Sharing the lessons along the way…

Fear Act II

How does fear manifest itself in your life?  How do you deal with it once you recognize it? 

In Fear Act I, I shared a scenario to illustrate the sneaky nature of fear as it related to my attachment to my first baclofen pump.

I hadn’t expected the piece to mirror any relationship where fear creeps in, but was pleasantly surprised by the development because it does work the same way with everything.

We give others our personal power often in relationships.  Much the same way I gave my personal power to my first pump.  This is also what happens in depression, addictive behavior and with those who go from relationship to relationship.

Why do we do give away our power?  We do it for any number of reasons—insecurity, low self-worth, the belief that we need something or someone else to “complete” us, avoidance of looking inward, etc. 

Your personal reasons can likely be found in any number of boxes we talked about last month in Feeling Boxed In, Unpacking the Boxes and Having Fun with Bubble Wrap.

The bottom line for all of us is that fear has an open door when we feel helpless, hopeless, powerless or less than.  This “less-ness” creates the unhealthy attachment to the things or people, which then allows fear to invite itself to come in and make itself at home in our lives.

We may do any number of things with our new houseguest.  We may avoid it like the elephant in the living room.  We may pick a fight with fear—cursing it and trying to kick it out of our home.  We may even try to outsmart it by moving out of the house altogether!

What I propose we do with fear, once it is inside the house, is to make a pot of tea or coffee and sit down with the fear in the dining room.  Radical idea, I know!

It would never have occurred to me had I not had a dream last year where I sat down with fear, as if it was a friend, and sought to better understand it.  I look at fear much like I look at pain these days.  Both are present to draw my attention to something important—they are both potentially helpful.

Rather than acting out over fears, I now seek to better understand where it is coming from and why.  I cannot understand something I avoid, have an adversarial relationship with, or deny.

No matter how you have convinced yourself you can outmuscle, outsmart or outrun your fears–you simply cannot!  I cannot either, which is why I’ve chosen to follow the dream I had right after my beloved first pump was removed.  I decided to work cooperatively with my fears (and my pain for that matter).

Consider inviting your fear over for a tea party.  Schedule an hour out of your day, as you would for any friend, and sit down and talk with it.  Make some cookies, set the table, put some fresh flowers in a vase and have some fun with your special visitor.  Fear is present to help you, not hurt you.

My fears have hurt me far more when they were lurking in the shadows, behind the scenes.  When I brought them into the spotlight, as I did in Fear Act I, I became more aware of them.  My next step was then to invite them over, willingly.  They’ll come into my home either way.  Inviting them is a way to preserve my personal power so that I have the courage to get to know the fears better.

The next time, we will discuss what to talk about with your fears at your tea party.  I would love to know what you would ask or say to your fears if you had the opportunity to befriend them, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!


Comments on: "Fear Act II" (9)

  1. always knew you were the mad hatter – who else would tackle
    a better understanding of “Fear as it equates to relationships” !

    most interesting choice that you should equate fear with co-dependence and control issues.
    there is such a fine line between healthy working relationships and co-dependence.
    i.e. your relationship with Codie.- at a time – when you needed ‘Time’ the most –
    for acceptance – Codie served you well!
    even if it was something co-dependent – it was simultaneously a healthy working relationship because it gave you what you needed to survive both physically and emotionally.

    fear makes us cautious and careful – it can actually protect us,
    if we have learned to listen to it’s message/meaning.

    misunderstood, fear can actually drive away the potential for a healthy working relationship – sadly taking control away and preventing us from achieving/or trusting in mutually healthy relationships.

    not everyone needs to have control over their relationships.
    genuine mutuality can be achieved to the betterment of both parties.
    we needn’t give away personal power to sustain a relationship,
    in the right hands that power would Never be abused.
    the only way to find out who would abuse it is to offer it up –
    knowing that you can move on, out, or away.
    the appearance of running might simply be the exercising of plan B.
    if fear that prevents us from trying – a long, lonely, loveless life lies ahead.

