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Fear....what it is....what it does.

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blakesteele posted 9/23/2013 17:23 PM

My Pastor talked about fear recently. A couple things that made me think.

"Fear keeps us alive." We use it to run from a tiger, drive within our limits, etc. So fear, like all other emotions, is not good or is our actions in response to them that assigns that value to them.

"Fear is payments on a debt you have not incurred yet...and a debt you may NEVER incur.". I like this analogy as I understand budgets, delayed gratification, and debt.

Right before my wifes A I was wrestling with anxiety...which is a fancy word for fear. I was in counseling for it during the time my wifes A went from EA to PA. I wish I had been given this example early on.

You see my fear was causing me to spend valuable attention and energy (payments) on future "what ifs" (debts).

I was bankrupting my marriage and my life over things that may never happen. I see that NOW....I did NOT see it then. I would have sworn I was providing for my family and preparing for our future...determined to be a "family tree changer". Both of our parents divorced...both of us have FOO from our families. I really thought we were going to model a healthy relationship for our girls. Not perfect, but healthy.

During counseling it has been uncovered that I have a fear of abandonment (FOO issues). I believe I did what I did in an insane attempt to control my environment...thinking if I prepare for everything, nothing will surprise me (my reaction to my parents D as it happened quickly and without eplanation or warning).

So I was foolish in making payments on debts that were not mine to pay on.

"Fear robs us of our dreams." It certainly does. I thought I was protecting my dreams of a family that was united, supportive, and healthy. Without realizing it, my fear jeopardized this goal of mine. I am not taking credit for my wifes A...what I am doing is realizing how my actions pre-A were not doing what I thought they were doing.

I sense fear in both myself and my wife. I want to find a way to use that fear to make good decisions (make payments on debts I currently have). Above, I have spoken to the fear in me that drove me to make bad decisions. I very much don't want to repeat that cycle. I am working through my abandonment issues....proving to be tough for me.

I so don't want the marriage I had do that I have to continue to grow. I have very little fear associated with changing fear within is that I fail to recognize each part that needs addressed as such.

Kicker is...when fear comes in...I want to go back to my old ways...less each day, but that still is the learned response I have used for decades. I know it doesnt work.

I realize I am relatively new into this journey of seeing my role in an unhealthy marriage...really about 4 months total (most of this year was damage control after DD, and I still wrestle with it daily, but I am spending serious energy on this journey now)... my thirst for it seems almost unquenchable. How niave, innocent, ignorant I operated in parts of my life.

God help us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 5:28 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]

cantaccept posted 9/24/2013 05:57 AM

Good morning Blake,

We do seem to struggle with many of the same issues.

Fear. I have allowed fear to rule so many aspects of my life also. That fear of abandonment is also in me, foo issues. It was the most terrifying and painful time for me, when h left, so suddenly, with no warning, my deepest fear come to life. I felt like I would not survive.

I had to face it though, there was no choice, it was suddenly a reality. A fear that I had never recognized for what it was.

It has actually made me stronger. It has made me recognize the behaviors in me that were because of my fear.

I failed to value myself, treat myself kindly, all in the name of fear. I stayed in a very unhealthy marriage because of fear. I never stood up for myself because of fear. I could not show all of my thoughts and feelings because of fear. I did hurtful things because of fear. Fear of losing love, being left.

I have fear still, it seems that you can "know" something, but it is so very difficult to "know" it all the time. I find myself struggling to recognize the old ways. I am doing much better with it but I do seem to regress.

I don't always see my fear influencing me until a bit later. Then I have to correct. These early life lessons seem to be so ingrained. It's a constant battle to undo years of thinking and feeling, behavior. Staying constantly vigilant can be exhausting.

It actually allows me to feel empathy for h. I remind myself that he is struggling with his own lifelong thoughts and patterns and it will be a battle for him to change also.

It all seems like such a simple concept, face your fear, don't let it control you. So hard to implement though.

