They are called secondary gains of anxiety symptoms to the benefits generated by that state. How is it that anxiety generates benefits? As strange as it may seem, it is. If we give place to an unpleasant sensation in our interior and maintain it. It is because it gives us something. Insanely. But he gives it to us. If it were not so, it would be easier for us to search or find a way to get rid of that torment.
The fact that there are secondary gains from anxiety symptoms does not mean that these gains are, in balance, positive for us. It simply means that sometimes people take unhealthy paths to adapt to reality. In general, we are not aware of it. Even so, we managed to accommodate ourselves. And in one way or another, take advantage of that situation.
Perhaps this can be better understood with an example. Suppose a person is left homeless. Then he decides to make an improvised tent in a solitary wasteland. If you continue there, you may find a way to incorporate certain “comforts” into your room.
Maybe get cardboard to better cover the cold and can even start to “furnish” the place; In addition, the place you occupy does not have to pay taxes or rent. He has not solved his basic problem of real housing. But even so, as he can, he takes advantage of the situation. It is the same thing that happens with the secondary gains of anxiety symptoms.
The main secondary gains of anxiety symptoms
It is clear that anxiety is a state that generates suffering. The reasonable thing then would be to look for and find a way to overcome it. However, the human being is not reason only. There are a number of unconscious factors. Which are presented as irrational, and which lead to persist even in emotional pain . The person does not seek to experience constant anxiety. But once installed there, things that were not planned begin to happen.
For example, it is very common for the anxious person to receive special attention from those around them. They may consider it “nervous” or too sensitive, or something like that. Therefore, unintentionally, you get the benefit of greater attention. And perhaps consideration, from others . This, without realizing it, reinforces the negative state in which it finds itself. This is how the secondary gains of anxiety operate.
Anxiety symptoms could also become a pretext for not facing the world and forming a bubble of protection . Also to explain many behaviors of negligence, abandonment or neglect. Also, to justify nonsense, lack of responsibility and infantile. “I’m very anxious and that’s why I can not …”
Avoid fears and achieve what you want
It is possible that anxiety becomes a way to achieve exactly what you want. Fear like being alone, facing rejection, saying “no”, looking for and finding work to be worthwhile for ourselves, etc. We all experience some anxiety when facing those situations. What is appropriate is to find the way to overcome it.
It is not the only way in which the secondary gains of anxiety are present to achieve what one wants. As noted earlier, the attention of others, the possibility of setting up in a comfort zone that no one questions. The option to justify our false starts, etc., constitute a golden bridge to not assume certain responsibilities.
It is important to insist that this is not done on purpose. Who suffers from anxiety, really suffers and does not plan consciously, to take advantage of that situation. All this occurs unconsciously and also unconsciously holds, because it finally provides benefits.
The problem is that one gets to organize a whole life project around anxiety symptoms, refusing to grow and depriving himself of many positive experiences. Like the man who has nowhere to live and ends up living a precarious place forever. Therefore, the way out is not to accept that anxiety is already an inseparable part of ourselves. On the contrary, that state can be overcome.
Hidden benefits behind anxiety symptoms
How? Does anxiety have advantages?
Yes, I know that this part is hard work, and that your main reaction to this is to think that anxiety has no advantage. And it is totally bad and should be eliminated. But human beings are a little more complex, deep and interesting. For behind our conscious we have an unconscious, and many times. In this unconscious we obtain the advantages of anxiety symptoms, which do not allow us to say goodbye to them.
At what point do we start receiving the benefits?
It does not mean that you generated anxiety to obtain them. It means that since you started with anxiety, you started to receive certain advantages. Which are what now keep it alive or continue to cause it. It can be from the first moment that you felt it. Or already spending a time, in which your unconscious or your inner child, was realizing these advantages and accommodated with anxiety.
Anxiety helps you not face your real fears
Then, on the one hand, anxiety helps you avoid facing your deep and real fears as they are: grow up, be alone, look for work and face rejection. Leave your parents’ house, say no and “see bad vibes” , or simply stop doing what you want to do and face the opinions of others.
What would be different if tomorrow morning without anxiety?
This is a very powerful question, and it is not worth answering “everything would be wonderful. It would be a miracle”. Really ask yourself what would change in your life?
Anxiety symptoms it is these responses that do not allow you to finish freeing yourself from anxiety. And if these responses represent tension, fear or restlessness. It is probably because you have a wrong idea about what it means to be free, to be happy or to be an adult, perhaps you think that Being an adult. Or taking responsibility for yourself is difficult or heavy. Or maybe you do not believe that you can take care of yourself, or perhaps you feel pressured to lead a life that you do not really want to live …