ASK RAVEN: S5

 

We’re back with another round of our resident Therapist, Raven Burgos!

Let’s see what her expert advice she has for us this session.

Question 1: What are some things I can do/practice to get out of my own head? aka decrease my anxiety. When I'm panicking over my relationship I try to focus on my work, but then start to have anxiety over my career. I don't want to trade one thing for the other. I'd like to be better at managing my internal worries.

When my clients ask me about how to deal with Anxiety I like to emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Anxiety is a common response to feelings of not being in control of the external and internal environment. Personally, I am anxious the most when I cannot accept a situation, I’m afraid of losing what I have or not getting what I want. 

Don't reinvent the wheel: 

I ask my clients to reflect on coping strategies that have worked for them in the past. If running used to help you cope and upon reflection, you realize you have stopped running. My response would be,  “How can we get you running again?” 

What's going well?

Daily gratitude lists have been proven to improve an individuals stress level and outlook. Connecting to what we are grateful for, no matter how small the thing may be can help the brain connect with hope and shift its perspective. 

Who can help?

When you are feeling this way do you reach out to people? Do you feel like you have an external source of support? Do you have someone who you can talk to?

Humans are social creatures,  Anxiety can sometimes cause us to isolate and living isolation will only reinforce negative emotions. Connecting with people who can be there for you can go a long way to help you manage your stress

Meditation/Writing/creative expression:

I recommend my clients try guided meditations by trying free apps like Aura. Journaling is a great way to get all of the thoughts out and creative expression is often an outlet for stress. 

Managing everyday anxiety and stress is possible. Remember that what works for someone else might not work for you.

Question 2: My mother and I have a very unhealthy relationship.I know her mother wasn't the kindest to her, so it feels like she's projecting on to me half the time. But I don't know how to bring it up. I don't expect her to change, but I would like her to be more mindful. 

I joke sometimes that our parents know how to push our buttons because they installed them! Fundamentally you understand that you mother might not be capable of change, so you tell yourself that you don’t expect it. However with parents, its nearly impossible to not want them to change. 

Navigating parental relationships as an adult is so difficult,  and setting boundaries with our parents can feel like an impossible task. Your mother is enacting her trauma on you by projecting it and she is making her own pain, fears, anger, loss, about you.

Without knowing the specifics of your relationship and based on what you wrote, I wonder if you have looked at the boundaries you have set with your mom, and if they are sufficient. Many times we are playing out unhealthy dynamics, your mother the key and you the lock. The work that needs to be done is you unpacking why your relationship is so unhealthy for you. You are right in not expecting your mother to change, the only person that has control as to whether to not let her trauma be projected onto you is you.

I suggest that you stop going to the hardware store for milk and do the deep work that will help you break free from the generational trauma. Taking emotional time and space from the relationship can be a great first step. If there is a generational addiction in the family direct or indirectly, there are various (free) support groups accessible in person, over the phone, and online. If you have access to therapy I recommend seeing a qualified professional who understands family systems theory. Like I said your mom installed some of those buttons, changing the dynamic can require some internal rewiring. 


We hope this was helpful! Remember you’re not alone in your struggles and there are resources out there to be tapped into. For more information on Raven, check her out here!

post illustration by Petra Eriksson

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Raven

is a therapist based out of NYC.