Anxiety disorders often go unrecognized, undiagnosed, and untreated until adolescence and early adulthood and sometimes even adulthood. However, signs of anxiety in childhood are apparent as long as they are persistent. I look back on my childhood and I recognize what it's like to have an existential crisis, to have a panic attack, to be shy and then appear bitchy because of it, and to simply live with anxiety. We all inherit our tendency toward anxiety, and anxiety is a chemical inbalance. It has several combinations of cause, but it is all logical to recognize that a child can experience the anxiety disorder. I am one of those kids.
Growing up with anxiety forced a wedge between myself and my gut. I constatnly over-thought any and all things. Imagine living in uncertainty about most things you do. It's devasting when I allow myself fully pick something and trust the decision and to end up hurt. It almost teaches me to be more skeptical. But isn't that not a good way to live? In constant fear? And sure, I could head to the other extreme of skepticism and not give much of anything or anyone a chance.
The real solution to my problem and connect with my gut is to recognize early signs. To recognize patterns. I noticed that rather than living based on my fears, I tend to live regardless of my fears. I think that I can conquer them. I think that I will heal. And I think that I cannot hold others responsible for my pain.
Basically, I taught myself to ignore red flags. I taught myself to talk out red flags and treat every person like a new person. I taught myself to treat every person as if I don't have experience with people like them. People who have hurt me before. And why? Because of some minor details. I try to squish my anxiety about my fear of getting hurt with optimism. Of course, it's good to not hold others accountable for the actions of others. It's important to not treat your current partner based on their actions and not based on your ex's actions.
However, I finally unlocked the true solution. Recognizing the early red flags. Maybe providing one or two early opportunities to *not* do it again. I spoke about my ex hitting me up when I last posted. I did receive more closure by talking to him, but I shouldn't have let the conversations move further into friendship territory. He spoke to me about our past relationship and all the things he loved about it. He finally spoke to me about his feelings. But something didn't feel right. For the most part, he just agreed with my opinions. I wondered if this was what he did for the entirety of our relationship. Being a "yes man" to please me. Then he flirted with him. Openly flirting. Touching my lower back and waist in public. Changing in front of me. I told him that I wasn't completely over him. And then I confronted him about it. I cried. He apologize and told me he didn't mean to lead me on. Part of me believed him, but I noticed that it didn't matter. Regardless of his intetnions, I end up hurt. I noticed that he is selfish but may be too dumb or too deep in denial to recognize it. And it hit me.
He broke up with me, pretended to care and want to speak to me. He got into another relationship in which he was treated terribly. He got out of said relationship. He hit me up to see how I was doing and asked to be friends again. Not because he misses me. Not because he cares about me. He asked to be friends because I am a positive influence and he wants that. He wants as much of me as he can get, but only what is good for him. I pointed this out and of course he said the right thing. He said that it wasn't a one-sided friendship. But it was. I was lead on. I told him to just tell me he didn't love me and that he only wanted to be friends. He couldn't do that. He couldn't commit to either option. That's fine. But I already said goodbye to him. And he selfishly returned. So I finally learned. Trust my gut. Trust that part of myself that questioned his intentions. Listen to the part of myself that saw he wanted to use me for positivity.
I still have problems letting him go. It would be best for me to block him. And so, after this next story, I did. I finally cut someone out earlier than I ever have before. I think back now and realize I should've done it sooner. But now I know how to listen to my gut. I broke things of with a new guy that I was seeing. He was fully aware that I was not able to date and he did not want to date me. Until suddenly he did? He would be jealous of other guys that I saw. He had no means to effectively communicate his emotions. He pretends like he doesn't have them. There was a misunderstanding where I did something that bothered him and rather than speaking to me about it, he called me a bitch. He often complained that younger people near my age and our other friends are entitled. Then he became extremely passive aggressive and he even cuts off his sister. Finally, he looked at me in front of all of our friends and told me to "cuff him" before leaving for work. In a very uncalled for way. It was also right after he reassured me that he does not want to rush me into anything. Suddenly, my eyes opened. It all clicked. He was exhibiting the exact same behavioral patterns as my least favorite ex. He was constantly degrading himself, saying that no one values him. All the things that make him cool and likable are not really him. Yet at the same time, he is not open to much criticism and praises himself for a lot. He does not understand how to communicate like an adult. He lashes out. He name-calls. He whines. He speaks through melodramtic passive aggressive actions. So, I dropped him right then. And I blocked my ex. I finally connected to my gut. I connected to logic. I knew in my gut that I should probably stop talking to this guy when he called me a bitch. Hell, I knew I should've stopped talking to my ex after he made a racist joke. Yet somehow, I manage to look past these things and expect it to be better. I expect these first or secondary impressions to be better. No, it's the first sign of what these people are really like. And I overthink and over-sympathize my way into sticking around these toxicity. Overall, I'm just glad to connect to my gut and feel red flags in the moment rather than learn them after-the-fact.