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Waves of Fear

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plainsong posted 5/20/2013 18:33 PM

This post is part venting and part a request for feedback or suggestions.

Itís almost two and a half years since D-day, and I feel like I am SO SLOW in my healing. The first year I was almost totally paralyzed with fear/shame/guilt. The second year I could get to a neutral place maybe 10 Ė 15% of the time. This year my waves of fear are less frequent and less intense, but still paralyzing while they last (which can be for hours or days). With more calm, I have finally been able to start processing the relationship with my AP chronologically in therapy. We have actually only gotten to the first day of contact so far, but that has triggered insights that have let me fill in more events, thoughts and feelings in my timeline.

I would like any help I could get on how to move from the guilt/fear states to a state where I am not totally stuck and can move ahead with some aspect of my healing. What has worked for me so far in moving out of a state of numbness (but not fear) is visualizing stroking myself or visualizing my husband looking at me with love. Unfortunately, even when he is standing next to me in person looking at me or touching me lovingly, I usually canít get out of the fear. The fear usually doesnít have any here and now object. I can connect it with fear from my infancy and childhood, but knowing that doesnít seem to help. All my life Iíve felt not acceptable to others, and now that I am unacceptable to myself as well, there doesnít seem any way out.

Meanwhile, in my head I know I have made a lot of progress, and I have had some brief periods standing outside my fear-based self and having compassion for myself, which seems to automatically generate compassion and empathy for my husband as well. But in my gut I still feel awful.

Thanks for any observations or help.

SandAway posted 5/20/2013 19:41 PM

I am having a hard time understanding this post so forgive me if my post isn't helpful.

You are 2.5 years out and it sounds like your stuck with guilt & shame (you say fear, but of what?). How long have you been in therapy or have you just started?

It almost sounds like you have a voice inside of you that keeps you stuck. You said that you have made a lot of progress. Start there and keep telling yourself how good this is and build on it.

caspers1wish posted 5/20/2013 23:39 PM

I agree, have you identified your fears? Where they are coming from and why you are feeling fearful? I understand the guilt and shame aspect. It sounds like you are working on it and making some progress if the episodes are less often and less intense.

Keep that in perspective, that you are making progress. Sometimes when we rush ourselves to normalize quicker or we fight the waves of whatever is overwhelming us, we are making it harder on ourselves to pull out of that spiral.

I used to get down on myself for struggling with depression or having down or sad days. It added fuel to my negative state of mind. I stopped being so hard on myself and allowing myself to feel sad. Giving myself that permission, instead of trying to rush myself into a better mood, actually helped me to process that episode faster. I think when we get depressed or overwhelmed with guilt and shame, it's our mind's way of saying take it easy, focus and regroup and basically feel what you need to feel, because there is a purpose to it. Maybe the purpose is because you need to work on something particularly difficult for you to face. For me, I really needed a good cry, and would always deny myself. I couldn't put into words why I was sad. I had to identify what was making me sad. You need to identify and acknowledge what x,y and z is making you feel ashamed and fearful. Acknowledging it loosens the grip it has.

Good luck and hugs.

tired girl posted 5/21/2013 09:17 AM

I agree with the others, I see that getting to the root of your fears is the way out of this thing. It will allow you to move forward with the other issues. I don't see how you can deal with the other issues until you have come to grips with what is causing this fear and neutralizing it.

Wishing you much luck, looking into our past and our childhoods can be painful, and feel overwhelming. In the end it is often the way to our freedom.

HowCouldI17 posted 5/21/2013 13:37 PM

new so not sure how much I have to offer:
I find part of my life pattern(s) is/are to get stuck in guilt and shame and fear. for me, they act as a barrier to closeness with others. In conversations with my dear BS, I see how my shutting down into my own fear/guilt keeps the focus on me and my process and makes an implicit request of her to attend to me rather than the other way around.

It is so very important for WS's to have our needs attended to in the appropriate ways. I wonder, like others above, how long you have been in IC, and if it is the right IC for you. Sometimes therapies that work on managing specific emotions can be really helpful. for me, just knowing that my strong emotions, though valid and useful to attend to, were bringing my and her focus back to me, helped me try to find something to grab onto to shift my emotions. Sitting and walking meditation help. Exercise and eating healthy-self care. I can't presume that you aren't doing any of these...just sharing what I'm trying to do for myself to try to not get stuck, as I do, in the feelings you mention. Pema Chodron, is such a great resource for helping us find compassion for ourselves, facing and walking with fears, being truthful with ourselves about our emotions.

good luck

BaxtersBFF posted 5/21/2013 22:35 PM

So, you connect your fear with your childhood, and it has something to do with not feeling what happened? Have you been able to see that answer yet?

The fear may be just a defense mechanism to keep the hurt at bay.

For what it's worth, it took about two years for me to get through that fear and guilt, and then I joined SI, had another six months of false-R, and then really started working on the fear and the hurt, and then the healing.

You can take your time, but you also need to realize what you stand to lose if it takes too much time. What is going to motivate you more? Your love of your BH or your fear of the hurt from your earlier years?

plainsong posted 5/22/2013 14:52 PM

Thanks everyone for your responses. I have started to think more about what (multiple) things I am afraid of. Baxter, shortly before I read your response I had started to make the connection to my sadness, hurt and loneliness that underlie my fear and my anger as well. Thanks for the clarity.

SandAway, yes I am in IC and have been for many years. In the past I had a lot of insights about my issues but didnít realize the depth of my pain and how scared I was to face it. I will think about the specific messages I have inside that keep me stuck. I have a body sense that they are there but havenít been able to tease them out yet.

Casperís Ė I have gotten help from letting myself cry, at the suggestion of my therapist. It has been very hard Ė I still think I am not entitled to cry - that it just shows I am weak and selfish. But it does help. Tired girl Ė Thanks for your support. I have had a few brief tastes of freedom, and thatís where I want to go, for me and for my BH.

HowCould I Ė Iíve done some of the things you mentioned. Thanks for reminding me about meditation. Walks outside are also good for me. Iíve read some of the Pema Chodron books. I was especially struck by her saying she has gotten multiple letters from people, each saying they are the worst person in the world, which is certainly what I have felt about myself.

Off to therapy now, with copies of your posts. Thanks again.

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