12 Lies Anxiety Tells You That Keep You Anxious and Fearful

Anxiety tells you lies that race through your brain until they feel like the truth. Recognizing anxiety's lies is important. Do these lies sound familiar?

Anxiety lies to you. It tells you lies in order to bully you and control you. A common complaint among people living with one or more anxiety disorders is that they can't get the racing thoughts of anxiety out of their head. A reason for this is that anxiety, seemingly without stopping, feeds lies directly into your brain. When we’re told something over and over and over again, we start to believe it. By telling you certain lies, anxiety strengthens itself so it can keep a hold on you and your life. See if you recognize any of these 12 common lies anxiety tells.

12 Lies Anxiety Constantly Tells You

  1. The past continues today. All of those worries and mistakes of the past -- they’re not really over. They’ll never go away, and you’ll suffer the consequences every day for the rest of your life.
  2. The future is happening now. The fears you have about what tragedies might happen and the what-if scenarios that plague you are justified.
  3. Worrying changes things. The more you think about something and the more you fret and ruminate, the more control you’ll have over the future. So please, worry and agonize.
  4. You’re not good enough. You never have been good enough, and you never will be. Look around you. See all those people? They’re better than you.
  5. Another thing about all those people: they’re judging you. You know you’re inferior, and they know it, too (Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me).
  6. Thinking and worrying at night is a great way to problem solve. Besides, you don’t really need to sleep because you’re not all that important during the day (The [Dysfunctional] Relationship Between Sleep And Anxiety).
  7. You don’t deserve to speak up. Other people are smarter, better, and more in charge.
  8. You’re stupid. You say the wrong things. You ruin stuff.
  9. You can’t ask for things or make even simple requests because you’ll bother people.
  10. If you have panic attacks, be afraid of them. They’re dangerous, and they mean you’re weak, pathetic.
  11. You want it? No matter what it is, be it friendship, love, a raise, a job, new equipment for sports or a hobby, you can’t have it. You don’t deserve it. You’re taking away from someone else. It might lead to problems, so don’t bother.
  12. You’re going crazy. You’re losing your mind.

Recognize the Lies that Anxiety Tells You

By telling you lies, anxiety works its way deep inside your brain and takes hold until you begin to believe the lies. They begin to seem like the truth. The lies are often so numerous, far beyond these 12 examples, and so vicious that it can be hard to recognize them for what they are: lies that anxiety tells you.

Recognizing what anxiety is saying and identifying the statements as lies is an important step in removing anxiety from your life. The next step is to challenge the lies, and the next article (12 Truths About You and Anxiety) will do exactly that.

Tags: anxiety lies

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2016, April 14). 12 Lies Anxiety Tells You That Keep You Anxious and Fearful, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, and Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps. She has also written five critically acclaimed, award-winning novels about life with mental health challenges. She delivers workshops for all ages and provides online and in-person mental health education for youth. She has shared information about creating a quality life on podcasts, summits, print and online interviews and articles, and at speaking events. Tanya is a Diplomate of the American Institution of Stress helping to educate others about stress and provide useful tools for handling it well in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Hailey Smith
September, 17 2019 at 1:18 pm

Right now, I overslept and was going to be late to work by a couple hours, but my boyfriend made up a lie for us that we were sick, and now I keep getting calls from my co-worker and my sister, asking where I am, and I'm too scared to answer them because my anxiety goes through the roof when I talk on the phone or confront, and doing this would be both. I don't know what to do. Because I keep getting told I have to call work, but every time I get close to doing that, I nearly have a panic/anxiety attack, and it's really started making me feel sick, and my anxiety feels so bad right now, that I'm using a fake name just in case anyone I know sees this, even though I know they won't, and I'm literally worrying myself sick

Hailey Smith
September, 17 2019 at 1:01 pm

Right now, I overslept and was going to be late to work by a couple hours, but my boyfriend made up a lie for us that we were sick, and now I keep getting calls from my co-worker and my sister, asking where I am, and I'm too scared to answer them because my anxiety votes through the roof when I talk on the phone or confront, and doing this would be both. I don't know what to do.

September, 18 2019 at 4:54 pm

Hi Hailey,
You're not alone. So many people with anxiety hate confrontation and talking on the phone (I'm one of them). Sometimes, this type of anxiety can feed on itself when you (anyone) avoid what makes you anxious (like talking to your sister and your co-worker). Avoidance can make the anxiety grow until it's overpowering. Often, the best way to reduce anxiety is to do the very thing you dread. The more you do it, the more anxiety recedes into the background. Until it does, remember that a phone conversation is pretty short, and as soon as it's over you get to move on.

