The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A new relationship with fear

I've recently become aware that my relationship to fear is shifting, and this shift is throwing light on how much my life has been defined by fear.

Because I've relied so much on the opinions of others, their response to me, for the definition of my self, I've lived in constant fear of disappointing people, making them angry, hurt, annoyed, upset in any way. I've never been able to separate myself, know myself as good, worthy, of value, and understand the reactions of others as distinct from me. I've needed acceptance, approval, praise, love to let me know who I am in the world. My every action or inaction, my every word, has been motivated by inspiring those responses. The cost to me has been knowing and expressing my self.

For example, for me work has always revolved around pleasing my superiors. I've always felt that I was going to be "in trouble" for not doing my work perfectly, above and beyond, putting all else behind that priority. Recently I've had the chance to observe the parent-child quality of that relationship dynamic. I've begun to identify that sharp feeling of fear, that leaping of the heart accompanied by dread, that I experience whenever I don't receive approval and praise. And I've been able to distinguish it for what it is, and to start to provide that validation for myself in those moments. The effect of this is that the playing field is leveled and I'm no longer afraid of getting in trouble, doing something wrong, making a mistake, being less than perfect.

This is some of what I'm learning by standing my ground and leaning into fear and the unknown when every particle of me screams "run!"


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Someone once recommended a book to me about the parent-child relationship, how the boss-worker relationship mirrors it and what one can do to work on that. Wish I could remember the name of the book now. Dang! I will let you know if I do.

Catherine said...

I always find it so interesting the depth of which our parents touch us - even after so many years have gone by. I am much the same way.