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22-July-2015 / quantumsniper1

Playing ‘peek-a-boo’ : Rooting the fear from relationships

Good people got some bad habits

(Article, 1242 words. Est. 4 mins reading time)

Grant_Wood_-_American_Gothic_-_Google_Art_ProjectNever much thought to tell people how to run their relationships. Especially couples. But after a particularly ‘tough day’ with my spouse of 20+ years, I had an epiphany that others might benefit from. I wrote a letter to us both. It seemed to help us both a lot. And it went something like this …:

“So. Let’s start with the assumption that we are both good people. We’re honest with each other. We try hard.

Let’s also concede we are both well-intentioned, but possibly afraid of certain things. And we don’t like to admit our fears.

Of course it is natural that nobody likes personal criticism. So people are often compelled to shield themselves from critiques. They do this by finding clever defensive ways to deflect criticism. It’s like an excuse not to listen. Often, such defensive tactics may have worked in the past. At least insofar as they reduce the pain of hearing one’s faults in the moment.

What we do wrong

Therefore lets not criticize. Instead just try to root …… out those things that might mess up our time spent together.

I see the following general behaviours as destructive. I’ll call them ‘aberrations’. And the list of these (in no particular order) includes —

  • tendency to hide the truth (lying) if convenient
  • self-pity of any type
  • dependency upon anything (addictions can include people, drugs/alcohol, habits, emotions, chemicals, biological urges or psychological impulses )
  • feeling fear-full or insecure breeds compulsive defensiveness
  • taking a criticism personally injects emotions in place of rationalism
  • seeing oneself always as a victim stops one from being able to admit any contributory responsibility
  • Feeling any sense of jealousy or entitlement.
  • procrastination (a type of fear) denies oneself the opportunity to act, fix, improve, solve issues OR benefit from opportunities.

Each of these above activities or personality traits are false and self-sabotaging. They are destructive. They feed off themselves in a spiral of disease. They negate positive efforts to heal.

Do the right thing

From my occasional reading of womens’ magazines, I’ve learned that when people come to certain realizations, they can repair many aberrations. Including –

  • preferring the unpalatable truth over ANY level of untruth (i.e. such untruth may range from mere diplomacy, to all-out black lie). In EVERY instance, truth should be preferrable.
  • recognizing that fear (in any manifested form) acts as a destroyer (of trust, and of opportunities)
  • habitually purge oneself of making any excuses.
  • being prepared to learn from ones mistakes.
  • accepting responsibility for one’s own and others problems will grow ones character.
  • listening carefully to constructive criticism with the objective of improving ones overall circumstances.
  • habitually force oneself to see the bigger picture. (This is KEY to breaking any cycle of negative thoughts like Depression, Gloom, Grief, Rage, Self-Pity, Victimology, Obsession, Psychological Dependency).
  • take modest risks. Doing so may attract a few losses, but brings many more opportunities.
  • press yourself to invite new experiences. Be inspired !
  • Cultivate a habit of wilfully assessing and critiquing events, people, or situations in one’s environment without judging them. Judging is a selfish act. It invests emotions into the calculation. And emotions are essentially just coping mechanisms that lacks sufficient rationale.
  • taking initiative as and when ones’ partner will not do so.

Forty, Love. Advantage Server.

Do not be afraid of being ‘taken advantage of’. Sure! Be diligent to identify, AND stand up to those who try to rip you off as soon as the opportunity appears. Pointing out to them their shortcoming.

But ultimately, people who NEED to take advantage of you will soon enough reveal their measure. And at the end of the day, your strength is greater if you YIELD small short-term wins to them. Do NOT regret any small losses you might incur in doing so, As it is You who ends up the wiser.

https://i2.wp.com/worth1000.s3.amazonaws.com/submissions/498500/498505_2afd_625x1000.jpg

The Seven Types of Love

Love is often mistaken as a panacea. It is not. Emotionalized love is a form of madness. It subordinates logical thoughts to chaotic emotions. Selfless love is okay.  Please bear in mind that the Greeks identify the “Seven Different kinds of Love

They’re worth naming. They are: Agape. Storge. Pragma. Philautia. Philia. Ludus. Eros.  Click on the link, above for a reminder and short description of the same.

