Irrational Fears.

July 31, 2008 at 9:59 pm 1 comment

My friend Alli expressed in her LiveJournal yesterday her latest crazy notion:

 

“Secret crazy irrational fear of the evening:

I’m not actually losing any weight. I’m actually getting fatter, but since I told everyone I’m dieting they feel compelled by politeness to compliment me on my progress. My clothes are stretching out because of my tremendous proportions. I’m becoming a waddling beast and I don’t even realize it.”

 

By the way, this is the most bat-shit crazy thing I have heard in a while, and my irrational fears do not even come close to being this irrational. But I do have some doozies.

 

LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.

 

1) Before we were engaged, I sometimes feared that Andrew was actually pretending to be in love with me because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. However, since this is essentially what my last long-term boyfriend did for the last year of our relationship, I feel I get a pass here.

2) When people compliment me, they are secretly making fun of me. This fear is amplified when more than one person compliments me. I will sometimes imagine that, as soon as I leave the room, they all explode into fits from the laughter they had been containing in my presence.

3) People who are really nice to me actually can’t stand me and say awful things about me to the other people in the vicinity the moment I go away. This one is the trickiest, since it’s sometimes true.

 

These are, of course, all manifestations of the same fear: betrayal. The origin of that fear isn’t unbeknown to me. I spent plenty of time discussing it in therapy sessions throughout the better part of my adolescence. But plenty of us know where our dysfunctions arise and even still are incapable of staring that dysfunction down and saying, “It’s curtains for you, dysfunction. You only exist because x happened, and I have dealt with x, so get lost.”

No, they’re rather like battle scars, these dysfunctions. They may fade, and we may grow better at concealing them under our clothing, or more comfortable with them, but they never really go away, even if the injury is fully healed.

I fear betrayal by the people I care most about, so much so that I sometimes lie awake in worry that, the next day, all the people I care most about will gather in a room to enumerate my faults and cast me out. I fear my friends all secretly pity or abhor me. That my husband doesn’t really find me attractive. That I am not as smart or as funny as I have been told. That it’s all a lie that people keep up to be nice, because it’s so very important that we are all nice.

And I also fear that my own personal deception, the one wherein, outwardly, I seem to be tough and impervious, will be discovered. That people will see this brittle onion skin I wear for protection for just how fragile it is. I guess it’s not that much of a secret anymore now that I’ve confessed it here, but I’m self-aware enough to realize that it probably wasn’t very convincing to begin with.

 

I used to be such a good liar. Losing that is probably the worst side effect from all that therapy.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jolene  |  August 2, 2008 at 10:33 am

    But plenty of us know where our dysfunctions arise and even still are incapable of staring that dysfunction down and saying, “It’s curtains for you, dysfunction. You only exist because x happened, and I have dealt with x, so get lost.”

    Well put. I’m applying this to (obviously) a totally different problem in my life, but it’s still 100% true. I would tell the therapist, “Yes, you’re totally right, but somehow, I only seem to understand that for one hour a week, while I’m sitting on this couch.”

    Anyway, I will always be genuine when I let you know that you are beautiful, cute, smart, funny, kind and all-around sparkling.

    Reply

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