Fear is an emotion that we may subconsciously experience in relationships, without even recognizing it. These emotions/feelings are developed over time. They arise as a result of childhood experiences, or experiences that we have slowly garnered over time. We sometimes are trapped in fear and let those fears make choices of our present-day lives and sometimes be the driver of our future.
I was traumatized at a very young age when my parents got a divorce, but these things are usually taken for granted in Nigeria. I grew up trying to do better than my parents did at the expense of my happiness.
I am not putting the blame on my late parents…Love them both to bits. But I think they owed me an explanation as to why they separated because I simply had the misconception that either of them didn’t try hard enough to make their marriage work, so I had to try till I break…NO!
Ever heard that you can’t give what you don’t have? The ability to stand up for yourself in a relationship doesn’t mean you love your partner any less but simply put, it means you have the ability to love yourself. All of my blog posts are as a result of my personal experiences. I’m sharing the importance of self-love in relationships so people could possibly learn from my mistakes. Like it is popularly said, ‘You can’t pour out of an empty cup’.
More often than not, we experience fear but do not even recognize it. It is rather pathetic that people tend to act out of fear in a relationship other than from a place of love. This hinders their happiness and ultimately does grave damage to the relationship, they are supposedly protecting.
How to recognize fear runs your relationship: There are several ways to recognize that your actions or inactions in your relationship are being driven by fear in your relationship.
- Inability to say NO: Sometimes what we may consider best for us as individuals, may not be best for all parties involved and guess what? That is totally fine. You need to develop a mind of your own. When you start making decisions based on your true inner feelings, it may be startling initially but the key is to always make decisions from a place of love and not spite/malice. Practicing self-love helps you become a better person for you first, and for your partner. The reaction from saying no to a partner may lead to huge disagreements, which is beneficial in the long run.
- The need to be accepted: The best relationships are those which you can be yourself and not have to change yourself into somebody you are not just be accepted. You need to first accept yourself and love yourself and that is all that matters. Anybody who can’t love you and your multiplex emotions does not deserve you. I have been told I laugh too loudly! You know what I think? If you can’t take it…WALK
- Trying to be flawless to gain acceptance: I’m not near perfect and nobody else is. Why would anyone try to mold you to be a certain kind of perfect like they imagine? If you cave into demands to meet a certain kinda image to satisfy your partner, you are doing it all wrong. You should only strive to be a better person than you were yesterday. Your beauty lies in your imperfection, which makes you a unique and awesome person. Relationships should try to bring out the best in us and not change us.
- Seeking Approval: It is totally right to run your plans by your partner. Mutual respect is essential for a healthy relationship. But this could be taken for granted and it so quickly changes a situation of respect to control. I will quickly share an experience I had in an unhealthy relationship. My childhood friend was visiting the city I lived in and I wanted to meet up for dinner and drinks. I spoke about the intending visit of my friend out of respect and gave details of where we planned on going and I got this reaction: When are you going to start acting like a married woman? Baloney! Does meeting up with my girlfriend makes me less married? He taunted me for the days before my friend arrived. He specifically said he hadn’t given me ‘PERMISSION’. That word resonated with me for a long time. Why did I need permission to live my life? I only asked out of respect and not to be told what to do.
Reasons for fear in a relationship:
- Fear Of Rejection: I grew up with the fallacy that it was the woman’s job to make any relationship work. In my quest for a happy home, I made the huge mistake of thinking that submission means I couldn’t ask questions. He implied at that time, that asking questions relating to any issues we were facing meant I was being confrontational. I was silent and unhappy for an awfully long time. Malice was a constant and familiar feature in that relationship. I was not allowed to have friends or above all make phone calls and laugh with anyone. He would totally ignore me and not speak to me for days. The first time I noticed this, I was torn. I decided to limit my phone conversations to when he was out, or avoid calls totally when he was home. I erroneously thought cutting people off was the solution to this cancerous situation. My fear of being rejected and ignored made me adopt options that were totally unhealthy. I was slowing giving up my life just to keep a relationship.
- Fear Of Abandonment: I always had the fear of being abandoned, because deep down in my heart, without admitting to anyone else I knew I was in a faulty relationship. I always felt I had to be a certain kind of good as defined by him. Because we lived in different time zones, he demanded of me to tell him about everywhere I went, how long I stayed out and when I got back home. I tried to keep up with his controlling ways until he involved my nineteen-year-old house help. He would call her to confirm what time I got back home, or if I went out or I was home. I was deeply hurt by this and had to speak up for myself for the first time. This ended up with him not picking/returning my phone calls for a month. I was scared shitless. I tried getting time off from my job so I could travel to his base, with no luck. Needless to say that after this issue was supposedly reconciled with me taking all the blame for daring to be confrontational, I adhered strictly to the rules.
- Fear of being alone: I experienced this emotion at the start of the relationship. I wanted to replicate the few times I felt I was happy. This made me want to be in a relationship at the detriment of my sanity. A lot of people stay in abusive and unhealthy relationships because they just want a partner. This is absolutely wrong. Although I am in a loving relationship at the moment, I am not opposed to being alone.
- Fear from Societal Pressures: Often times, we worry more about what people will think or say more than how we feel. Why would you let someone else dictate and rule your life when they are not you? I fell a victim of my society and I am truly happy because it has molded me to become the person I am today. Sometimes people experience fear of being called a bad person, thereby inhibiting their capacity to fully love themselves. We will always meet people who think they know what’s best for you, but nobody knows you as much as YOU do. Happiness, Success, and Love are measured differently by each of us. Happiness to me is waking up every morning beside the love of my life…It could mean something else to you and that’s perfect. Who appointed anybody the judge of right or wrong?
- Fear from lack of financial independence: I didn’t personally experience this because I was financially independent. But some people hang on to relationships for fear of starting again and lack of resources to stat again. This reason is founded but not enough to compromise your sanity.
How to Overcome Fear:
All you need to do is Love yourself. That is the easiest and most straightforward thing to do. If you love yourself, you will not allow yourself to be a situation to be treated in a way that is less deserving of your awesome self. Loving yourself helps in boosting your self-worth. You cannot give what you do not have…. so love yourself first.
Do you have the same experiences and wish to share? Do have suggestions or a different point of view? Feel free to leave your comment, suggestions, additions, and opinion in the comment section!