but the problem is that each member only knew how to express anger and not to express love. So it is essential in such cases to learn how to express love constructively where other person grew up in a family thinking that anger was meant to be suppressed as it had never been expressed in their family so each person should learn to express anger in a constructive way. They should be quick to soothe and heal the wounds and rebuild their sense of understanding and commitment to keeping the communication open.
It’s a general feeling in our society that conflicts are bad or should be avoided but the reality is conflicted are negative and positive in nature too. If you avoid conflicts and not resolve them then sooner or later serious difficulties arise. If in a relationship your disagreement, differences, and expectations are not expressed openly then you or your partner may start behaving in a negative way and the situation becomes tense day by day unless the opportunity is given to resolve it openly. In a positive sense, conflicts encourage change. There are the times when old habit patterns and attitude need to modify. It makes you aware of the problem within a relationship that needs to be resolved. Conflict helps in decision making too. It helps us to understand whether we are liked as an individual, what makes us angry, what scares us and what is valuable to us.
The couple may have different ways of resolving the conflict. The couple can resolve conflicts in the following ways–FIGHT, FLIGHT, and FREEZE. You have your own style and strategy which you usually apply in conflict situations. Family Counsellors says, while using these techniques, you should keep in mind how important your partner is and how important your goals, expectations, and needs are. You should not hesitate to discuss your heart out without fear.
9. Keep Your Love Fresh
After relationship couple takes each other for granted. It’s good to develop a healthy sense of dependence on each other. You must learn to be flexible. Each partner should have a will to change and give in just a little for the sake of the relationship. The couple should spare more time to be in each other’s company. The couple should loosen their schedules and deadlines so that their relationship doesn’t suffer. The couple should work to keep their love fresh.
As per the Marriage Counsellors, a person should take the trouble to study your partner. Understand your partner’s likes and dislikes. Appreciate your partner’s strengths and weaknesses. You should be sensitive to your partner’s moods and feelings. You must know what pleases and what upsets your partner. You must know when to encourage and when to discourage your partner. In other words, do not take your partner granted.
10. Spend Time Together
In the modern world due to our hectic schedules, nobody has a quantity of time. Giving your time to someone means you really care about that person. When you are spending your time with your partner, it means you are investing an important part of your life which cannot be taken back. That time should be distraction free where both of you can engage in meaningful talk and leisure activities. This can foster a great sense of togetherness so both of you should spend some quality time together every day.
By spending time together, you indicate the importance of your partner in your life which further restores peace, balance, and harmony in your relationship. Make sure whatever time you spend with your partner that should be relaxing and help you to unwind. According to the Marriage Counsellors, you should avoid talking about daily chores, finances, and any contentious issues. Other people should not be part of your discussions and your focus should be on each other. You can either go for a vacation or join some hobby classes together. The time that you spend with your partner will help you to know and understand your partner on the deeper level.
To deal with increasing generation gap problem, it is important to ensure that parents adopt the most effective parenting technique. In 21 century both the parents are working and thus finding a balance between work-life gets difficult. As a result, many parents today complain that their child has behavioural issues; neither listens nor obeys and finds it difficult to handle the child.
In today’s scenario, it is very important for parents to ensure that a friendly relationship is established between them. Since globalization and western culture getting in, there is greater exposure for children. Many times we see that due to the communication gap between the parent and child, the child tends to find ways to fill that void which can many times turn that the child suffers from the behavioural problem and doesn’t obey you. The simple reason is that the child doesn’t connect with you and feels lost. Each and every family is different and the style was undertaken by the parent varies across cultures and situations.
There are 4 major parenting styles.
These styles differ from each other on the 3 levels which are Autonomy, Acceptance and Behavior. Moving on to which one is the most widely accepted? Authoritative is the most common and accepted parenting styles which offer a better relationship between parent and children. Research suggests that the most competent children are actually brought up by authoritative parents. Parenting style has been found to predict child well-being in a number of areas, including social skills, academic performance, and the degree of problem behaviour. The Authoritarian, Permissive, and Un-involved styles can carry a high cost.
While parenting two important aspects come into play. First one is the style undertaken by the parents and the other one is what the parents actually communicate. While parenting the sole purpose is the well-being of the child. By focusing on 5 elements the parent can help the child become positive and to ensure that they grow up with enough confidence to believe in themselves.
Emotions tend to affect each one of us in a variety of different ways. Research shows that children with high EQ tend to perform better and are more likely to succeed as compared to people with high IQ. Keeping aside the individual differences, parents should be understanding and try to emotionally connect with the child. It is also believed that children who have authoritative parents tend to be emotionally more adjusted along with the habit of positive reinforcement. It is very essential for parents to spend quality time with children rather than quantity of time.
