How much are we really aware of the fears that come up within us on a daily basis, and how many of our actions that are carried out in attempts to soothe those fears? Why is it that when we try to soothe fear by doing that which fear is telling us to do (like run or hide) – the fear only intensifies? Where does these fears come from and how can we assist and support ourselves to stop living in fear? That is what I explore from a personal example in this blog-post.
In this blog-post I am sharing a process of self-support that I have walked in relation to a pattern that has recently come to my attention within myself. It’s one of those mental and behavioral patterns that exists as a constant undercurrent within our daily lives, that has massive influence on how we experience and see ourselves – but that we aren’t consciously aware of because we’ve come to accept it so much as a part of who we are.
In this case, the pattern has to do with a fear of being ‘abused’ and ‘attacked’ by others and I explore what is actually within and behind this fear – to stand up from and within it and gift myself a deeper understanding of how I’ve come to create who I am today, so that I can make a directive decision as to who I am going to be from this moment, giving myself a clean slate through writing this pattern out and having a look at it for myself, to see what it actually is that happens when I go into this fear.
In relation to this, I recently listened to an audio recording that assisted me to further identify this pattern that’s been playing without within and through my relationship with my partner. The audio recording is about why our experiences in our relationships tend to be so much stronger than with other people and goes on to explain how our partners serve as a mirror for ourselves. The recording is titled Intensity – Relationship Success Support
The basic essence of this pattern is a fear of being abused and then a play-out of reactions towards the belief/perception of being abused.
Now, when I say being ‘abused’ in this context, it is based on the mind’s interpretation of abuse, which I will get back to, but it is basically the fear of being ridiculed, mocked, made fun of and judged – especially in a moment when sharing/expressing myself in vulnerability.
As I looked through my memories to see where this pattern started, two memories stood out:
The first memory is from when I was around 6 years old. I had brought my beloved teddy bear to school and the reason why my reaction was so strong to the particular unfolding of events was because I had projected an extensive amount of feelings and emotions into the teddy bear. (There’s actually several amazing audio recording from Eqafe about this point as well that explains why and how children do this:
So I had brought my teddy bear to school and this older boy, I remember him as being almost an adult but logically when I look back at it now, he was probably not older than twelve (still double my age at the time) – he asked if he could see my teddy bear. I gave it to him and he then took my teddy bear and teased me that he was going to kill it.
In my little child mind that teddy bear was like my best friend. I wanted it to be alive. I obviously knew that he couldn’t kill it for real, but at the same time I reacted as though he was really trying to kill it. So he would run around with it mocking me and I remember that he eventually made a noose and hung my teddy bear from the ceiling.
Something I also remember is that this was a boy that I had respected and looked up to and I reacted very much to the fact that such an older boy would do something like that to me. I felt completely helpless and powerless and I was very angry and felt betrayed afterwards.
The other memory is from when I was around twelve and I had gotten my first boyfriend. One day he confided in me that he was actually adopted. I was shocked and wasn’t sure how to handle this secret and at the same time I found it very exciting. He had asked me not to tell anyone, but I told my best friend who was actually his childhood friend. He promptly came and broke up with me, telling me that he wasn’t really adopted and that it was a test he had given me to see if I was loyal. I always suspected that my friend had been in on it and that there was more to this story than either of them led on.
Here, the same thing happened as in the previous memory, where I felt betrayed and deceived by a male that I looked up to and respected.
So based on these memories and other memories of the same nature, I developed this pattern of expecting people (and males in particular) to abuse me if I were to open myself up to them and share myself with them. I have then carried this pattern through into my relationships where it will be triggered, for example if my partner laughs at something I’ve done. In that moment, the mind will associate the laughter with the laughter of the older boy from the first memory and will interpret the situation as though I am being mocked and deceived. I will then go into a defense mechanism and all the anger and powerlessness will resurface.
So my partner might be asking me an innocent question with absolutely no hidden agenda within it, but I will immediately jump to the conclusion that he’s being mean or spiteful or manipulative and that I should pull back and make myself hard inside and not allow myself to be vulnerable and open up. This then obviously has the consequence that I then don’t allow myself to be vulnerable with my partner, or with myself – and I’ve realized that I actually have a general underlying fear of something like this happening with anyone that I meet. So whenever I meet someone, I will calculate and asses where they’re at, whether they’re out to get me or not, whether I can potentially run into trouble – and will so accordingly adjust my expression and myself to avert any potential ‘attack’ from behind.
