SITUATIONAL ANXIETY by Herbert J. & Gail North Freudenberger


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For the unitiated, situational anxiety is ""the condition wherein a specific occasion acts as a catalyst for the emergence of unpleasant, uncomfortable, and unwanted feelings, thoughts, or perceptions. . . ."" In other words, if you spend the night with someone and worry whether he'll call you again, it's ""Sexual Anxiety""; if you can't face the prospect of eating at a restaurant alone, it's ""Public Aloneness Anxiety""; and so forth. Freudenberger managed slightly more profound insights in Burn-Out (1980), but he's definitely in so-what territory here. He likes to torture the reader with fully visualized images of that Dread Incident (e.g., we're about to gag on the metal in our mouth when the dental hygienist reappears to rescue us). To allay such fears, Freudenberger tries humor: arrest your lateness anxiety by preparing a story in advance (as in ""my neighbor's wife was about to give birth and I had to drive them to the hospital""). He tries savoir faire: ""There will always be people whose noses will be out of joint when they learn they were not invited to your party, and this eventually cannot always be avoided."" But mostly he just tries to talk us out of our negative feelings: hidden motivations for lateness are unmasked, while one kind of ""Birthday Anxiety"" boils down to the-child-within-you worrying about not being fussed over. Insubstantial.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Anchor/Doubleday