It is the responsibility of the parent to take care of the needs of the child that will help them grow physically and ensure that they will turn out to be physically strong. Feeding right amount balance diet and ensuring sleeping on time and regular exercise regime is essential.
The parent should focus on the intellectual stimulation of the child and take small steps from their side. The basic example can be inculcating the habit of reading in the child, engage in puzzle activities, getting a child involved in some sport. The parent should ensure to be an equal part of the play date with the child.
It is important to understand the effect of friends on the child. As the child grows the friends become the most important part of his or her life. It is essential to realize how the child will be influenced by them in long run. The parent should maintain friendly relationships with the child’s friend as they are the ones who will help and will come to his rescue.
In order to ensure that the child leads a peaceful and happy life, it is essential to help the child to learn the ways to meditate and deDr. Nisha Khanna as a Family Counsellor proffers online, telephonically and face to face Counselling Services. If you are living in Delhi, India or any other part of World, you can approach us through any of these mediums. For further details visit Bye Tense, or call us at +91-9312730331velop strategies which will help to deal with tough times. With Hinduism as the most prominent form of religion in the Indian culture, many Indian families impart the importance of prayer and worship to their children. There is a strong emphasis on respect for elders in the Indian culture. Children typically grow up with their grandparents in the same household. Parents are more likely to induce these values when they themselves believe in it. Each family tends to have a different set of rituals and beliefs, thus helping a child to grow into a morally strong person can be the biggest achievement.
Parents should be the child’s best friends and should make all the efforts to do the same. Children tend to pick up every small and big habit of their parents, thus it is important for parents to take out time for their children from the busy schedule and focus on they can bring up a child who is will full of happiness and courage.
Life is a school and experience is our greatest teacher. In our lifetime, we enter into various relationships and each one teaches us vital truths for our own spiritual evolution. Relationship/Marriage teaches us mutual respect, mutual love, understanding, tolerance, and a sense of responsibility. As per our scriptures, men and women are undoubtedly different physically, emotionally and temperamentally and both are incomplete without each other. Each needs the other and each has to learn much from others. Men have strength, determination, energy, vigor, and guts where women have great sensitivity, spiritual aspirations, and the spirit of sympathy and sacrifice. Men rely on their intellect mostly and women have intuition. Rudyard Kipling said, “A Woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.”
Relationship/Marriage is the commitment for the lifetime. It is a sacred union, permanent lifelong relationship and is indissoluble. Anybody can laugh together, but a loving couple can cry together. In relationship or marriage, being the right person is far more important than finding the right person. A person must study the temperament of the individual and see how far your temperament will be in harmony with each other. When you are emotionally involved then it’s very difficult to judge the character of the person you love. So, a person should not to be misled by appearances and misjudge the character of the person you are going to marry.
A “love affair” based on mutual passion or physical attraction only promotes selfish pleasures but relationship/marriage is more than a love affair. When the pleasure wears thin, cracks begin to appear and the couple begins to fall apart. These days couples can be classified as a relationship (live in)/ marriage strangers. They share the same house, same room, and same car and yet may actually drift away from each other with a passage of time.
There is no such thing called trouble-free relationship/marriage. Life brings its share of ups and downs, crises, problems and challenges to each one of us. The successful relationship/ marriage not only survive but flourishes through love and commitment. Perfection in relationship/marriage is created through conscious and deliberate effort. It also requires understanding, patience, and forgiveness. Both should make few compromises, sacrifices to nourish the marriage. Both should remain loyal, truthful to each other. Emotionalincompatibilities are only misunderstandings and mistakes which can easily be set right if the couple together has the will to do so. So, called “Incompatibilities” & “misunderstandings” have to be resolved through constant effort, understanding and reconciliation by a constant process of loving, forgiving, caring n sharing.
Human relationships flounder when mutual respect is lacking. Relationship/ Marriage fail when companionship and understanding are absent in the partner, so we should give one another the freedom to be express ourselves and assert our unique identity. When there are a complete understanding, respect and affection, all relationships/marriages will become love relationships/marriages and in the true sense of the word.
In a happy relationship/marriage, a couple must bring out the best in each other to make each other as happy as possible. The couple should, therefore help each other grow, evolve and unfold their highest potential. Man and Woman are equal partners and a couple should learn to respect one another and recognize the other’s right. A person must understand the difference between humility and humiliation, between loving submission and abject surrender. A person should make few sacrifices and compromises if necessary to nourish the relationship/marriage.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is such a disorder of personality that causes mood swings, self-esteem issues, impulsive behavior and recurrent self-harm behaviour. It is very difficult to lead a normal life with these varied psychological issues.