Because see, this is a significant part of the pattern where, in the past I was simply here expressing myself, like being with my teddy bear in school or rather innocently telling my friend that my boyfriend was adopted partly out of excitement and partly because I didn’t know what to do with the information – and both times I got blitzed. I then concluded (at least on a subconscious level) that it was because I was not on guard/paying attention. I thereby made the decision to be extra careful and aware of where other people are in relation to me, and whether there’s a possibility of me being attacked – because I never again wanted to experience being ‘caught off guard’ like that.
This is obviously no way to live, because it eventually evolved into a constant state of paranoia and fearful alertness and because I believed I had to remain in that state of mind, I also never fully allowed myself to be vulnerable with another person – let alone myself.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to come to accept it as normal and as a normal part of my daily state of being, to be paranoid, anxious and on guard towards other people, to such an extent that I am not even aware of how paranoid, anxious and on guard I am because it has become so much a part of me, that I don’t even pay attention to it anymore
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to exist within a constant state of survival, where I’m constantly analyzing situations and other people to determine whether or not an ‘attack’ is under way, whether I need to protect or defend myself – to the point where this has become something I’ve identified positively with, as a self-protective mechanism that makes me feel more safe around other people, within believing that I can essentially control a situation and myself within it, so that I can circumvent any possible ‘attack’ – when actually this is based on a fear of being powerless, towards being ‘caught off guard’ where I CAN’T control the situation or myself within it, because the consequence has already played out and it is too late to do anything about it
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to define ‘controlling a situation’ from the starting-point of me taking actions to circumvent another being angry with me, judging me or feeling negatively towards me in any way, where the part about me controlling the situation is when I feel and am satisfied that I have averted potential emotional ‘danger’ – when the fact of the matter is that I can never control what goes on within another person or how they react to me, and as such I’ve been trying to control my own emotions through trying to control my external reality within and as believing that it is my external reality that is responsible for and the cause of my emotional experience
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to justify and defend my analytical strategies towards getting people on my good side, within and as consciously defending it as a good ability to have, that there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with wanting to make people like me and that I should cater and bend to make others like me and that if they don’t – it is my fault and because there’s something wrong with me – instead of realizing that how others react to or see me and how I experience and define myself are two different things
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to change my definition and experience of myself based on how I perceive others reacting to me, where I then, if they are angry with me or mocking me or judging me take that personally and define myself according to it and if they are adoring me and looking up to me or feeling compassionate towards me I define myself according to that – thus making others reactions towards me an existential matter that determines who I am here, when in fact, the only one that do that – is me
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to fear being with or being near other people, in situations where any form of confrontation or attack could/might possibly happen, where I can possibly be caught off guard by not being attentive for even a second – not realizing that it is not actually the people that I fear, but in fact that which they represent to me in this context, which is the fear of being caught off guard and thus being powerless to others reacting negatively to me and me then taking that personally and defining myself according to it
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to hold onto and perpetuate a constant preconceived belief and expectation that others might possibly ‘attack’ me if I am not on guard and so closely monitor their words and body language to scan for any possible indications that an ‘attack’’ is coming so that I can be prepared and so that I can prevent such an ‘attack’ if possible
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create and hold onto a preconceived assumption that others are out to get me, especially in situations where there is potential for me to open up and be vulnerable – thereby causing myself to shut down before I let it get that far, because I associate being vulnerable and open with not being on guard and not being attentive to possible ‘attacks’
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to intently analyze and calibrate another’s words to determine and decide whether there is something that could lead to an ‘attack’/’abuse’ and then when I perceive that there is – I initiate a self-defense strategy of either ‘attacking’ them before they can attack me or by trying to get them on my good side by alleviating that which I see caused the potential future attack/abuse
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create a perpetual conflicted/polarized experience/perception of myself where I, on one hand when I perceive that others are out to abuse/attack me verbally, believe that their anger/judgment/ridicule directed towards me is valid where I then try to get them on my good side in a state of inferiority within taking their words personally — AND/OR where I go into blame and resentment projected towards them within seeing/experiencing myself as an unjust victim of abuse through which I then justify a ‘counter-attack’
