Facing fear

Why is it so hard for me to cope with fear? Because that’s what it is, at the heart of every borderline emotion — fear of being abandoned, fear of being worthless and unwanted, fear of rejection, fear of emptiness, fear of bad feelings, fear of fear itself.

The most difficult part is trying to swallow down the instinct to fight or flee. The urge to escape from the overwhelming terror is something I have no idea how to put into words; it is something akin to watching an avalanche approach you and knowing down to your core that you need to do something. So you do whatever is necessary to keep yourself safe. You run, or you try to eliminate the avalanche in any way possible, be it by manipulating or lashing out or begging.

But as we all know, that goes nowhere.

My recurring insecurity with the Boyfriend and his female friends is always this — he is going to realize how boring and inadequate and annoying I am in comparison to them, and he is going to fall in love with someone else and not want me anymore. And every time I am reminded of his friendships the bottom of my stomach falls out and I feel the avalanche creeping up on me and I want to burn the whole world down just to get away from it.

I wanted to do something yesterday. I wanted to scream, and shout, and ask him why he was doing this even though it hurt me.

But instead I breathed. And breathed. And then I quietly asked him for a hug and some reassurance. I cried a little, yeah, but baby steps!!!

If I’m looking for is the same end goal (to feel safe), I have two options: to get rid of the avalanche, or to ask the avalanche to go easy on me. Thanks to the Boyfriend’s strong boundaries, I know there is no getting rid of it. I can cry and scream all I want but he will remain firm — he knows there are certain things he cannot give up no matter how much it hurts me. In my worst moments, I hate him for it, but in my moments of sanity I know it is the right thing to do. As much as I want to look out for myself, he needs to do that, too. I have no right to ask him to sacrifice what is best for himself in order to do what is best for me, when I am incapable of doing that for him.

And so I take the other route. The one with the calmer seas and clearer skies. And I end up at the same place anyway.

There is strength in being weak. As the Therapist put it the other day, “Little victories are the most important. They’re the ones you store in the back of your head to pull out during the big battles. To remind yourself that if you won that war, maybe, just maybe, you can beat this one, too.”

I’m pretty proud of myself 🙂