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  • Writer's pictureJulie Galloway, LPC-RPT

Okay, Karen! Is Your Anxiety Related to a Personality Type?

I knew I had to write a blog referencing "Okay Karen" when my 70-year-old mother called me “Karen.” When a stereotype reaches multiple generations, it sends a message that most people can relate too. I know I can!

Recently, I have seen more clients who are experiencing anxiety due to people in their lives who have aggressive personalities.

So What is a Karen?

A "Karen" is a type of meme, (an element of culture that is related to a behavior that is used in humor and shared on the internet), and is a charactonym for a demanding, entitled or aggressive woman. Insert eye roll, now.

This stereotype can be used for men too, so I say, "Karen meet Ken."

We all know that person who scares us and sometimes inspires us with their larger than necessary personalities. When we see Karen or Ken, our first response is to avoid or dread them. Sometimes, those Karens or Kens are the very people we cannot avoid because they are members of our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Deep breath…you are not alone.

It begins with an internal struggle...the negative thinking patterns (CBT and REBT).

  • "He is always complaining about something."

  • "I can't do anything right."

  • "She is always judging me."

  • “I am never good enough for him/her.”

Why are these negative thoughts forming before we even see Karen or Ken?

  • It might be from a previous encounter where we were exposed to their high or unreasonable demands.

  • Maybe we witnessed their aggressive approaches with others.

  • We may even be struggling with the “people pleasing” gene.

Whatever the reason, we form an expectation of that person and personalize it as something we are responsible for creating. Anxiety will follow.


1. Other people can influence your mood, but they do not have the power to make you feel.

2. When we can connect our thoughts, feelings and behaviors we create healthy ways of coping.

So, how do you handle Karen or Ken?

We acknowledge:

  • that no one is perfect.

  • that we cannot control other people.

  • that we are responsible for our own feelings.

  • that we aren’t mind readers and cannot predict the future.

  • that avoidance will not change the relationship.

  • and not everything is about us.

We can learn to navigate, engage, except and laugh with Karen and Ken or we can allow them to dictate our lives. LOL…OKAY Mom...I hear you!

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