Riverside Therapeutics

From the blog

Female Intuition – It’s Relationship to Anxiety

I am a therapist in private practice in St. John’s.
My Mom is 90 years old. Years ago, she told me the story of the time my sister, who by then was married with a child, came over to the house for lunch. Mom looked into her eyes and knew instantly that my sister was pregnant with her 2nd child.  Several weeks later, my sister announced to the family that she and her husband were expecting their 2 nd child. Mom’s response, “Yeah, I
already know”.

I’m not here to debate whether female intuition exists or not. I accept it as a real thing. You are free to believe something else.

But, here’s the thing. Female intuition is often the most accurate when you are observing something outside yourself. It’s that radar that tells you, as you’re walking to your car at night, that something is not quite right. It’s that feeling that you get, when you meet a guy for the first time, that he’s a “player”. It’s that feeling you get when you know someone is lying to you.

All these intuitions have one thing in common. They are about other people or situations involving your external environment.

Now, what does this have to do with anxiety?

We all have ANTS, Automatic Negative Thoughts, that fuel our anxiety. And there are different kind of ANTs:
Labeling: I’m stupid.
Minimizing: Yeah, I’m a kind person, but so are a lot of people.
Catastrophizing: I bet that mole on my leg is cancer.
Mind reading: My boss is scowling, what did I do wrong?
Fortune Telling: I just know they’re going to hate my idea.


Emotional Reasoning is that feeling you get in your gut that tells you things, ABOUT YOURSELF. Female intuition is different – it’s about other people and your external environment. So, if you are a woman with social anxiety, and you are at a party where there are several strangers, you may get a knot in your stomach. To the person with social anxiety, this knot is “proof” that you don’t belong. It’s evidence that you shouldn’t be there. It’s telling you that others (Mind Reading) are wondering how you got invited. It’s telling you (Fortune Telling) that you’ll say/do something stupid. It’s that gut feeling that says you don’t make the grade and you should leave.

Of course, that knot in your stomach is not “proof” of anything. It’s merely a symptom of social anxiety. NOTHING MORE. But you interpret the knot as a sign that you don’t belong.

So, here’s the thing. You may have amazing female intuition. It may be deadly accurate about others, their intentions and about the external world around you. BUT, that doesn’t mean the negative things you believe about yourself are true.

As a therapist, I’ve worked with many women who have been through divorce who firmly believe, “I will never meet someone, it will never happen, I just know it”.
That is not female intuition. That is the Fortune Telling anxiety ANT messing with your head.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy forces us to examine our thoughts with an objective lens. It reminds us, ‘Don’t Believe Everything You Think”. Knowing the difference between intuition and ANTs is an important tool to manage anxious feelings.


Brian Kenny M.S.W., R.S.W.

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