6.3 Examining Fears

Fears develop from our survival instinct and a deep (primal) desire to avoid pain. To avoid pain, it’s natural that as children we learn to develop defensive coping techniques. Lying, hiding, blaming, secret-keeping, denial, omission, sadly keep us “safe”. With repetition, if these strategies are moderately successful, defensiveness will become a learned and “conditioned” coping skill. Over time, though, especially if legitimate resentments accumulate, these strategies typically fail. This failure may result in a blend of anxiety, depression, and self-loathing that influences the development of our personality and can lead to avoidance and procrastination.  

An adult who experienced physical abuse in early years, may still inwardly retreat or shy away from physical affection or being touched. If they’re in a relationship, they may try hard to meet their partner’s needs for intimacy, wearing a mask of enthusiasm, or feigning passionate interest. But deep down, they may feel like a fraud, an imposter or a character on stage. They may feel that somehow because of their past, they’re “damaged goods.” The fear that keeps them stuck in this “show” is that if they were honest, they’d lose the trust and respect of their partner. If this is part of your life experience, individual counseling may be beneficial for recovery.

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