LOVE vs FEAR
I don’t know what love is, so how can I tell?
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REVIEW: ACRONYM page for abbrev.
WHAT DOES this quote MEAN?
• Like so many popular ‘spiritual’ saying there’s some truth in it, but NOT the whole story, so people can easily get confused & also misuse it.
Generally, this statement means that if we have enough love in our life, we won’t be afraid. Loved by a Higher Power, loved by family, love by pets, love by friends… Yes, these are to be desired & cultivated.
BUT the reality for ACoAs is that we are fear based – no matter how much recovery we may have. Love & Fear are both Emotions, re. T.E.A. (ACoA website: ‘Definitions’) There are 2 separate issues re. this quote:
1. Fear is created in CHILDHOOD by genuinely being in danger!
• As kids, ACoAs lived in an atmosphere of constant fear and were subjected to fear-producing experiences (mental, physical & emotional) practically every day of our childhood. AND there was very little comfort or validation of our reality. On the contrary, if we told anyone or complained, they said we were over-reacting, making it up, being disloyal AND it was our fault “What did you do?” Even if anyone believed us, they didn’t / couldn’t help, so we had to suck it up.
• For many of us – a lot of our childhood was like being: 5 yrs old, dropped off in the middle of a huge traffic intersection at rush hour, left there in our underwear, told to not whine & ‘JUST COPE’ !! How cruel !
All that pain & terror got pushed down & where did it go? Yes, in large part, psychologically, it went into the unconscious. But physically – the chemicals generated by terror & other painful emotions got stored in our body – in our organs, our muscles, choking our aura, meridians & chakras.
2. Fear is created NOW mainly by our thoughts – but not always:
a. Present-day reality. There are many situations we may be faced with throughout life which require much human help, a clear mind & spiritual support. They are mainly external, real-world stressors. It’s normal to be fearful when:
• we or someone we love is in danger (a child or pet is sick…)
• when we lose something that’s very important to us (like a job, or when my apartment burned down in ’92…)
• we’re overwhelmed by too many things needing our attention or a lot of emotional turmoil (visiting family, getting married or divorced…)
• we find out we’re very sick, & sometimes – don’t know the cause… or we hear about traumatic world events…
b. Toxic Thinking. On the other hand – the emotion of fear may be generated by harmful thoughts – our inner world of beliefs, family rules, damaged thinking. (cognitive distortions). ie. the harsh, negative, scary things we tell ourselves, which actually create more terror – on top of what we already carry from our past.
Fear, terror & S-H are behind ALL rage and ALL obsessions. WE:
• worry about future catastrophes & abandonments, which may never happen & which we have no control over
• project only painful outcomes to situations & relationships
• assume others will react to us the same way we think about ourselves – badly !
• are so used to things not working out, & having anxiety as our constant companion, that we create mental drama when it’s not called for…
• believe we’re dying of cancer when we’re not seriously sick (especially if we’re not feeling well but don’t know what’s wrong)
• are convinced someone’s angry at us or can’t stand us, because they didn’t say hello or give us a compliment ……..
SO we ended up with deep reservoirs of hidden pain, which most people call anxiety, because on the surface it doesn’t seem to be connected to anything obvious. HA ! As long as this backlog remains frozen, the pain:
a. drives much of our behavior, our thinking & our interactions with others
b. causes physical & psychological ailments….
… but in Recovery, much release work can be done, which definitely helps! We can get to the place where we live more in a state of calmness rather than upset. There will always be some residual ‘old’ fear that shows up thru the years when we’re under stress. We’ll never be completely rid of all the original abandonment terror. This should not be a surprise – since there was so much of it. We need to be extra kind to ourselves.: “Feel the fear & keep going”, but softly, softly.
SCARY THOUGHTS which torture us is what the quote is primarily referring to – not being LOVING & kind to ourselves, not searching out people who can be good to us, not believing that there’s any safety in the world – for us !
HOWEVER when we practice nurturing our Inner Child, connecting with the peace of a loving H.P. & kind people, our overall fear level diminishes, especially the unnecessary suffering that we used to add to the ‘pile’.
➼ We can’t always control or eliminate old fear, but we can be in better charge of that we THINK & what we DO.
NEXT: Not Enough Love? – #1