    “Better to have loved and lost – than never to have loved at all!” . . .


  2. I would ask my fears what purpose disabling me from progress accomplishes. Why do they want to keep me in this place in life?


    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you for reading my blog and posting a comment! I am curious now as to what you think fear’s answer to your questions might be? For me, it seems, when I am stuck by my fears, it is generally because I haven’t fully understood where they are really coming from. It seems they really do serve a purpose, even if sometimes that purpose is to point me in a direction I may be resistent to go.


  3. luvallbeings said:

    This Fear series is helping me address my own fears. Exploring and facing them is an ongoing process. Overcoming them can actually be fun once you realize where they originated and how silly some of them are.

    So I think what I would talk about for the ones I am still trying to figure out is:”Where did you come from, what has caused me to avoid you and why have you stayed sooo long?”

    I really love this Tawny, there is so much stuff on fear, but you are delving into it in a new way. It’s funny because when we start dealing with our fears, we realize we also fear the fears into avoidance. I am still learning but on the right track and forging new tracks I hope.

    Here’s a quote that popped up this morning:
    “Courage is not a lack of fear, it’s embracing your fear and doing whatever scares you anyway.” Robert Ohotto–who else? ha! 😉


    • Thank you, as always, Nina for reading and for your thoughtful comments! Growing up out at the farmhouse, we had a couple of cute little sayings in our downstairs bathroom. One was, “Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway” and the other was “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” I loved that bathroom for those reasons and when we have courage to sit down and chat with our fears to better understand them, I have found that they aren’t nearly as big and scary as I had built them up to be in my conscious mind. In fact, most of them come from my child’s perception of something that happened so long ago that it almost seems silly to my adult mind. This is why I try very hard to take opportunities to re-write or edit those past perceptions as I become aware of them.

      As I mentioned to Elizabeth, I really believe that fear is serving a very important purpose to make us stop, be in the stillness and understand what makes us who we are. Our avoidance of the fear is probably our resistence to change or growth in some way. If we can look at fear as an ally toward that growth and positive change, then we move forward with a greater freedom and sense of empowerment. It is our preparation to be courageous!


      • luvallbeings said:

        I love the farmhouse memory. Yes I agree, I am finding fear can be very useful in stepping back and saying:because this scares me, I am gonna do it and see what happens, then the fear kind of goes away and excitement replaces it instead. Because I am now seeing it as a clue of what direction to go in instead of what I resist and try to avoid.

        As you said, you can try all you want to outsmart, or outrun it but fear will find you and still be there. Like no matter where you go, there you are. As long as it is there, may as well welcome it in and have a chat!

        Here’s another one for you that just happened to pop up this morning too:

        ‎”Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.” ~ CTR

        So looking forward to where this is going, it goes where it goes I guess!


  4. Reblogged this on Raising the Curtain and commented:
    Tawny’s blog and Tawny’s posts always carry a meaningful message and this one is no exception. I love Tawny’s outlook and so am reblogging this.

    I came across a couple wonderful sayings recently:
    “Everything you want in life is on the other side of fear and discipline.”

    “You can’t heal what you don’t confront”

    Yes, yes a thousand time yes – to both!

    So that said, what would I ask my fears if I invited them to dinner? “What is the essence of you that makes you so gripping?

    Can’t wait for the further instalments in this Fear series.


    • Hi Judy,
      You rock and thank you so much for sharing my Fear Act II blog! Your question is interesting for sure and I would be interested to know what answer you might imagine fear to give you over dinner? I, too am interested in seeing what else develops with the Fear series. Treating fear as an ally certainly rocks the way of thinking we have been raised to have. Even I am so new to thinking about it this way that I have to remind myself that fear is my friendly messenger when I become aware of it.


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Kitt O'Malley

Bipolar Writer and Mental Health Advocate


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