I had a thought yesterday…I thought, I wonder if it could be considered a compulsive behavior to overly analyze your words and actions? And then I’ve thought about that a million times since and so…I think I’m proving the answer is “yes” by simply asking the question in the first place and then spending way too much time overanalyzing my thoughts and actions for evidence.
Part of this manifests in my social anxieties. I constantly replay conversations or text messages in my head to find the ways I’ve have unintentionally offended or upset someone. I texted someone recently and said something with the intention to keep them from minimizing some trauma and then I spent then next week worrying that by trying to prevent them from minimizing their trauma I may have seemed dismissive of their own narrative.
Like…several times a day I’ve reflected on that stupid text message and wondering if I shouldn’t have phrased things how I phrased them. But…you know…in the before times I also did this after every group run/walk or every book club or every family dinner. I would spend hours analyzing ever action/word and then focusing on things that weren’t perfect and then beating myself up about it forever.
But those I can all group under “social anxieties” and that’s what I’ve always done.
The thing I’m noticing now – in the non-social times – is that I actually do it with everything. I worry about every parenting move and every tweet and every facebook status and every conversation with my husband. I have taken down more posts from more social media in the last 3 months than I have in the 3 years prior. I’ll just get stuck in my head and decide, “No, I shouldn’t have posted that.” I lie in bed thinking about the ways I handled conflicts between my kids, and with my kids. I worry about how I responded to my Mom or my husband. I even find myself constantly wondering if I did the right thing by insisting on getting family pictures done when my husband has no job, or did I donate all of those clothes to the right charity? Did I rinse my cans out enough in my recycle bin, or did the whole batch get contaminated?
It’s like…now that I noticed how much I do it? I can’t stop noticing how much I do it.
Hence the title of this post. I have proven the affirmative of the condition simply by investigation the condition itself.
My question is…how normal is this? I think I hadn’t really ever noticed how widespread this behavior was because pre-pandemic my brain was pre-occupied with interactions with people which got all written off under the “social anxiety” category of compulsion. But now I realized I do it with everything. I just get stuck in these thought spirals where I’m compulsively analyzing my own behavior and I have really noticed it with my activism. I’m constantly analyzing whether or not I’m being the best ally to Black Americans or Trans Americans and what charity should get that money and what tweet should get amplified and should I post that article? Should I attend that meeting? Should I call my Senator?
Like…I’m CONSTANTLY running through political responses in my head to the current events and trying to decide the best way to respond/address/amplify the daily political dramas.
Ugg. Even just writing about all of this is exhausting.
Basically, I’m asking you, how much of your non-focused thoughts revolve around critiquing your own actions? Because I would say that unless I’m engaged in a specific activity, talking to my child, cooking dinner, reading a book…my wandering thoughts are like 90% me wondering if I’m doing the right thing or did the right thing.