Fear

by MomforLife
(Missouri)

What I learned growing up in a dysfunctional family is FEAR. Plain and simple. Fear.

I know there is healthy fear - like when you learn to be afraid to touch something hot. But the fear I'm talking about is unhealthy; immovable; uncommon; isolating. It's fear of things that others around you (those people that didn't grow up in your family) don't get. They look at you and ask why you would even think along those lines.

When life is going smoothly - bills are paid, the kids are getting along, my marriage is fine - my brain perks up and says "What's the deal? I'm not used to all this quiet. I need to find something to worry about! I need to be afraid!"

At that point, the nagging cough I've had for two weeks suddenly becomes lung cancer. The upcoming doctor's physical suddenly seems extremely worrisome with its "results" and "findings." Could that twitch you had in your left eye last week be caused by a tumor? I could go on and on....

It's comical at times, and as I look back on all the body symptoms I've absolutely "known" were cancer, I usually think how absurd I was to suspect such a thing. But that's where my dysfunctional family comes in. I can't say how many times I watched my mother obsess over her health. She was miserable in her marriage and expressed it through worry - worry about breast cancer, worry about ovarian cancer, worry about every cancer that could possibly be imagined... and now I imagine them!

I work very hard to never let my kids see my irrational fears. The last thing I want to do is continue this chain of cancer phobia.

Overcoming these fears is my life's goal, and it may take a lifetime to do it. I guess we all have some cross to bear having come from a dysfunctional family. All we can do is pray, work our personal programs, and live for today.

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Jan 29, 2010
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To K
by: Momforlife

Thanks K -
It is a great website that certainly helps us feel we're not alone. Health scares are already stressful enough without having panic issues from childhood heaped on top!

Jan 28, 2010
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Wow
by: K

Your post and so many others describe exactly what I too have felt my entire life.

It is by the grace of God that I arrived at this web site.

Thank you for sharing.

Dec 09, 2009
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Thanks Angie!
by: momforlife

Angie,
Your words about this fear thing are totally accurate. You are so right about being occupied with worry in order to NOT do something fruitful. And, yes, my walk with God is so important for my emotional health! I find when I'm more involved at church - taking bible studies, leading Sunday school, etc. - I am so much better for myself and my family.
Thanks for your input!

Dec 03, 2009
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To: Mom for Life
by: Angie Carter

Thanks for posting! I am quite sure there are many people in your same situation, but who are afraid to really talk about how they are feeling and what they are thinking.

I also grew up in a dysfunctional family. I had so many anxieties about the future that I was nick named the "what-if girl". I was constantly asking, what if this happens - or what if that happens?

There are several tips that I learned since getting into recovery that have helped me tremendously. One Day At A Time. I know it is a commone slogan, but to really incorportate it and use it can be beneficial. If I can do what I can do today, do what is in front of me today to the best of my ability - tomorrow will take care of itself.

The other one is a concept that Don has taught me and that is: Don't do your pain in advance! If it is NOT happening then don't worry, fret, obsess, or agonize over it right now. Doing that takes away a lot of energy that can be focused on doing something positive for ourselves today. He says that you have plenty of time to do the pain whenever something is ACTUALLY happening! This has been a lifesaver for me.

If we took all the worry we have conjured up over a situation and determined what good it did us, we would probably be very disappointed. About the only good thing fear and worry does for me is take my focus off of what I should be doing, so in reality it allows me to become immobile because maybe I am not wanting to something, or take some kind of action. It is much easier for me to settle down into fear and worry (sometimes) then actually 'doing' something. These are just some of my reasons, it doesn't mean they are the basis for someone else's fear or worry.

I will give you an example, if I begin to get fearful about my health, 9 times out of 10 I have stopped exercising, stopped eating right, not doing any quiet time or meditation. When I am doing all those things I am much less fearful about things going wrong with me. When I feel worrisome about money or financial situations and how the future will be, I look at whether I am doing all I can to make money and reduce my spending. I also look to see if I am being disciplined in saving.

Sometimes being caught in worry or fear lets me know that I need to work on getting back into prayer and meditation so that I can further develop my faith. Having trust and faith in a Higher Power does not mean that I am going to be financially well off or never be ill, but for me it just means that the creator (whom I choose to call God) will give me the tools to get through the adversities that life can bring.

I appreciate you stepping out and sharing a part of your life with us. How we were raised really does leave an imprint on us, but if it was unhealthy we can learn to change it and it sounds like you are starting to do just that!

Dec 01, 2009
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Thanks Mom!
by: Don Carter

Hi MomForLife...and thanks for bringing this topic up. Worries, Fears, and Phobias are frequent outcomes for those of us who come from a dysfunctional family.

When a child does not feel safe then they must develop their own ability to watch out for themselves. So they grow extra long "emotional antennae" to stay aware of possible dangers -- it's called hyper-vigilance.

This happens either from abuse and neglect or from a worrisome or over-protective parent who conveys to the child that there is danger lurking around every corner. In dysfunctional families it is frequently a combination of both.

In fact worry, anxiety, and fears are good topics to write several more web pages about -- thanks again for the inspiration and watch out for the new pages coming soon.

Don

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