Hyper-Vigilant

Description: Continuous intense anxiety about all the dangers and what could go wrong. Vigilance that can never rest.

Characteristics: Always anxious, with chronic doubts about self and others. Extraordinary sensitivity to danger signals. Constant expectation of mishap or danger. Suspicious of what others are up to. People mess up. Might seek reassurance and guidance in procedures, rules, authorities, institutions.

Thoughts: When is the other shoe going to drop? If I make a mistake, I fear everyone is going to jump down my throat. I want to trust people, but I find myself suspicious of their motives. I need to know what the rules are, although I might not always follow them.

Feelings: Skeptical, even cynical. Often anxious and highly vigilant.

Justification Lies: Life is full of dangers. If I don’t look out for them, who will?

Impact on Self and Others: This is a hard way to live. The constant anxiety burns a great deal of vital energy that could otherwise be put to great use. Loses credibility due to the “crying wolf” phenomenon. Others begin to avoid the Hyper-Vigilant as the intensity of that energy drains them.

Original Survival Function: The Hyper-Vigilant often comes from early experiences where the source of safety and security (parental figure) was unpredictable and unreliable. It could also result when painful unexpected events proved life to be threatening or unreliable.

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