Dublin Counsellor Blog

Anxiety: How it Works: Part 2


https://thomaslarkin.ie/anxiety-how-it-works-part-one, dealt with external anxiety, or managing our world on the outside.

In Part 2, we will look at anxiety from the inside.

Sometimes people in therapy say, ‘I have nothing to be anxious about’, and I say ‘not externally’. There can be nothing happening outside but anxiety can still be going on.

How are we overwhelming our self on the inside?

And, most importantly, we are doing this unconsciously or outside of our conscious awareness.


When assertiveness is squashed as a child, it becomes what Freud called the Super ego. The squashed assertiveness becomes anger or rage. And, as it’s not safe for it to go outside, it’s turned in at our self. We take out our frustrations in life on our self.

The super ego is critical by nature and doesn’t SEE our self, just its faults. For example, if we are feeling anxious, it says ‘you shouldn’t be anxious’. So, not only are we anxious but we are not allowed to be anxious, making us more anxious.

And it also carries the internalised messages we got growing up from parents and society. A good example is ‘boys don’t cry’. We are sad AND we are not allowed to be. This is why men’s suicide rate is five times higher than in women.


The super ego does not see our limit or what we need. Our collective human super ego treats our planet in the same way as we treat ourselves. We don’t care about its limit and need, we just keep taking from it until there is nothing left. Our super ego destroys ourselves in the same way as we are destroying the planet.

This process feeds internal anxiety because there is a part of us working AGAINST ourself rather than FOR ourself.

Anxiety: How it Works: Part 3

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