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emotions 101 Vol.II

guilt and fear

quick note: no, I am not focussing more on these 'negative' emotions more than on the more pleasant ones like joy and contentment I am just dealing with these first because these seem to create mor problems than the hedonistic ones.
 
4) fear

Fear is very akin to anger. it is a changer of state. It often also gets intermingled with anger, because we don't like to be afraid. Now, these days fear is an emotion which gets lots of airtime, but not so much in relationships, there it often is reducded to fear of loss (jealousy inducing) . We get taught to be afraid of external things: rejection, strangers, dark alleys, free roaming lions even fear of spiders is rather acceptable.

The thing about fear is, that it is one of the most skilled emotions in overwriting your ratio, your brain. Whereas anger overwrites your higher brainfunctions to the point you are trembling from inaction, and quite visibly taking over. Fear acts more sneaky. It does dreate teh illusion that it is rational. Because fear is openly serving a purpose and that purpose in generally accepted, the only thing you need to do to still be able to consider yourself reaonable in your fear, justified even is finding/creating a reason. now if fear is a factor in a relationship (and on some level it is in almost all more complex human interaction) that makes things difficult. Very difficult.

fear is basically a notification of warning "this COULD be a potentially dangerous situation, be careful". It is not actually a judgement ON the reality of the situation. fear is per se bias oriented. not necessesarily stereotypical bias: if I have only ever had pleasant interactions with criminals, then, my fear of them is going to be limited whatever otehr people say. However, if I only have one dangerous interaction then teh social reinforcement will work its way into me. Social bias creates a predisposition. It was meant to serve as a 'educating' tool. if people you learned to trust tell you something you are inclined to agree or at least not question it, if these messages get enough reinforcement then you will take them to be the truth. this is how education always work.

so, if fear is a notification of. this COULD be a potentially dangerous situation: take care. then, it does ipso facto not mean/translate into: this IS a dangerous situation, it needs to be avoided at all cost. Ronja, the robbers daughter (astrid lindgren), had it right. if you don't play by the river, you can not take care not to fall into it, for how can you take care not to slip, if there is nothing slippery. in our present day often enough fear has become a prohibiter, don't dress so provocatively; don't provoke; don't eat raw egg; never eat you meat without cooking it thrugh throroughly, disinfect everything, ...leading up to: do not ever take airplanes....

fear is a useful thing. It makes you take care. Taking care, being mindfu of things, dangers too, is a good thing. leading a disinfected life, however, is not necessarily a good thing at all. So, what am I afraid of? I remeber paniking when my husband took my 2 year old daughter onto a Ferris wheel for the first time. Or when he flew with her to my parents for teh first time r. It was an awful feeling and it only went away with him calling me savely from their place, and when I held her in my arm again. I was truly paniking both times. My heartbeat sped up, I started to feel sick in my stomach and was obsessivly analysing the situation. I maintained the level of anxiety for what seemd forever but was in reality a few minutes in one case and a dew hours in teh other. I could maintain without screaming and crying because while I analysed the -then very new situations- vigorously and my brain was able to keep control. I focussed on the unlikylhood of a plane crash and held on to that for dear life until that phone call came, but I cried and I felt terribly unreasonable and very inadequate. BUt it was new, and giving birth to my first child had altered a lot in my personlity due to a rather sudden shift from a higly competetive environment into motherhood and a tsunami od oxtycin that comes with long breastfeeding.

But I understand fear as a paralyser. I just think that that is NOt its primary function. Thus I make shamelss use of crutches: traveltalisman for my world jetting husband, prayers, protection spells you name it. Whatever it is that I need to feel secure even though I am not in control of a given situtaion.

Fear is meant as a warning, it alerts you. If you are on constant alert, it either loses it meaning or teh pressure needs to be increased to be sustained.

(a) fear of loss

Now fear of loss is a curious thing. Us humans we seem to dislike losing something terribly much. regardless of its objective worth, there seems to be a built in reaction of : loss is a bad thing. a very bad thing. at the same time we understand the concept of giving up something to gain something else, how,ever that 'deal' seems to be less visceral of a problem. If you suffer from fear of loss, you have other relationship issues as a person who suffers from fear of rejection. the funny thing though is, that people don't seem to have a variety of tools on how to tdeal with those fears. on the design level that does make sense as fear is meant as a momentary 'cautionary command'. all it wants us to do is: take care, pay attention and it lets the peronsality take it from there.but if a certain fear is dominat of prevelent in your life then that advise is not only not helpful it is confusing and since teh person has paid attention before and lost, and since the person has tried to be careful and still lost that clearly seems to be not what fear means and all they have left is letting their subconsious take over.

and the subconcious (or mr/ms. Weasely as I call it) is sneaky. It has much much more than just its own agenda. It has a mulitude.It has not regard for manners and apropriateness when it comes to running your live it is not terribly useful, it is good for making sense of your feelings. and people seem to desperately need sense. So, it will give you a feeling and supply sense if you want to. It used to be easier: you got hit by an avalanche: clearly you angered Rübezahl. YOur daughter got terribly sick? somebody set a curse on her. etc etc.

