A lot of people come to me complaining “I am anxious, I have panic attacks..” Most of the time contrary to DSM V it isn’t because they are genetically broken but instead because they are trying to do the impossible.
A teenager upon going to college started developing panic attacks and chronic anxiety. She called home every night to question her every move with her mother. She was trying to satisfy her mother’s needs for closeness and having “my baby” while at the same time trying to satisfy her adult needs for individuality, privacy and learning to fail and deal with it. But in her trying to make mom happy and not disappoint her while at the same time having to make decisions for herself that might or might not always be of moms approval she created an unsolvable conflict. The result was chronic anxiety. When she stopped asking mom about every decision the anxiety resolved on its own.
Another woman who was married, had a good job and raised a few healthy kids would fall apart into a panicky mess whenever she returned home to visit her childhood family. She felt guilty as she disagreed with the chaos she grew up with; the drama, secrets, denial and blaming style of her childhood family. She created a life free of this but couldn’t tolerate making her mom unhappy so would be drawn right back in whenever home. She tried to stay true to her values and intent but it was incompatible with her family’s life approach thus she would get paralyzed trying to satisfy both realities.
I call this phenomenon that of the ½ ass rebel. Much of life conflicts with itself. Just opposed opposites can both be true at the same time. For instance you and you mother can have the exact opposite view on something and you can both be absolutely correct. This is called moral relativity. From her point of view she is correct and from your point of view you are correct. The problem is when you try to satisfy both realities at the same time to make everyone happy and avoid conflict. As this is impossible it will just make you have anxiety and panic. It’s like trying to keep two different doors open at the same time with you stretched out between them, it is just impossible. That’s the ½ ass rebel. Trying to be independent and true to you while at the same time trying to make everyone else happy, just not doable.
The solution is called neutrality. It is the only way to balance just opposed systems of reality. You can acknowledge the others opinion but you neither agree nor disagree with it. “We can agree to disagree. I see you see it that way.” Neutrality is infinitely more efficient as once you agree to something you don’t actually agree to it cannot possibly work out and often enough it creates chaos. A lot of good hearted people with good intention make situations chaotic and worse by trying to be nice when they should have been neutral.