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Feeling the fear

Old 07-10-2014, 08:42 AM
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Feeling the fear

We've had a couple of threads lately about fear and guilt. Validation and confusion. I've finally started to realize that is one of my biggest character defects. The avoidance of ill feelings at all costs! If someone else feels bad.. fix it! It makes me feel bad to see someone else feel bad, no one should ever have to feel bad, not me, not you, not friends or strangers. I've never learned how to properly process those feelings. I always try to stuff, erase or hide them.

I was reading a totally unrelated book last night. It’s a sociology book that talks about cultural transformations. I see lots of parallels to my life and I find that sort of thing very interesting. Then this passage hit me like a ton of bricks. What it was actually referring to is not addiction or co-dependency, but it pretty accurately describes that fear feeling and what avoiding it does to you. And how processing it just might be the only way you can get through it and I wanted to share it will all of you.

“Over that year, Joanna went through a searing initiation. Living through her feeling of helplessness and rage and letting them go, allowing the next layer of feeling to roll through and letting them go, she was grieving alone for what was happening to all of us. She would say later that until you can let suffering in, you’re paralyzed. “You’re afraid of feeling the fear, the grief, the remorse, and you can’t take the next step. You can’t feel your pain for the world, for other human beings or yourself. But if something happens that lets the psychic numbing crack, then your own deepest responses break through the layers of ice. Your human feelings can flow freely, and you bring yourself to life.” “The Cultural Creatives” – p 296
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:03 AM
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I've finally started to realize that is one of my biggest character defects. The avoidance of ill feelings at all costs! If someone else feels bad.. fix it! It makes me feel bad to see someone else feel bad, no one should ever have to feel bad, not me, not you, not friends or strangers. I've never learned how to properly process those feelings. I always try to stuff, erase or hide them.
You sound just like me!!! I've figured out that as a kid, I was praised when I helped others, did things for others, put my own needs behind those of others -- and I spent the rest of my life doing exactly that because, well, that's what I thought was expected of me; that's what made me feel good. Until it didn't.

I still get this gut feeling of wanting it all to go away and wanting to run or end the conversation or just sink through the ground whenever I or anyone else feels bad. I'm just more able to let it be these days...
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:16 AM
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I think that's where it came from for me too! I've always been overly nice and accommodating. It probably developed from a variety of areas, one being that I was picked on a lot at school and I quickly figured out if I was really nice to people and always helping them that they wouldn't be so mean to me. I crave that validation that others thingk I'm good enough. I'm really working on it.. it's slowly changing.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:35 AM
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I crave that validation that others thingk I'm good enough
Me too. It's infuriating, really. I hear other women my age (middle aged) say "it's so nice to not give a f*** what other people think about me anymore" and while I have some of that, I still can't help wanting everyone to like me. And my husband says "WHY are you always so nice, even to people who treat you like crap?" and... I don't really have an answer. I guess a lifetime of people-pleasing doesn't just go away in a New York Minute, huh?
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:38 AM
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I sure wish it DID!!! Bravado can get me through it for a few.. but deep inside, it's still there.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:42 AM
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Thank you for that! Its very true!

Have you read "Co-Dependent No More" ? Theres some stuff in there about this. Since I've started reading the book I have been letting myself be more honest with my feelings. And like you said, letting them roll in and then letting them go is healthy. Because once you are done feeling that fear, anxiety and sadness...eventually relief, joy, and peace will come in.

I have panic disorder/social anxiety so even if I say something even a little awkward I feel things like quilt or anger. I'm learning that I need to be me. People will either accept it or they won't, I can't change me for them. ABF can't change him for me. We have to learn that its okay to be ourselves
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
I hear other women my age (middle aged) say "it's so nice to not give a f*** what other people think about me anymore"
I'm finally getting to that stage in my life and it does feel GOOD. Still have work to do, but getting there.

I grew up the same way, being nice to people for validation. Stemmed from abandonment wounds. If I'm nice to X, X will like me, and I'll have more friends. More friends = less chance of abandonment. Something like that.

Not that we shouldn't be nice to people or help others. We should. Just not at the expense of being used and abused by people who are users and abusers. That's the trap that leads to codependency, IMHO. Or at least it was for me.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:49 AM
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I understand and have done the same thing. My life was spent pleasing others. I finally think I am getting a balance. It was making me feel very badly about myself when I couldn't fix it. I also have a lot of issues of bottling all my feelings. That I am working on too. I know drinking doesn't fix that and I haven't for a very long time however it isn't an easy thing to fix.
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