They are called secondary gains of anxiety 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 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.
“We are what we do repeatedly. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
The main secondary gains of anxiety
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.
The greatest attention of others is not the only thing that is obtained. Anxiety 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 infantilism. “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. That state serves as a shield for not deciding to face the real fears that all human beings have to face once. 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, 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 accepting that anxietys already an inseparable part of ourselves. On the contrary, that state can be overcome. If it is not achieved by oneself, then it is pertinent to request the help of a professional.