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... to worry that my own fear (especially of failure) is affecting my kids.

(12 Posts)
didntthinkofthat Mon 16-Jan-17 12:22:10

Does anyone else experience this? I would describe my dominant emotion throughout my life as quite fearful. I have this constant sense that I'm somehow in the wrong, that I'm getting everything wrong (including/especially work), and that I'm going to get found out, and when I am it will be awful.

To a large extent, I have learned to live with this feeling as just part of who I am - I hate it, but mostly I feel the fear and do it anyway (I read the book ages ago, it genuinely helped). If you met me you almost certainly wouldn't know I feel like this.

But I have realised recently though that I might be transferring my own feelings to my kids now they are a bit older. Just one example: my DD wants to take up drama lessons. She's been asking for ages and I have only just done it and I think it might be because I am not sure this is where her talents lie(!) and want to protect her from disappointment I guess.

So this is more about me than her isn't it? Has anyone else had this? What did you do? Did counselling help? I feel that maybe I need to get to the bottom of my own fear to prevent myself passing it on, but counselling is so bloody expensive! And I am not sure whether my case is bad enough to deserve/need it/that counselling would really help.

I am quite nervous about posting this very first world and possibly rather niche problem here, but would be really interested in other people's experiences. You're welcome just to tell me to get a grip.

DJBaggySmalls Mon 16-Jan-17 12:28:00

It sounds like you have imposter syndrome as well as guilt - the feeling that you are winging it and eventually someone is going to find you out. its very common and you would definitely benefit from cognitive behaviour therapy. You really dont have to live with it!

The first time I had valium I felt really weird, and eventually realised that for the first time in my life I wasnt anxious. So went for CBT. Its a complete revelation when you are free from it.

Also, its good to experience some small manageable 'failures'. Not being the worlds best actor doesnt mean you cant enjoy going to an acting group.

CripsSandwiches Mon 16-Jan-17 12:34:46

It does sound like low self esteem and imposter syndrome. Have you tried MoodGym, a free online resource. I think there's always a danger of projecting our own fears onto our kids but the fact that you're so aware of it is a protection. For what it's worth,my mum always tried to protect us from failure and I picked up on that and taught me that failure was something to be feared and avoided. I think it's far better to be realistic and treat failure as part of putting yourself out there and trying something new.

I wouldn't worry too much though you sound like a wonderful, thoughtful mum!

didntthinkofthat Mon 16-Jan-17 12:38:56

That's interesting djbaggy, thanks for responding. Yes, guilt! I feel guilty all the time! Not sure this is the best place to mention class a drug use, but in the (very) old days I did take ecstasy from time to time - it was a revelation initially, possibly in the same way. But didn't lead me to CBT. You're right about the acting, and I know that I am over-thinking it on her behalf. The thing is she responds to 'failure' the same way I do (internally) - very black and white, says she's terrible at everything, everybody hates her, etc. I want to help, not make it worse. Perhaps CBT is the way to go.

didntthinkofthat Mon 16-Jan-17 12:41:03

Thanks Crips, that's really lovely - I'll have a look at MoodGym.

Atenco Mon 16-Jan-17 12:45:46

Yes, get some help for this, OP. I involuntarily passed some of my anxieties on to my dd and really wish now I had worked on them in time.

HeyRoly Mon 16-Jan-17 12:54:52

I feel like I could have written a lot of your OP, especially the way you have adapted to live with this "feeling" as it's just a normal state of being for you.

Have you considered that it might be anxiety, and you've suffered with it all your life? Because I had a revelation fairly recently when I realised that that applied to me. I would have called myself shy, an introvert, a lifelong "worrier", but now I finally see that it's anxiety. Literally never considered myself an anxiety sufferer because anxiety was just normal to me.

I haven't sought help because I'm not sure what the solution would be. Although I have let it hold me back in life (never brave or extrovert enough to carve out a successful career, etc) I don't feel like I need the help right now.

I do worry when I see anxiety in my child though. I desperately don't want her to turn out like me.

didntthinkofthat Mon 16-Jan-17 13:46:33

Hi HeyRoly, thanks for responding, you're absolutely right, I think it is a form of anxiety (which manifests itself as imposter syndrome/guilt/self-esteem issues, or perhaps those feelings are what make me anxious, not sure)! And same as you, I feel it's so much part of me that I simply can't imagine ever being rid of it. It's quite tiring though - my DH often asks why I'm so tired, and I try to explain to him that feeling this anxious all the time while acting like nothing is happening is EXHAUSTING!! I recognise it as a personality type in my DD, but also can see that it must be amplified by issues around you as you grow up. I am pretty sure that my Mum feels the same as me, so to some extent, I think she passed it on (though I don't blame her for that at all, she had her own stuff going on).

corythatwas Mon 16-Jan-17 14:39:25

We have something similar running through our family and as far as dd is concerned drama lessons have been a real saviour: it's a safe space where everybody looks a bit of an idiot and nobody cares- it's very liberating.

If you are talking youth theatre, it is usually far less competitive and angst-ridden than your average nativity play (probably because of less parental involvement).

user1483981877 Mon 16-Jan-17 15:05:18

Yep, this absolutely rings true for me as well and it has been great to really discuss it openly in therapy. Rather than it being this dirty little secret I carry around. I would say go for it, get it out, and then you can ensure it doesn't pass on.

didntthinkofthat Mon 16-Jan-17 15:20:48

User - did you have to get over any sort of English reticence in order to engage in therapy? I feel guilty to even consider it because essentially I'm OK. I didn't have a terrible childhood or anything, just normal stuff, and I think I know to some extent why I feel l like I do. I also have a DH who while sympathetic, has no real idea how I feel, so it feels like a big ask to suggest I am going to spend so much money on myself. I don't blame him at all for that, because I manage it quite well I guess, so it's difficult to really see. I guess I see therapy as something you have if you are really on the edge! I on the other hand just feel constantly scared about nothing really, and that I'm failing badly, all the time, and I don't want that to harm my kids.

user1483981877 Mon 16-Jan-17 15:48:55

Yes there is a certain amount of just going for it, and the right therapist is essential. You must feel like you can trust them. Trust in yourself also, and your instinct to try and resolve this part of you, I don't think that we are really designed to live constantly in fear even though many of us do.

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