As a child, my fear was necessary, it protected me, kept me on guard. It made me so aware of my surroundings the mood shifts, the danger. I have to remember now, I have the ability to protect myself, I do not need to let the fear control me, I can feel the fear but I must recognize it and consciously choose to behave appropriately, not respond with fear but in spite of it.

BTW, last night, I went for a therapeutic massage, amazing, I slept through the whole night, now nightmares, no waking until morning. The first time since dday! What a gift!

blakesteele posted 9/24/2013 06:10 AM

I don't always see my fear influencing me until a bit later. Then I have to correct. These early life lessons seem to be so ingrained. It's a constant battle to undo years of thinking and feeling, behavior. Staying constantly vigilant can be exhausting.

It actually allows me to feel empathy for h. I remind myself that he is struggling with his own lifelong thoughts and patterns and it will be a battle for him to change also.

Yes! This was a key to me reaching forgiveness for my wife. Given the short amount of time we have been working on it we have made amazing progress....but you are right, this is decades worth of habits that need to be broken. Both my wife and I have intimacy issues revolving around emotional availability (lack there of). We are both hopeful that as we work on ourselves that an intimate, passionate connection will become part of our marriage.

As a child, my fear was necessary, it protected me, kept me on guard.

Another truth! Early in counseling...maybe within the first 3 visits...our counselor recognized our coping mechanisms, said they were necessary then , but no longer serve the purpose they were intended to (to get through childhood traumatic experiences).....

I read a passage that said to get past these childhood coping mechanisms....the next time you find yourself in a situation that you would use those coping mechanism, take time to imagine yourself as you were at age 6-10.

Picture you as that child...look at that child and see how she feels....most likely it is scared and fearful. Mentally imagine your adult self hugging and comforting your child self.

Do this repeatedly...and it is said to help you move past the child coping skills into an adult coping skill set....kind of a transition from your emotional child state (which is what you become with your old coping skills) into your emotional adult self. In a way it is putting to rest an immature emotional way and developing a mature emotional way of interacting with the world....gotta believe this will help me in ALL aspects of life, but particularly in my marital relationship.

I JUST read that yesterday.....will put it into practice.

Kinda weird I know...but seems like it could help. At the very least it is something different.

Glad your massage was amazing...been thinking my wife and I should do that too.

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 6:14 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)]

cantaccept posted 9/24/2013 06:44 AM

Wish I knew how to cut and paste!!!

Comforting your inner child. I have been trying this, my MC/IC told me about it.

It does seem to help. I have also been trying to forgive , my former self. Imagining and even saying (only in my mind!), "it's ok, you did the best you could. You didn't mean to cause me harm, you just never learned how to care for me, protect me, you didn't even know you were hurting me". It sounds a bit strange and it just seemed to come into my head as I was gardening.

I think I will make a conscious effort to use this more often.

As for the massage. Absolutely amazing, not what I expected at all. My son gave me this as a gift for Christmas, he was such a source of strength to me through this.

It was almost a fugue state. I was dreaming while I was awake, doesn't make sense to me either. The best part, nothing related to a. It felt like such comfort that I can't describe. As I was driving home I felt intoxicated. I did not care about anything. Thoughts would "pass through" but I did not have the usual pain that seems to go with it.

I was triggering pretty badly on the way there. The office was also in same town as ow, drove by where h lived while gone, same route he took to see her, so many triggers along the way added to the issue of my post yesterday before I left, I was in a bad place. It was all gone, no heart palps, no anxiety, total calm. I want to go again, now.

Maybe weekly massage instead of IC! Only kidding but I cannot express in words the effect this had on me. I have not experience this level of piece since dday. Then to be able to sleep like that!

I am so happy that I was able to experience this. I will call my son today and thank him again.

What a thoughtful gift. He is one of the greatest gifts in my life.

blakesteele posted 9/24/2013 08:53 AM

Way to go cantaccept! Your post displays just how well you are processing through the contrasting feelings on the way to and from the spa.