People suffering from BPD fear abandonment and loneliness. Yet, they have a tendency of showing mood swings, sudden emotional outburst or anger and hostility. This prevents them from having a long lasting relationship in life. It usually starts affecting the patient's life from early adulthood. It however seems to improve with age. The patient also has distorted self-image. He or she is unclear about what they want from life or what they are in reality. Even minor incidents can trigger intense reactions in people with BPD.
Symptoms of BPD
Causes for BPD
Diagnosis for BPD
There is no particular clinical test that can diagnose BPD. It can be diagnosed by a series of interactive session with the patient by a psychiatrist.
Love and support from family and friends are crucial for patients suffering from this disease. Prolonged counseling sessions, therapies and the effort to break away from the chronic gloomy thoughts will definitely lead one to a better life.
Losing spark is a constant complaint from couples who have been together for a long time. Many couples feel that the enthusiasm with which they started their relationship soon tends to fade away. It is generally believed that the honeymoon phase tends to lose its charm and the spark that once used to brighten the relationship seems to be missing. One of the reasons why this occurs is mainly due to the fact how they have to come back to normal life. Other reason could be the level of motivation, as the couple spends more time together; the effort that they invested earlier also reduces significantly. It is seen that during the first 6 months of the relationship, the partner tends to be at their best behaviour.
Honestly, with time the faith in the relationship goes for a toss, the trust level depreciates and people start to take each other for granted. They stop sharing about their daily routine and with time the connection that brings them closer get weaker. It is essential that you share every important detail with each other. Ensure that your partner still continues to be your go-to person.
Being a couple doesn’t mean that you can’t have your own space and can’t do things on your own. Space can actually add the spark and brighten your relationship for the best. When a partner takes his time to do things ranging from watching television alone or going for a trip with friends, it rejuvenates the person as a whole. Healthy separateness and healthy closeness can surely make your relationship stronger and add value.
3. Going for Downhill
As the years pass by the couple feels that they have lost interest and feels that the relationship is actually going downhill. The disagreement and fights are also on the increasing end. It is essential on the part of the couple to maintain that passion and intensity. This problem basically occurs because in the starting we put our new relationship at the top of our priority and with time it becomes part of our life. We nurture it. We make time and efforts for the same but with time we start to take each other for granted.
4. Loss of Physical Attraction
In the starting of the relationship we view our partners as independent and attractive individuals they are, we can keep a fresh level of excitement and affection for them. But with time the person, loses interest in taking care of their looks and start to overlook their goals that once were a priority.
Many times when we form a bond together we tend to see the other person as an extension of ourselves and we lose the chemistry tied the couple to another. When we view our partners as the independent and smart individuals they are, we can keep a fresh level of excitement and affection for them.
5. Quality Time
Every relationship requires the couple to spend time together. The amount of time, spent together tends to reduce as the relationship gets old. 2-hour late night talk gets reduced to an hour then 30 minutes. Partners make various excuses about their time and prefer to spend alone as compared to doing things together. Finding ways to spend time together such as going for dinner or movie together can surely add to the relationship.
6. Lack of Sexual Intimacy
Due to a hectic work schedule or the lifestyle, the individual feels exhausted by the end of the day. Especially, in metro cities travelling takes a long time so people feel a lack of energy or feel drained and tend to avoid such intimate interactions. Thus, this factor can surely let your relationship lose its charm. It becomes important to find ways to rekindle the lost spark.
Losing spark tends to occur when the communication goes for a toss. This could be either due to lifestyle or stress. Few of the basic reasons is that some people do not have the habit of sharing and some people don’t listen and while some tend to assume things. In many relationships partners, many times find it difficult to express themselves whiles some are overly assertive. It is essential to listen to each other thoughts and feelings. People these days tend to listen in order to provide an answer rather than to understand. Being empathic can surely, add some spark to marriage.
8. Monotonous Routine
A couple, we tend to know each other’s schedule at the tip of our hands. Having surprise elements can surely help your relationship to get stronger. Even the most basic things such as getting a flower or watching each other’s favourite movie can bring the couple closer. Many times the couple also tends to have merged identity as a result the excitement level reduces. Ensuring individual attributes can surely be helpful.
It is essential to ensure that the spark doesn’t fade away from your relationship. It is usually advisable to seek help from a professional marriage counsellor or relationship expert as and when the problem arises rather than sweeping the problems under the carpet.
Bipolar disorder is a mental disease that is characterized by sudden changes in mood. People suffering from the condition may experience severe episodes called mania and the disorder can even cause depression among patients. Bipolar patients can also have difficulty maintaining relationships in their personal life, due to the unpredictable nature of their moods and behaviour.