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to define my general relationship with others, and especially when it comes to the physical situation of people being nearby or coming by me or over to me – through an energetic experience of fear of being abused/attacked because I have associated such situations (which are so general that they happen every day and all the time) – with the memory of feeling/believing that I was being abused/attacked in a moment of ‘weakness’ where I let my guard down and allowed myself to open up and be vulnerable, especially through having held on to and defined myself according to the memory of my first boyfriend who I believed confided in me and who I then experienced turned against me based on what I perceived to be an innocent mistake on my part and the memory of the boy whom I looked up to and respected that took my teddy bear and threatened to kill it and by whom I felt mocked and powerless against because he was so much bigger/older than me
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create and hold onto an energetic attachment towards the memory of the older boy who took my teddy bear and threatened to kill it, where I still hold it against him and resent him for teasing a small child when he was much older, where I go into a state of separation in experiencing myself as an adult wanting to protect and defend myself as that small child that I see as weak and powerless
Based on this, I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to hold onto and define myself as weak and powerless, especially when it comes to what I perceive as being mocked by males and as such that I have to empower and strengthen myself by defending and protecting myself, not realizing that I’ve separated myself into two polarized states existing simultaneously and that I only feel the need to be strong in that way, because I believe myself to be weak
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create an emotional attachment where I’ve separated a part of myself as self-care and self-love into my teddy bear, that I then feared losing when the boy threatened to kill it – when in fact I realize that I in that moment, did see the ridiculousness of the situation and how it was merely a simulation as my teddy bear was not a real ‘companion’ in the sense of the attributes I had projected onto it and as such this moment could actually have assisted me to see this, had I not opted to take it personal and channel my energy of ‘care’ and ‘love’ into the teddy bear, thus reacting with equal measure of fear and petrification towards it being ‘killed’ – even though I knew it wasn’t real
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to hold onto and define myself based on an experience of shock when my first boyfriend came and told me that he would no longer be with me, because I had been disloyal and that everything he had said to me had been a lie, as a test he was giving me to test my loyalty – where I felt completely caught off guard and unjustly treated, and betrayed by my friend and my boyfriend, because I suspected that there was more to the story than they lead on, such as him wanting an excuse to break up with me so that they could be together
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to react within panic and petrification towards a situation of consequence playing out where it is too late to change, where I’ve already made a mistake that I can’t go back and change, such as telling my friend about my boyfriend being adopted – and so after this decide that I would never again be caught off guard like this and that I would be more attentive towards others so that I could prevent something like this from happening ever again
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to tell my friend about my boyfriend being adopted, because I didn’t know what to do with the information, in terms of how to talk to him about it or how to support him in it, which is why I went to her because she knew him better than me – but then also within and behind that telling this secret from a starting-point of gossiping as an energetic excitement towards something different happening, where I did betray his confidence and I did make a mistake
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to take it personal and on the one hand judge and blame myself for what I’ve done and on the other, judge and blame my boyfriend for deliberately deceiving me and creating a trap for me
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not ever forgive my boyfriend for deceiving me and not forgiving me when I made a mistake and instead since then hold onto blame towards him and towards myself
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to react with shock towards realizing that I’ve been deceived, that I was caught off guard and that I didn’t see it coming – and based on this making the decision to instill a point of always being ‘on guard’ within myself
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create and go into an automated state of fear and anxiety, ranging on panic whenever I hear someone in the hallway or whenever I hear someone coming towards me but I can’t yet see the person/people but only hear them, where I immediately run and get out of their line of sight so that they don’t see me, just in case I don’t look good or there’s otherwise something wrong with me or they’ll think there’s something wrong with me – so that I don’t have to be confronted with potential ‘abuse’
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to define ‘abuse’ and ‘attack’ in this context as the experience I create and generate in myself when I feel caught off guard by another and trigger a negative experience of fear/shock/powerlessness within myself – where the other person might not have abused me in fact, but where because I feel abused, I then define them as having abused me, while all along – I was the one who created the experience within myself