It is a healthy way to face, feel, and grow through painful, traumatic experiences.

Is also comforting to hear a professional counselor suggested to you the very same exercise I just read in a book.

I am not in counseling right now, but was in for 1 year...never given this advice. Have been seeking ways to grow out of my childhood coping mechanisms.

Excited and nervous to try this....Lord knows there are plenty of moments to practice this!

Keep the faith!

[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:54 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)]

2married2quit posted 9/24/2013 09:01 AM

Thank you for posting this blakesteele. Now that I look back, my entire life has been ruled by fear. You create a safe zone and stay there due to fear. I too feared abandonment and it can make you into that clingy husband. In my case it was a lot of things. Fear didn't allow me to fully grow as a careered adult but start my own business so I can have full control. All this and many other factors didn't make me very appealing or "attractive". Not saying this was the reason for my wife's A, but it is a contributing factor as I wasn't a good provider. Or maybe I could have been better because I work hard every single day.

I'm tired of being ruled by fear. Now the fear has doubled as tomorrow is an even more uncertainty, my wife is in limbo with all her emotions, my business has failed and I'm emotionally broken. Broken, broken broken. All I have is pain an fear. That's how I know I'm alive.

Abbondad posted 9/24/2013 09:04 AM

Hi, Everyone,

An important thread.

If you are familiar with Frank Herbert's Dune, this is the litany the warriors must recite. I have it tacked up.

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing......Only I will remain."

2married2quit posted 9/24/2013 09:08 AM

I've learned now that you WILL face your worst fears in life. It's like the law of life. I feared abandonment and failure and here I am; Business collapsed and she was ready to leave me and kinda did so through an A. But then worse fears appear once you've passed the first level. When I think of her breaking up with me, I feel this overwhelming weight on my chest and my blood turns stone cold all over my body. It also feels like it is inevitable and it will happen. It's just a matter of time.

blakesteele posted 9/24/2013 10:08 AM

It also feels like it is inevitable and it will happen. It's just a matter of time.

Gently....check that statement 2married2quit.

This is fear at are already making payments on debts you don't currently may never incurr this debt. Just because you "feel" something doesn't mean it is a truth. Even if what you "feel" is a truth, you have several options on how you can react to that truth.

Yes it sucks to have a wife that stepped out on you, committed adultery...I know that feeling.

Try and find a way through your fear. You are is unattractive. To clarify is not only unattractive to your wife, it is unattractive to YOU, it is also unattractive to God.

We are not meant to "live in fear". There is a time to when a tiger is chasing you. But so much of life is not "being chased by a tiger".

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 10:10 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)]

2married2quit posted 9/24/2013 10:48 AM

blakesteele - Thank you.

blakesteele posted 9/24/2013 15:31 PM

Fear keeps us from seeing ourselves. Its easy to look at ourselves through the lense of your past; past mistakes, rejections, hurts and abuses. When we do that we are not able to see our full potential. This is often why individuals do not go after their dreams and desires because they are listening to the negative words spoke in their hearts through fear of repeat outcomes. If a person was rejected once, they believe if they try again the same thing will happen, so instead many give up.

Please dont give up on yourself 2married2quit.

"Fear keeps internal conversations in a negative, destructive space. Unchecked, these thoughts can manifest themselves in physical ways. Fearful thoughts can upset stomach, insomnia and digestive or bowel problems. Prolonged fearful thoughts can lead to Anxiety Disorders or even begin to cause damage to our kidneys, blood vessels and heart. "So a man thinks, so he is".""

This is why is it important for a person to process through this pain and is for their own good. I think it can do nothing but be positive for their marriage...but it really is a gift to themselves. We are naturally fearful of pain and if you let that pain and hurt remain you will suffer the consequences of what this thread is speaking to. We are called to do more than that.

Felt like I needed to include the full sermon on this post.

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 3:43 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)]

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