Risk factors for bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is associated with a number of risk factors such as the following:
• Genetics - People who have a family history of the condition. Particularly, if an individual’s siblings and parents suffer from the disorder, they face a greater risk.
• Environment - Stressful or traumatic events can lead to bipolar disorders as well. For instance, the death of a loved one may push people off the edge and lead to the mental affliction.
• Brain structure - People with certain brain structures may be at a higher risk from the bipolar disorder
Symptoms of bipolar disorder
Three main symptoms characterize bipolar disorder- mania, hypomania and depression. Each of these symptoms can lead to rapid mood swings in a person suffering from bipolar disorder.
Mania is an episode where the person suffering from the disorder starts to feel extremely high in terms of emotion. They become hyperactive, excited and even euphoric. During such an episode, people are also liable to engage in drug use.
Hypomania is similar to mania but is not as severe. Hypomania only affects people suffering from bipolar II disorder. Even though hypomania may not be noticeable to people around the patient, the person affected may notice an unexpected change in their moods.
Depression is just opposite of what mania is. It manifests a feeling of hopelessness, lethargy, remorse. Suicidal thoughts also accompany most cases of depression. Even though depression can be caused as a separate condition, people affected with bipolar disorder undergo periodic depression and mania, which can be even more difficult to handle.
Treatment for bipolar disorder
Contemporary medicine does not have a cure for bipolar disorder as of now. However, with proper medication and therapy, a patient suffering from the mental illness can manage the symptoms and reduce the mood swings. Aside from medications, such as antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers, patients may be prescribed psychotherapy as well.
Cognitive behavioural therapy and psycho-education are vital parts of the treatment. The former is basically a talk therapy session between the psychologist and the patient, while the latter looks to educate the patient and their families about the bipolar disorder and ways of living with the condition.
Creating a strict routine for daily life activities can also help deal with the disorder and reduce the symptoms.
Depression is not just sadness that requires treatment but sadness becomes severe and often tearful, usually along with poor appetite or overeating, sleep difficulties, low energy, low self-esteem, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions and feelings of hopelessness. Sometimes, due to the early experiences of life, the person starts formulating dysfunctional assumptions (rigid, resistant to change and extreme). The problem arises when these assumptions get activated by critical incidents which further leads to automatic negative thoughts and triggered symptoms of Depression. Counselling Psychologist or Depression Counsellor observed that person may show certain behaviour patterns during the depression:
For treatment, medicine alone will probably never provide the solution to Depression. There are numerous Cognitive and Behavioral Techniques (CBT) have been advocated in the treatment of Depression which focused mainly on changing behaviour on the one hand and changing cognition on the other hand. Counselling Psychologists or Depression counsellors used these Cognitive and Behavioral Techniques (CBT) to modify maladaptive belief systems, attitudes and expectations. The major aims of these Cognitive and Behavioral Techniques (CBT) are to:
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
Researchers think that the following may influence whether you develop an anxiety disorder:
Genetics Anxiety disorders are known to run in families.
Traumatic Events Experiencing a stressful or traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one or childhood abuse, may trigger the condition.
Brain Structure Changes in the areas that regulate stress and anxiety may contribute to the disorder.
"There is a genetic component to anxiety disorders, no doubt," says Suma Chand, PhD, director of the cognitive behavior therapy program in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri.
"This tends to make the individual vulnerable to developing an anxiety disorder, rather than cause them to directly inherit one," she says. Environmental factors, she adds, interact with genetic predispositions to trigger the onset of anxiety disorders. A study published in August 2017 in the journal Emotion may offer clues as to how both genes and environment combine to make anxiety take root.
When researchers from Pennsylvania State University in State College and Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey showed babies pictures of angry, happy, and neutral faces, they found that the infants of anxious mothers took longer to look away from the angry faces, which meant that the infants had a tendency to focus more on potential threat.
Study author Koraly Perez-Edgar, PhD, professor of psychology at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, says that this focus on threat may be one way that anxiety begins to take hold.
"Individuals who attend to aspects of the environment that they consider threatening can potentially create a cycle that strengthens biases toward threat, as well as toward the view that the environment is threatening, which can then lead to social withdrawal and anxiety," she says.
"People can learn to be anxious in various situations," says Jonathan Abramowitz, PhD, professor of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and editor in chief of the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.
"This can occur through experiences in which anxiety or fear becomes associated with a specific stimulus or a stressful or traumatic event, by learning about something fearful, and through vicarious conditioning," he says.
Vicarious conditioning, says Dr. Abramowitz, occurs when you watch someone else experience a stressful and traumatic event — like food poisoning or being bitten by a dog — and come to see certain situations as dangerous.