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Being Tense Around A Person

by Angelina

Photo Credit: MinivanNinja

Photo Credit: MinivanNinja

I'm really tense around this one person. I see them everyday and I get really aggrivated everytime I see them. I can't stand being in the same room and everything she says makes me scream inside my head until I get a huge headache. Why does this happen?

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by: Anonymous

I would say that the cause of this depends on a few things.

Firstly, do you know this person well? Have you gone through an uncomfortable event or perhaps a trying time of your life with them which you might associate with seeing them? For example, I know someone who I feel very annoyed with and suffer from unexplained, childish anger towards because I carpooled with him during a year in which I was suffering from depression. Now, when I see him, I again feel all the hopelessness and anger and hate of that time in my life, even though any other time I am completely fine.

If, however, you have not had an experience like this or you do not know the person very well, I would think that you have (in your mind) set yourself against them. I'm afraid this can happen to the most arbitrary of objects (and people) and is quite difficult to eradicate; however, the anxiety can be gradually reduced until completely bearable. The cure for this is simply additional exposure to the object or person in question. It is vital that this exposure occurs in a comfortable and preferably pleasurable environment, in order to reset your brain's negative association with this person. [this 'exposure' technique, a.k.a. classical conditioning, can be further explored in John B. Watson's experiments, especially 'Little Albert', although this experiment created rather than eradicated anxiety].

Understandably, you may prefer not to alert the person of your feelings towards them at this point, so this conditioning may be tactfully done without their knowledge. You might try inviting them (and others, in case you need to leave) to go somewhere with you, doing something you personally enjoy. This will create a pleasing environment for you to retrain your brain, and leave them unaware of your feelings.

Good luck!

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