Monthly Archives: June 2007

What are you afraid of?

My friend’s therapist asked her that yesterday. It’s been a long time since my therapist has asked me that. She answered “semi-truthfully”. I totally understand that answer. I made a pact with myself when I first started seeing my therapist not to lie to her, but sometimes it’s really hard. I have on a couple of occasions anyway. What’s the point in lying to my therapist? I’m paying her to listen to my neurotic thoughts and help me figure life out. If I lie, I sort of handicap that process, right? Only, sometimes the reasons we lie are complicated. I lied to her once because I was ashamed of the real answer, so I lied to save face. If I’m lying to save face, I care what she thinks ABOUT me. I’m supposed to care what she thinks about how I’m living my life or how things have affected me. I don’t really think I’m supposed to care what she thinks about my moral character. And then, in order to save the facade of my moral character, I abused my moral character by lying, which is against my value system. The other time I lied straight-faced to her was when I wasn’t ready to deal with something yet. I corrected it before the end of the session and resolved to just say that “I’m not ready to deal with that right now” instead of lying. The lying made me anxious. Having an anxious personality to begin with, lying doesn’t help me.

But what I really intended to talk about was “what are you afraid of?”  That’s such a good question. In a nice bit of irony, I’m kind of afraid of that question, because it makes me think about and look at things I don’t want to look at or think about.  In no REAL order of importance, just in the order they came to me:

  1. Being alone in the world.
  2. Trusting people.
  3. Having no income.
  4. Having no place to live.
  5. Not having enough income to pay the bills.
  6. Finding someone I love dead.
  7. Finding anyone dead.
  8. Being hurt intentionally in some horrible way. (rape, torture, physical attack, etc.)
  9. Being hurt in some way that incapacitates me so that I cannot do things at all for myself.
  10. Going blind.
  11. Getting Alzheimers.
  12. Having one of my kids get badly hurt or hurt themselves.
  13. Being “found out” that I can’t really do this or that as well as I try to make it look.
  14. Finding out that there is no God, that everything is by chance and accident. (Ironic since this was my belief until a few years ago.)
  15. Being humiliated.
  16. Scary movies.
  17. Spiderwebs.
  18. Being left out.
  19. Not belonging.
  20. Losing my parents.
  21. Having a loved one go through a long slow painful death.
  22. Living in a post-apocalyptic world, scrambling to survive.
  23. Being abandoned.
  24. Pain.

It strikes me that dying isn’t on my list. I’m not afraid to die particularly. I’m afraid to have it hurt. I’m afraid of anything that will be painful. This makes perfectly good sense. I think there is a sensibility to avoiding pain.

But when this question comes from my therapist, most of those answers aren’t what she’s looking for. She wants to know what I’m afraid of that is making me do or not do something. In the past these were some very driving issues for me. I’m a little more secure in myself than I used to be, but these were my main issues.

  1. Why am I afraid to get a new job?
  2. Why am I afraid of people not liking me?
  3. Why am I afraid of my relationship not working out?
  4. Why am I afraid to believe in God.
  5. Why don’t I trust people?

That list wasn’t intended to be in any particular order, but looking over it I’d say it is after all. The lesser of the scary stuff to the scariest stuff at the bottom. “Why don’t I trust people?” really means “Why are you off the charts afraid of trusting people?”.  Clearly I’m not afraid to share my thoughts. I’ve always been a pretty transparent person. But I’ve never ever ever trusted anyone to be there for me if I needed them. I’ve hoped. I’ve counted on people and been pleased and I’ve counted on people and been disappointed. But I’ve never completely trusted anyone to help me when I need it. I know my husband should be on the list. For the most part he is. But I know that sadly I am too afraid to completely trust anyone. It’s a failing in me, not him, nor anyone else. I do trust him completely to a point. The point being if he started acting strangely, eventually I would become suspicious and stop trusting him until I figured out what was going on and if it was a threat to me or not.

I would say that I’m naturally suspicious of people, but I doubt that suspiciousness comes naturally. I think it’s a learned thing. So sometime, somewhere, suspicious people learn that response to any unusual stimuli. I can practically smell my kids lying. My brain goes into overdrive to figure out what is really going on. However, I can say that I have finally learned to not be suspicious with my husband. That’s a learned response too.  And that’s definitely a plus.

What are you afraid of? Everything and nothing.  Mostly I think we’re just afraid to hurt.


Hangin’ Round, Talking To Myself

I guess I just have nothing much to say?

1. Played World of Warcraft all weekend, mostly pvp (player vs. player) in the battlegrounds in capture the flag games. Good times.
2. Tried to do nice things for my honey on Father’s Day.  Cleaned the garage, kitchen, etc.
3. Tried to hot tub…. first time TOO HOT, can’t get in, second time NICE, but not hot ENOUGH! ( I feel like Goldilocks) Will try again tonight or tomorrow.
4. Still obsessively playing Freecell….. why? I have no clue.
5. Started a new medication today that has possible side effects of nausea. Oh goody! So far, so good.
6. I’m tired. Would like nap NOW plz. kthxbai!
7. Kinda missing my girly girl, but I’m glad she’s having a good time.
8. Need to get cracking on short essays for seminary admissions application. Due in 2 weeks. eek!
8. Yep, that’s about it.

Happy Anniversary!

Today is the 5th anniversary for my husband and me. It’s actually the 5th anniversary of our “big” wedding, but it’s the one we celebrate. We got married legally a few months before our wedding for insurance reasons when I got laid off work. However, that was his birthday, and so in order to not lose his birthday, we celebrate the June wedding instead of the March marriage.

As of later this year we will have been together for 10 years, minus a month here and there in the beginning during our “we’re a couple!” “no, we’re not a couple!” stage. I could never have pictured myself being with someone that long back then, not because I didn’t desire that, but my record was 3 years, and that included some extended absences on his part (him living on the lam, then being in jail, you know: the usual), and before that 2 years with even more extended absences (work related), so one could say I didn’t really know what it was like to be with someone all the time for more than about a year.

I have to say that I can’t quite believe it’s been 10 years. I’ve helped raise his children. I’ve seen him go through huge changes. I’ve gone through huge changes. Yet, here we are, still together, still in love. Not that it’s not a challenge, but it’s a worthy challenge. I love being married. I love knowing that neither of us considers divorce an alternative to the work of a marriage. I love knowing that even when we argue, we’ll both be there in the morning, and we’ll still love each other. (This particular bit is a huge issue of mine from my childhood.) There is always a light at the end of the tunnel because even in our dark moments I know that eventually we’ll get things worked out because we won’t allow ourselves to do otherwise.

Marriage requires sacrifice, and we’re all selfish, so that’s hard, especially when one person does more sacrificing for a period of time. We’ve both been in that position now. But the goal is to give and sacrifice at the same time as they are giving and sacrificing, so that we are both getting as much as we’re giving. Choosing to love someone when you don’t FEEL loving is hard, but what a paradigm shift from “I’ll love you when you’re lovable, and I won’t when you’re not, it’s all about me and my feelings”. That’s the one I learned growing up.

My marriage makes me a better person, in lots of ways. Iron sharpens iron, and rising to the challenges of daily life makes me grow and expand my sense of self, and helps me understand that sense of oneness between two people. The hard times are hard, but the good times are GREAT!!

Happy Anniversary John, I Love You!!!