top of page

Are You Over-Functioning in Your Marriage?

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

We all have been socially conditioned to show our loved ones that we love them by showing that we care for them, that we would take a bullet for them, and be there for them before anything/anyone.

This is not far from the truth.

When people become anxious in relationships, they tend to be reactive and become highly emotional in times of stress/anxiety. These are the following 4 ways we tend to manage our anxiety from overwhelming us while in relationships:

  1. Over-Functioning/Under-Functioning

  2. Emotional cutoff (and some instances, physical cutoff from others' proximity)

  3. Triangulation

  4. Marital Conflict

I will be focusing on the over-functioning/under-functioning reciprocity.

When we are in relationship with someone (i.e., marriage, family of origin, or work family), we can get into a pattern of always doing something for someone to show that we notice them in their distress and want to help out. I mean, who wouldn't?

However, this is only out of our own uncertainty, anxiety and sense of caretaking that our brains puts us in. This is pre-programed from our family of origin. How were your caretakers towards your need for calmness? Did they provide you the needed emotional support or were you left to fiend for yourself?

Over-functioning can look like:

  • Thinking someone needs to be rescued so you butt in and do it for them.

  • Thinking, "They don't know how to do that, I might as well do it myself."

  • Thinking someone needs you to guide them when driving to prevent them from taking a wrong turn.

  • Thinking you need to be responsible for someone else's responsibility such as "Can you set the alarm tomorrow so you can wake me up?"

  • Person 1: "What do you want to eat?"; Person 2: "I don't know."; Person 1: "I want to eat Mexican tonight."; Person 2: (thinking, I don't want that, ew) "Okay, I'll have that too."

The over-functioning that occurs in relationships is so universal and most of the time, out of our awareness.

"What can I do to stop over-functioning,"you might ask?

  1. Become aware of the processes that occur around you. Does it cause you distress, angst, anxiety, depression, resentment, or exhaustion when you do what you do?

  2. What is it that you tend to do when engaged in over-functioning or under-functioning? Do you get into "fix it mode" or think, "I'll go with the flow to stop an argument."

  3. Change the pattern of what you tend to do. Instead of taking knee-jerk reactions and jumping to the call, take a step back, breathe, and calm yourself. Feel it in your body. Is your heart rate up? Breathing hard? Flushing? Trembling hands? Sweaty palms? These are indicators your alarm system is prepping you for the call to action with your loved ones.

Let's find out if this is the case for you. Everyone's journey is different. Let's work together. Send me a message or an email.

Stay tuned for the next topic....Under-Fuctioning...

(903) 466-2643

14 views0 comments


bottom of page