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create and participate in a positive energetic experience towards people that immediately confront me or scream at me or otherwise express their anger or negative emotions towards me directly and openly, because within such situations I feel much more at ease and in control of myself because there is no ‘blitz attack’ or no ‘attack from behind’ and so I can much better calibrate and analyze how to ameliorate the situation so as to bring the conflict back to harmony between myself and the other person
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to justify within myself attacking others either before or during what I perceive as them attacking me, where I actually do exactly that which I fear being done onto me
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create and participate in a negative energetic experience of total panic, desperation and powerlessness when I don’t know where others stand in relation to me, when they don’t share, when I think something’s wrong and they say everything is fine, when they’re standing and talking out of my reach – basically any situation that prevents me from what I experience as me taking control over the situation by analyzing it and devising a subsequent ‘battle plan’
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create, hold onto and experience myself as a small child that is totally powerless towards the abuse/attack, and so believe I must protect myself through analyzing the situation and creating a plan of how to prevent/abate any potential attacks – when in fact I now have a vocabulary and I have tools to support myself with and so in such an event that someone was indeed verbally attacking me or mocking me or ridiculing me – I would be able to direct the situation, because I have a much greater understanding of myself and of the mind in general and so I also understand that when someone attacks or mocks others, it does in fact have nothing to do with the person they mock or verbally attack, as they are reacting because of something in them that they see projected onto the other. As such I have the tools to direct such a situation without taking it personally and there’s no need for me to hold onto this archaic self-protection system in and through which I’ve isolated and secluded myself inside myself
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to fear letting this self-defense system go, within and as fearing and believing that if I do i will be vulnerable and open to attacks, because I won’t be on guard anymore – when in fact, what I am letting go of is merely the fear of being abused. This doesn’t mean that I can’t still be aware and alert to what’s going on around me, maybe even more so now – but it won’t be from a starting-point of fear and paranoia and I won’t have to constantly analyze others/situations out of fear, but can allow myself to naturally and in self-trust and open curiosity explore and be open towards understanding what’s happening in another or in a particular situation because I no longer take it personally or define myself according to it
When and as I see myself participate in thoughts of paranoia towards how others might see/react to me – I stop myself and I breathe.
I realize that it is going to take a process of diligence and commitment for me to stop this pattern as it has become automated and integrated, like an undercurrent – so I commit myself to apply myself within and as diligence and patience to stop this pattern of paranoia towards being abused/attacked by others.
When and as I see that I am analyzing another’s words and body language to asses whether an attack is coming, I stop myself and I breathe.
I realize that I’ve been analyzing people’s words and body language from a starting-point of fear and that I’ve generated and accumulated a lot of energy by doing this, through submitting myself to and trying to soothe my fear – not actually to direct any possible attack or abuse
As such, I commit myself to learn how to effectively direct and understand verbal abuse and attacks and I commit myself to not take it personally, when or as another is indeed verbally attacking me, within realizing that it has nothing to do with me
When and as I find myself caught off guard, within my actions have created consequences that cannot be ameliorated that I wasn’t prepared for, I stop and I breathe.
I realize that it is impossible for me to control all situations and all outcomes and to always have people like me and be favorable towards me.
I realize that it’s not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ to make mistakes and that it simply means that there’s a point of me to correct within myself and align to what is best for all
So I commit myself to stop taking it personally when I’ve made a mistake that’s created consequences and to instead immediately look at how I can correct/amend the point so as to prevent it in the future
When and as I see that I’m reacting to what I perceive to be another’s reaction towards me, where I take it personal and define myself according to how they’re reacting, I stop and I breathe.
I realize that I’m not actually defining myself according to another’s reaction, but according to my reaction to their reaction – and so it doesn’t have anything to do with them, because it was all created by me within my mind
I realize that whatever the case, I am always the one deciding who I am, no matter how others react – and so it is up to me to self-honestly see and take responsibility for who I am and whether or not a change is required
I commit myself to stop defining myself according to and change my experience of myself based on how I see that others see me.
Artwork by Andrew Gable.
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