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Dealing with the fear

(8 Posts)
Paralysed Tue 27-Dec-16 11:27:57

I've been in therapy for a year and a bit, trying to deal with anxiety and unhappiness. (I won't call what I experience "depression", although that clearly is an awful thing: i experience deep unhappiness caused by specific aspects of my life, not an illness.)

Anyway, a huge part of this is rooted in fear: fear of being seen, fear of disapproval (parents, friends, spouse). The scariest thing in the world to me is saying what I feel - being honest about what makes me angry and hurt. I'm stuck in a teenage pattern of not wanting to make the changes I need to make in my life in large part because of what it'll do to my parents, if you can believe that. I'm stuck in a marriage where we both bottle up our anger and hurt because we're so scared of expressing it.

Therapy has made me realise that my parents made me hugely responsible as a teenager for their happiness. I got a scholarship to an expensive school where the fees still nearly bankrupted them. I was badly bullied there for 5 years and never told them, because I knew the sacrifice they were making to send me there. I acted up instead, and was really difficult. Eventually I "grew out of" being troublesome but essentially the sort of family narrative was always that I was naughty - nobody ever asked me if I was unhappy, or why I might be. I was a bad kid. So I buried the badness and learned to be good and became academically and materially pretty successful.

But anyway, long story short, my apparent success is built on sand. It's all a lie, I'm living a life I hate and I need to change things, but the fear of being "bad" is just fucking paralysing.

Does anyone have any experience of moving past fear of disapproval and dealing honestly with people? I hate what a coward I am, I hate what my cowardice does to those around me and feel massively responsible for maintaining everyone's illusions about me and thus their happiness. I know this isn't true, that I have to live my own life and not in fear of others, but I've internalised this fear so badly and I don't know how to reveal myself honestly. I just glue up. I can't move. I only exist inside myself, nobody knows me. How can I begin to be honest?

Paralysed Tue 27-Dec-16 11:29:52

Sorry that was very rambling and didn't make much sense. And please don't tell me to snap out of it and nut up. If it was simple I would've done it already. I need to start somewhere. Where?

RedastheRose Tue 27-Dec-16 11:59:29

I think that first things first, you need to try a different therapist or type of therapy because if you have been seeing a therapist for a year they should have been able to help you with this. It is very difficult to change ingrained habits of behaviour but it is possible with the right professional assistance but that's not something that you will get on MN. Research alternative therapists and find one who you feel really comfortable with.

Paralysed Tue 27-Dec-16 12:06:32

I do feel comfortable with my therapist but it's slow going with me. There's no-one in the world I can tell everything to, but she's brought me such a long way. I'm 38. There's a lot of unfreezing to do, and a year of fortnightly sessions isn't much in the scheme of things.

sixteenclumsyandshy Tue 27-Dec-16 12:07:13

I know much of what you are saying. You are living with fear and it is preventing you living the life you want to. It almost needs a crisis point to be reached when the contempt for your current life overcomes the fear of making a change. I also think there is something else here. Are you perhaps afraid of never making the change and of dying having only ever been frustrated and unhappy? For me, this is one of the keys. If you let go of this fear, not easy but not impossible either, well change may come more easily. There will be frustrations and so on anyway, so I would not fear and not be too hard on yourself if you do not find the courage to make a change. You are looking for it, you just havent found it yet. So please do not be too hard on yourself. DM if you want a further chat

Paralysed Tue 27-Dec-16 12:07:43

For what it's worth, most of my therapy has been about an anxiety-related breakdown I had at work and I've been reluctant until quite recently to move into more personal areas.

Paralysed Tue 27-Dec-16 12:10:13

sixteen, thank you - yes, that is a fear. I want a life. I'll try to think about what you say about letting go of that.

myoriginal3 Tue 27-Dec-16 12:12:06

What are the 'bad' things you want to do?
Unless it's criminal in nature, I think we may be able to help you label them more positively? Do you think that might help?

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