Anxiety Treatment in New York City

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Anxiety hides in the folds of anger.

People who struggle with containing their anger may be trying to hold back an eruption all day, every day.

It’s exhausting. And paradoxically, the effort can lead to an outburst. The day you’ve decided to be “good” is the day you hit the roof. One of the keys to understanding your anger is to find and name the anxieties fueling it. Anger pulls for speed. We can curb the desire to explode if we find out more about the urgency. It’s like taking your foot off the gas pedal. “But it doesn’t feel like anxiety or fear,” you say, “I’m just mad.” We need a little time and a little strength and a couple of reps to muscle up your patience. We can gain that with understanding what anxieties lurk in your mad.

We will wait with the moment of urgency and encourage it to spill all the assumptions, expectations, disappointments, resentments and just plain old hurt that are hidden there. “But there’s nothing there,” you say. I’ll help you apply time, tolerate the anxiety that the silence sows, give yourself a bear hug. We’ll root around together. I don’t know where the pockets are, but I know how to look and I’ll lend you hope and patience while we are looking. You might be surprised what you find compacted into that moment. And when we’re done, you won’t need to exert superhuman willpower to control yourself.

We oftentimes begin an anger management treatment and end up talking about anxiety.

Rage attacks are really loud panic attacks. Once the rage dissipates, the panic comes online. People are naturally empathic to panic, while rage scares them and pushes them away. Rage attacks may be panic attacks laced with despair. No one ever helped you with your anxieties and you don’t expect anyone to show up now. Do you see how sad that is?

And we almost always end up talking about bullying. Even if you were never a target. Even if it was silent. A parent may rule the family with a smoldering rage that never erupts. The child’s mind brines in fear hormones for years and fantasizes what that rage is about and tries to steer clear. In the end, you might emulate it without knowing why. If we find memories of hyper-alertness to the insides of another instead of yourself, we need to unwind that. I will help you stop paying attention to the ghosts of your childhood and instead, know yourself now. We’ll honor the vigilance that got you through those times. You did that to survive. Now it’s time to think about what’s necessary and animate a compassion for the defenses you built, a gratitude for getting through, and an intimate knowledge of the insides that count: yours.

a mom and two girls working in a New York City appartment

Which brings us to the internal tyrant that silently rules many of us.

It takes a while to see this entity and hear its voice, but it’s almost always present. Because you are a striver. You build things. When you grok that the tyrant wants something done, but you can’t get to it, that creates a tension inside. That tension breeds anxiety. If your partner asks you for something while your insides are battling this one out, whoa nelly, an outburst is likely. Our aim is not to solve that conflict, there will always be more to do than time to do it.

Our aim is to flesh out what exactly is being asked of you and whether or not it makes sense now given a complex adult life. Then you can make decisions based on your values and not on your caretaker’s mood in your eighth year.

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A Bit of Dreamwork

And it starts to dawn in my sleeping mind that there is no need to bring the diaper to the doctor. The baby is well. And four dresses are okay, as are three. This shift is in line with work I am doing to understand a frightened, protective superego. Louise is my maternal grandmother’s middle name. This line of women needed things a certain way to feel safe and good. My mother passed that on.
My grandmother had good reason to worry about the baby. There were nine years between my mother’s older sister and my mother’s birth. Details are murky, but there were miscarriages. As a child, I heard the word “stillbirth.” Trauma chelating through the generations, hardening into a white-knuckle grip into how it needs to be to keep the baby alive.

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