In my experience, the “feelings” associated with common love are untrustworthy. Love founded on a rational view of all factors is less self-motivated, more reliable and trustworthy.  For example, people often say “I’m in love with XYZ“.  But this is like emotional infatuation. It seems to feel good, but it also creates a stinging need and a dependency upon the very existence of the person you claim to love.

Emotionalized love is, I think, not the kind of bond that creates independent self-determined behaviour full of loving grace. Selfless, caring, enduring.  Instead, emotionalized love, (like that heart-thumping feeling of ‘missing someone’), or feelings like lust, are almost like being ‘out of control’.  Anguished, or demanding, or shameful. In fact, love which is ‘felt’ is likely a mere primal evolutionary throwback. (Like being a monkey in a tree, and responding with adrenalized fear at the sound of a leopard’s roar).  Love of that kind was useful as an evolutionary biological urge when prehistoric man nomadically roamed the savannah hunting for food and rutting for offspring. But its a bit less useful in modern civilization.

(F.E.A.R) False Evidence Appearing Real

Essentially, the likely seed of all the problems with people’s (and couples’) behaviour is FEAR. Fear is the key to it all. When we do something, and the emotion attached to the action has an ingredient of fear mixed in … then the whole honeypot is spoiled. Must avoid that activity at all costs.   ANY fear-based behaviour is destructive, negative, and corrosive.

So the trick is to STAND BACK from your every questionable action, and assess whether the action is connected to some kind of fear. If so, don’t go there. These include –

  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of people
  • Fear of commitment
  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of ones’ own body
  • Fear of death
  • Fear of own thoughts
  • Fear of truth
  • Fear of criticism
  • Fear of error
  • Fear of any emotion (we are allowed to have them all… Just in measured doses)

Our future task is to “Search and destroy”, the target is fear. Otherwise we can end up in a fugue of self-pity, eroding away our true self-confidence, and being a slave to our egos, and to an unhappy aberrated relationship. I will call this strategy, this method, this technique “Truth Therapy”.

When approaching your partner with these ideas, remember that Diplomacy should be the servant of truth, not fear.

– QuantumSniper

[Addendum. Thanks to comment from veteran subscriber ‘The Goat Herder’]  It is, perhaps, too adventurous for this one small article to delve too deeply into the genetic, or egoistic origins of Fear. Much less suggest methods to purge, eliminate or reduce any acknowledged Fears through aversion therapy, self-talk, meditation, or health treatments such as hormone balancing, or dependency addiction. I’ve intentionally left those topics for another day. It is surely a high enough accomplishment today at Step One to just comprehend/acknowledge how fear plays such a deep role in so much aberrative human behaviour. And, in line with Jean Piaget’s theories of cognitive development, let us crawl before we walk, walk before we run, &c. Of course, intellect alone will not eradicate Fear, but it can surely point us in the right direction.

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3 Comments

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  1. The Goat Herder / Jul 23 2015 1:54 AM

    This has a lot of different elements. and i agree with most of it. Perhaps there are too many points to pack into a discussion based on the presumption that fear is the root of all things bad. The writer obviously doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t live with out any fear, as this would also be counter productive. It is possible the fear and associated anxiety, panic have links that go back not only to our childhood but also to our parents upbringing and experiences and possibly their parents and so on. You could say that our response to some of life’s challenges are genetic, just like the color of our eyes or baldness or skin color. There are many interesting articles on fear and genetics. you might read, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-our-tendency-to-experi/ . This doesn’t excuse fear or provide a reason why we should all live our lives being fearful but it does explain why not all people have the same ability to, “Control” fear even after cognitive behavior therapy or all the best intentions of people giving advice. Fear goes far deeper than our present living self, it probably goes back generations and will probably take generations to eliminate assuming all goes well.

    I have noted the different types of fear listed and i focus my attention on the fear that occurs during times of crisis and not fear based on jealousy or criticism or commitment etc.

