I believe fear is the root of all relationship problems. The most common fears are fear of abandonment, fear of intimacy, fear of commitment, fear of change, fear of rejection, fear of failure, and even fear of success. Everyone has fear on some level. We develop it in our childhood. As an adult, you have to become skilled at controlling your fears. If you don’t, they will surface in your relationships and cause you to act in destructive ways.
If you’re afraid your partner doesn’t love you as much as you love him or her, you’ll start to act out of insecurity rather than love. You may try to manipulate him into loving you more by using guilt or blame, or by playing the victim. If you’re afraid he’s going to leave, you may become needy and smothering—hanging on for dear life—or you may begin competing with him to prove your worth. You may start to sabotage the relationship, creating arguments over nothing or acting out. You may become jealous of others that you perceive your partner finds more attractive—which only makes you less appealing. Or you may just keep your thoughts, needs, and desires to yourself because you fear that if he really knew you, he wouldn’t love you. All of these actions, conscious or not, drain your energy because they put your happiness in the hands of someone else. When you engage in these actions, you give away all your power.
When you succumb to your fears by taking insecure action, the result is usually what you fear most: you push him away and he leaves you. Alternately, when you act empowered by choosing to face your fears and to accept responsibility for them, you can gain wisdom to make your relationships better.
I highly recommend Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Dr. Susan Jeffers.
Some Tips to Handle Fear
- When you feel fearful try to pinpoint exactly what you are feeling.
- Take long deep breaths to calm your anxiety.
- Keep your thoughts in the present.
- Find a positive perception.
- Don’t initiate texts or e-mails. Never communicate emotions electronically.
- Don’t create “must have” toward a person; you will only push him or her away.
In recent decades, neuroscientists have discovered neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change its structure and function in response to experience. More recently they added the power of the mind to change the brain. What that means is that you can use your thoughts to create new functions in your brain. That’s what makes visualization and meditation so effective. It’s also the basis for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which involves using repetitive thought processes to think your way out of depression and anxiety. So if you use your thoughts positively, you can help yourself feel better. On the other hand, if you use your thoughts negatively, you can make yourself depressed, fearful, and addicted to a lover who doesn’t want you. So think positively!