Tawnya F
March, 30 2019 at 6:12 pm

Hi there, I’m in dire need of help to explain what my ex is going through? We are now going to court with children services for our kids. It’s been an awful experience and it all started with my ex anxiety that pushed me away and then turned into selfishness and ultimately lies and believing them. I couldn’t figure it out for the longest!! I’m very glad I did but sad it was so late. He thinks that I want to harm him and my kids and he does everything he can to make me look like a bad parent. I’m scared because he is getting worse!! And his mother suffers from the same thing only she has not said she does or has been diagnosed I’ve just seen the same patterns from both of them. Please help me!! I need to know how to get him to realize it’s a disorder and to show the courts that he is lying and I’m scared for my kids. They are emotionally sad and detaching from me because he wants them not to be with me because of his thoughts of me harming them. I love him and my kids tremendously and I need help to get us all feeling and doing better

April, 3 2019 at 3:14 pm

Hi Tawnya,
It is really difficult when you love people and want to help them as well as make sure you don't lose anyone, but you face resistance at every turn. Reaching out for help and support is important, and you've clearly recognized that already. These resources can offer information and help you find local help:
National Foundation of Families for Children's Mental Health:

Paula Thiele
August, 13 2018 at 8:06 pm

I struggle with GAD. At times I'm pretty good. Other times I'm terrified and get depressed. I worry about things I can't control such as dying. The thought if it scares me so bad that it turns into an obsession. Then of course others things are added to that. I know I have to accept death as part of life but when I'm in such a state of anxiety I get stuck. I had 2 great therapists that retired and haven't found another yet. I am on meds from my psychiatrist. I hate living like this. Please tell me there is hope. I've so tired of this returning.

August, 14 2018 at 2:36 pm

Hi Paula,
Yes -- there absolutely is hope. Your thoughts and feelings about this make a great deal of sense. Anxiety is so frustrating, and the more we try to fight it, the more it hangs on. Often, the answer lies in turning your attention away from anxious thoughts and onto something else. Anxiety won't instantly disappear. In fact, there are some anxious thoughts that hang on for a long time. The difference will be that you don't have to be stopped by them or stuck in them.
You might already have information similar to this, but just in case you need additional resources for finding a new therapist, I'll share these with you:
Two reputable sources of online counseling are and (HealthyPlace has no connection to either of these, nor do we endorse any single organization either online or off because each individual is different, and what works great for one person may not work as well for someone else. We like to provide a variety of resources for people to investigate.)
Where to Find Mental Health Help:…
Types of Mental Health Doctors and How to Find One:…
Types of Mental Health Counselors: Finding a Good One:…

May, 24 2018 at 2:48 am

I’m thinking about leaving my job because I think everyone judges me, i work in a dog grooming salon. I don’t even talk to anyone at work cause I sound stupid and don’t make sense, my manager now keeps trying to make me talk to customers and I just say no or when I do try I go bright red then walk in the back to cry it’s so hard at the moment, I’m confused on what to do about it I feel stuck. I’m scared to go see a doctor. Even at home I hardly talk to my family, I just don’t know what to do. My life just seems dull and full of stress.

May, 25 2018 at 5:50 pm

Hi Rose,
What you describe sounds quite a bit like social anxiety (just an observation rather than a diagnosis). As you know, this can be horrible and life-limiting. It doesn't have to stay this way (even though it probably seems like it right now). This is an article with information about this type of anxiety that you might find helpful:… Working with a therapist can be extremely helpful in overcoming social anxiety. It can be hard to seek help when you have anxiety like this, but know that therapists are very understanding and know how to help. Therapy is available in person and online. Some good online programs are and (HealthyPlace isn't affiliated with either one and doesn't make recommendations. These are just listed as information.) Do consider some type of professional health. It might be uncomfortable at first, but that discomfort won't last, and you'll be on your way toward living the life you want.

Sara Clark
September, 28 2017 at 7:32 am

its been great experience to read it.

Gloria Hamilton
August, 28 2017 at 10:05 pm

Hello, since I have got older, my mind is making up stories that are not true, and yet I start believing them, my mother has the same thing happen to her and she is 89 and believes it is all true now, it scares me, my husband is so understanding, what is happening to me and can I fix this.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 30 2017 at 11:49 am

Hello Gloria,
The mind does play tricks on us by creating negative thoughts, anxieties, and more. It can be hard to know which thoughts are true and which are nothing more than lies. So you're not alone in this frightening frustration. I would never do you harm by trying to tell you what is happening. It could very well be anxiety-based, and it could be something else entirely. I encourage you to see your doctor and explain everything that's going on. He/she will provide insight and direction. Most things can indeed be fixed, or at least minimized.