    I do agree that fear can take over and control an otherwise normal person and turn them into a blubbering mess. It is this exact point which i discussed with a young boy recently. Pointing out that humans, but more specificaly parents, may appear to be fearless, strong problem solvers who can probably take on the universe. But i explained some times parents are just fragile human beings who have a sole which can get lost sometimes. Sometimes fear occurs when we feel that the control we have as people is being taken away from us. We can be fearless 99.00% of the time but sometimes fear creeps in and can be uncontrolable even with the best intentions or self talk. Humans In every childs eye their parents are capable of allmost everything. Thats why bombs can be dropping around a child and he/she still finds time to play with friends yet another child will stay inside and hide with parents. There is no one size fits all approach. We are all different, we all react differently. Some cope well others don’t.

    Dr Carmen Harra writes,”Fear is felt in many forms. We may have a fear of flying, a fear of commitment, a fear of the unknown, or at times, all of the above. By definition, “fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined… ” Fear is such a powerful emotion that it can simply override all other feelings, logic or priorities. And no matter how strong or courageous or defiant we are, inevitable circumstances can entangle us in a web of our own fears” She also suggests that we can over come fear in 8 steps. You can read this at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-carmen-harra/overcoming-fear_b_3878033.html . Remember, the 8 steps will only work in a perfect world because fear is real and it is natural and not something we can control with self talk.

    Support in a marriage, relationship, friendship or among mates can be the difference between coping with a situation and fear or not coping. Most of us will not know how we will react to some of life’s great stressors until we are actually faced with our own mortality or that of a close family member. Until then, true understanding, love, care and support is probably the best medicine for some fears in a relationship – not all – especially when dealing with medical related issues. After all humans are social beings, we are all one – not individuals as most egos believe, and therefore in times of crisis we look to those closest to us for comfort, support and understanding especially when we are feeling weak.

    Tell your partner, your children, your friends you love them and you are there for them as you should love your self. Hug them even when they don’t want a hug and take time out for your “self”.

  2. george.angelos@optusnet.com.au / Jul 24 2015 2:59 AM

    Thanks QS – nice article.  I hope you have “kissed and made up”.  (just joking)

    We learn fears, we can unlearn them too – but difficult.

    To use one of your examples, fear of one’s body.  I couldn’t walk nude in public , even if I was given a million dollars to do it (who would anyway? I hear you 🙂 ) I can’t “STAND BACK from this questionable action”.  Hmm

    So covering up (not just body) feels ‘normal’ and secure which keeps me happy.  Happy is good.

    To use the above as an analogy, a white lie to ‘cover something’ can also keep someone happy too. 

    Everything in moderation.

    Keep writing 🙂

    • quantumsniper1 / Aug 31 2015 4:14 AM

      Hi George, thanks for your reply.

      I agree with you about the “moderation in all things”. However, I tend to think that this principle was designed for situations such as “Consumption of Food”, the “exercise of too little or too much discipline” and the “acquisition of wealth and material possessions” as opposed to the moderation of Truth, per se.

      Unfortunately, telling white lies is a slippery slope. Human Nature commonly finds it too difficult to distinguish between white and grey, and then we’re still left to determine which shade of grey is ethically appropriate. In doing so, we waste more time haggling over the actual morality, than wisely dealing with the consequences of just telling the truth in the first place.

      The incessant need for security, painless-ness, and comfort drilled into us by popular mainstream media, news, modern western culture, is a pre-occupation with Service-to-Self egoism (as opposed to Service-to-Other). If we are serving the self, we are fooled into believing that this slippery slope is safe and harmless.

      I assure you. White lies are not harmless. The accumulation of White Lies, in relationships, by leaders, by corporations is never properly controlled or accounted for. In short it is Egotism, and a breach of trust. Pure and simple. Think about it: Upon discovery – the liar now needs genuine forgiveness, but the people doing the forgiving have been lied to so often, their forgiveness stems from gullibility, weakness, or fear/insecurity. This is just a setup for another round of exploitation by the strong, and more manipulation of the fearful weak.

      Believe it or not, if you want the simple answer, it may be easier to simply tell the truth as soon as possible. For a strong person to NOT tell the truth, is just hiding THEIR fear. So they are not truly strong.

      By avoiding untruth, you then put up with short-term pain. Unfortunate but necessary. In fact, any pain in this instance is at least partially useful and therapeutic towards facing ones fears, rather than sweeping the fears under the carpet for another, and another, and another day. Dont you think?
      – QuantumSniper

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