5 Things You Do That You Didn't Realize Were Signs Of Relationship Hypervigilance

Relationship hypervigilance is a constant fear that someone is mad or upset with you.

retro-style couple Everett Collection via Shutterstock / Olga Niekrasova via Canva

Hypervigilance is the state of being on high alert for any potential threats to the status quo. It’s a type of paranoia about perceived danger and risk around you.

While being vigilant about these things is perfectly normal, there should be an ability to feel safe and secure in certain places and situations, allowing you to dial back your hypervigilance. But in some relationships, one or both parties might be hypervigilant about threats to the connection. This is often due to past trauma like suffering emotional, mental, or physical abuse from a previous partner or feeling uncertain, criticized, or embarrassed.


According to Dr. Nicole LePera, relationship hypervigilance can show up in the way you communicate with your partner or feel in your relationship.

“Relationship hypervigilance is a constant fear that someone is mad or upset with you. It creates high anxiety and emotional monitoring,” Holistic Psychologist Dr. Nicole LePera writes in the caption of a TikTok video. In the clip, the psychologist shares some telltale examples of how being overly vigilant in a relationship shows up.



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1. You overexplain.

In the video, LePera demonstrates overexplaining by apologizing profusely and going through every minute detail of why she was not able to do what her partner had expected. She even goes as far as calling herself an “idiot” for the misstep.

2. You take too much accountability.

In a second example, the psychologist shows how the hypervigilant take accountability for their partner’s actions. Without asking why her counterpart didn’t do laundry, she creates an excuse for him or her and takes responsibility for the task that was never hers.

3. You monitor their emotions constantly.

In this example, she asks, “Are you mad at me?” In situations where we are walking on eggshells in our relationships, we tend to try and predict our partner’s emotions, hoping to do something to change any negative feelings they have toward us. This might also show up as invalidating or pushing down our own emotions to keep the peace.

4. You don’t trust or feel secure in the relationship.

Even when a person has indicated that everything is okay, hypervigilant people continue to overexplain, take unnecessary accountability and question whether or not their mate is really sharing their authentic feelings. They are constantly looking for signs of acceptance or approval and coming up with ideas that might satisfy their partner.


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5. You have racing thoughts that tell you someone is mad at you.

There is no good way to reassure people who are hypervigilant in their relationship. There is a constant underlying fear that someone is mad at them, and that assumption alone can lead them to overcompensate by asking repeatedly and doing whatever they can to please that person.

What causes hypervigilance in relationships?

There are many reasons why you might be super aware of any perceived threats or risks in your relationship. Perhaps you grew up watching your parents be that way, so it became the norm for you. Disproportionate emotional reactions and hypervigilant ways of thinking were observed and normalized for you.

There may be trust issues between yourself and your partner that make it difficult for you to feel secure in the relationship. You might be uncomfortable with giving your mate space out of fear that they will leave you.


You could also be prone to emotional outbursts due to the stress and anxiety caused by constantly having your guard up. Mindfulness, meditation, and therapy can be helpful in overcoming relationship hypervigilance.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington. She covers lifestyle, relationship, and human-interest stories that readers can relate to and that bring social issues to the forefront for discussion.