How seeking too much reassurance can weaken you

I hope this brief blog piece on seeking reassurance might be of help to those suffering from worry and fear.

There is a line that separates useful guidance and support on one hand and a destructive pattern of seeking to much reassurance on the other. When the line is blurred a person can seek more and more reassurance at the expense of building their own sense of strength in themselves, an independent spirit.

An example of this is Health Anxiety. Getting clarification from the doctor about one's health can be a life saving journey to the surgery and is an important part of 'looking after one's self'. However we can also seek (or feel the need) for diagnosis of every twinge that we get which leads to worry and fear.

Another example is in relationships with our nearest and dearest. Sharing our concerns and worries with a loved one is one of the most rewarding aspects of human relations. However when it is taken to an extreme it can undermine our sense of self and lead to bitterness and arguments.

So how do we get the balance right?

One answer is to accept that there is a limit to what another person (or organisation) can do for our peace of mind and that seeking reassurance is not always a healthy thing to do. Bitterness and anger might also be a sign that we are making excessive demands that will eventually undermine us. That is not to say that we should give up our ability to campaign against injustice however.

Another answer might be to focus on the concept that the dreaded possibility that we are trying to avoid is actually something we can handle. The dreaded thing might be bad and uncomfortable but is something that can be dealt with. Being held to ransom by the thought "I cannot bear it" could haunt a person for years when the reality could be quite different. Most of the things we imagine will happen don't happen and if they do who is to say how we might actually respond?

6 Replies

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  • Definitely reassurance in the right place and the right time is important. Otherwise the coldness that could be generated by a therapist who refuses to give any crumbs of comfort would be disaster for the relationship. It is human warmth that we need...but also understanding of our foibles.

  • This is just what I needed to read today xxx thanks

  • Hi Andrew and Emski , Can you explain what that means in a few sentences please x Ella x

  • HI Ellla

    It might help me to know what you are thinking ... at the root of your anxiety ...eg " I cant cope on my own" or " Will no one help me". Then maybe I can put my helping words into a few sentences. If I know clearly what you are feeling then it is easier for me to put helpful words into a few brief sentences.

    Andrew

  • Thanks for this Andrew. Very original and clearly put. One of those harder lessons we have to learn is that there are some things in life we just have to handle ourselves. However, one the greatest lessons is: you'd be suprised at just how much you CAN cope with. :)

    Fantastic. :)

  • Thank you Andrew ...really made so much sense !!!!!

    Have you read the book by Eric Berne called "The Games' People Play " ?

    I found it very funny and at the same time so pertinent.

    Thanks for your words Andrew , Vince : )

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