Bad for the scapegoats, but it kept your view of teh world intact. Now, us rational overthinkers, we don't have that many scapegoats any more. except, we do: the hot red haired secretary (never mind that she is not interetsed in your guy), the muslims, the Fox peeps (though of course they ARE true villains ;)) the doctors... we still do essentially the same than our pre enlightnement ancestors: we find a target to attack, never mind that this attack is Not going to help the goal: which is prevent loss.

Most people know only one way out of fear. and that is ACTION. ANGER induces action and prevents thinking, so it is summond more often than not, out of fear.
there is another way. It is not pretty. and it is freaking long. but it is called thinking. thinking against all the odds your body is stacking.

While anger is bad for your thinking process, fear actually oftern induces thinking, rapid obsessive thinking. fear is meant as analysis inducment. the only (and I mean that as descriptive of being just one thing, not it being easy) thing you need to do is harness this predisposition to think into a farce of analysing your problem at hand. To not get stuck in the first thing that comes to your mind, but use the pbsessive repetetive think bubbles to truly look at teh problem from all sides. get a better undertsanding of it. Find that the problem with your husband may not be that he is working late because of that secretary, but that maybe there is something wrong in your relationship and he tries to avoid you and then ask him about that. and maybe...there is simply a lot of work to be done right now... then you need to let him know about your fears and and your trouble...in eitehr case, bitching and obsessing about how hot the secretary is whill only bring that fact to his /her attention ;) and depending on what the reason for your fear coming to the forefront was, might just be the wrong thing to point the finger at.

(b) fear of rejection

fear of rejection is similar to fear of loss but not entirely the same. now, I don't think I suffer overly from fear of loss (though the idea of loosing my children alone is enough to make me want to puke, but I have been told that that is a good thing ;)) but much more so from a fear/anxiety regarding rejection.

I am an artist. When I paint and when I write (though I can embrace the concept of a variety of tastes much better there) even to a degree when I sew, bake and cook I place a piece of my soul into what I am doing. so given that I suffer from this deep rooted suspicion that I am not good enough for anything I seem also to suffer from quite a bit of masochism though I - naturally - prefer to call that bravery.

I had a vernissage once. It was the most horrific public experience I ever had. Even though I sold quite a bit. even though I herad nothing but kind words. My overactive suspicion had me on edge the entire time for any sign of insincerity of secret judgement of 'having found wanting'. Needless to say that my reaction to the situation was limiting, pointless and absolutely ridiculous, because even if I am no Michelangelo, I am a fairly good 'creator' of things. My sculptures get praise as not kitsch but whimsical and pretty, which is all I am going for anyways. Now I have been above average in 'art' ever since I could hold a pen. SO where does that absolutely unwaranted deep rooted feeling that I am not good enough, that my style isn't personal enough, that my capability isn't anything more than make belief?
I don't know? but I do have my suspicions.
(a) my relationship with my father is , let's call it: difficult. a lot of ambivalence. Very little in teh way of acceptance. I am very alien to him. I understand him better than I care to but am playing the game that he needs in his life out of a mixture of respect, pity, acceptance, loyalty and: do as I was told. I don't doubt that he loves his daughter. but I do doubt that he even likes ME. And there is very little I can do about it
(b) I am different. I weird people out. Maybe because I understand more things than tehy are comfortable with, maybe because I can do way too many things, maybe because I want to be female and insist on being smart while wearing lipstick. When I grew up, that WAS a very weird thing. I confused the heck out of people. Looking back I now, I know that I had lots of friends. Some ofthem even were popular kids. Whoever got to know me better started to like me, or at least seemed to appreciate my input. Heck even the guy who basically bullied me my last years at school apologized at graduation party letting me know that it had never been so much about me as about him. (which was really unfair cause I had such a neat revenge planned, sigh)
My entire life I had to fight against assumptions that have been made about me. And it has taken me until writing this to realize that THAT WAS NOT MY FAULT.

It may well be, that I needed to polish my manners, but I have done that and it didn't cange a thing. maybe I needed to be less pretty to be taken seriously, but I now weigh almost double from what I weighed in School and my face is less inocently pretty. It also may have been true that my voice is a bit clearer that is comfortable, that I do have a bit of a temper and that I tend to be open to a fault and too trusting and too naive. But that wasn't what I have been struggling with. I had to fight against these assumptions just like a lot of other people. But in me it breed this deep seated doubt that somehow I am not OK.

ambivalence is something we don't deal that well with as a species. we tend to want sense. So people try to make sense of it all, but they don't - in general - try very hard. They will subsititute the first correlation for the actual reason. And while I have learned that they are wrong, and - over the course of teh years - I have been right far more times than wrong I still cannot root out thid fear that somehow I am deficient. and underachiever, too lazy, too loud, too dominant, too agressive tooooooo
I suffer from this fear. Deeply suffer. and I have no diea on how to overcome it. Because - and that is teh ridiculous thing: I KNOW that it is not justified.


5) guilt

Guilt is another 'bad' emotion. It also can interfere deeply with our lives. To this day, however, I have only felt it a few times. mostly as a rebellious teenager as a form od very very bad concience. I think Guilt, like failure is a tool to keep us straight. It is a very unpleasant sensation. and rightly so. But it is not meant to be more than a negative reenforcement of : this is wrong. DO NOT DO IT AGAIN.
Other than that I have very little smart to say about it.

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