I experience it pretty strongly with my wife. Stronger than even with strangers. Why is this?
Well, whenever I look into my wife’s eyes. She starts staring back and she doesn’t say anything. And her response increases my anxiety. Because she consistently freezes up when I look at her. I believe that she gets nervous when I look her in the eye. But what do I feel? That is a different story.
I feel that since she is looking at me, there must be something wrong with me. Why else would she be looking at me? And since she stops talking, and gets more silent, this means that I am causing her to act this way, so there really must be something wrong with me that it is affecting her so much. It’s my fault that I am making her feel uncomfortable. The more she freezes up, the more nervous I feel. It is a dominoe effect.
I haven’t tapped into the subconscious thought stream behind this yet, but as like all the hidden anxious thoughts, eventually, they will come to surface.