August, 3 2017 at 2:39 am

I have a problem.. Whenever the situation becomes a bit complicated and I get afraid that I will loose my close ones as a result and in that fear I constantly keep on telling lie.. Is this anyway related to my condition ??

Teresa Brown
July, 19 2017 at 12:25 pm

Thank you for the truth!

June, 16 2017 at 4:28 am

Wow, such a useful article........I am currently in a place with anxiety that it lies to me about my relationship.......that it isn't going to work out, that I need to panic around my other half. I can see this is anxiety making me focus on the positives in my life and turn them into negatives with its lies. Last week when my wife was away it turned it's irritation on to my daughter and my parents and lied to me that they were the reason for my anxiety and depression. Now my wife is back it's her again! Lies, lies, lies........but they sometimes make me think they're true! Anxiety wants me isolated and on my own.......away from friends and family so it can just hang out with me...........if I let it, I know I'll lose everything and so it's so useful to read this article over again when the lies become very believable so that I can remember that is just what they are.......Lies . Is there a link to the post you mention about beating these lies? Thanks ?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 16 2017 at 11:09 am

Hi Daryl,
I'm very glad to know that this article has been helpful. Also, thank you for sharing part of your own experiences. Your thoughts will be useful to others and help people know that they're not alone in their anxious thoughts. Here is the link to the post about beating anxiety's lies:…. I'm going to go add it to this article right now. :)

June, 1 2017 at 10:33 pm

How can I recover from anxiety I'm thinking that I'm in danger coz I talk to someone and she's telling something about other people but I'm the one who feel scared about it everyday what do I need to do

Dr Musli Ferati
April, 27 2016 at 12:23 am

Indeed, they are misinterpretations of things or people we ought to face with, during daily global life functioning. Furthermore, they are unavoidable life prostrations that accomplish our personal, family, occupational and social routine. But it should be aware of its repercussions, if they occupy all our mental apparatus. So it ought to give up from rumination of idea that disturb us long away. It ought to ignore fix idea in order to continue to fulfill daily needs and deeds. Life events and people are in permanent moving and changing, so i t is preferable to construct our mental model in this concordance. Be tolerant and resilience against life problems and interpersonal misunderstandings! We can't change the fate of the world. The best way to face with daily contrariness is to accept them as common life circumstances. In a word, we must to change and moderate our perception equipment in accord to respective psycho-social features. Anyhow, we should respect and implement some rule and aspects of sociocultural milieu, where we live and work. Otherwise anxiety would surmount your 12 useful suggestion that may relief anyone from anxiety tightness.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 27 2016 at 12:05 pm

Hello Dr. Ferati,
Thank you once again for your insight. It does seem like so often, it's hard to separate oneself from what's going on in the surrounding environment. Internalizing everything -- all struggles and stressors, even when they're not our own -- contributes greatly to anxiety. When anxiety tells us that we're responsible for the world's problems and happiness/lack of happiness, we naturally become burdened by anxiety. Separating ourselves from things in our surroundings we can't control is crucial in decreasing anxiety.

April, 14 2016 at 9:33 am

All these lies are true. I especially struggle with worrying all the time. It really doesn't change anything but I can't get rid of that awful habit.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 14 2016 at 11:47 am

Hi Michael,
Anxiety tells these lies to so many people. They're common with anxiety. And they're annoying. Worrying is an especially common "activity" with anxiety. Being aware of it is the first step in stopping it (or at least minimizing it to the point where it doesn't interfere in your thoughts, feelings, and actions -- in your life). There are other steps you can take to reduce worrying, too. I'll be sharing some next week. :)

April, 14 2016 at 7:26 am

Thanks for the kind information. I must appreciate the 11 point which you have mentioned in "Twelve Lies Anxiety Constantly Tells You" blog.
"11. You want it? No matter what it is, be it friendship, love, a raise, a job, new equipment for sports or a hobby, you can’t have it. You don’t deserve it. You’re taking away from someone else. It might lead to problems. So don’t bother."

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 14 2016 at 11:44 am

Hello John,
I'm glad you like the information. These are all lies anxiety used to tell me (yes, number 11, too), and in continuing to research and read about anxiety as well as talk with others in various capacities, I've discovered that these are some of the lies anxiety tells many people. Being able to identify them when we're thinking them and labeling them as anxiety's lies will help silence them.
Thank you for the helpful link to The Anxiety Expert, too!

Sheila Bergquist
April, 14 2016 at 2:39 am

Uh, yes, I can definitely relate to most of those lies. Can't wait for next weeks article!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 14 2016 at 12:13 pm

:) Never trust anxiety. It used to tell me these lies and more. Good thing the truth always trumps a lie!

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