What Are You Afraid Of?
What are you afraid of? Have you ever noticed fears that you may be living with everyday and you’re not sure of its origin? It is quite possible that these fears originated in your childhood, things you may have experienced when you were young. These deeply buried fears can affect how you live your life today. They can influence your decisions, skew the way you see the world at times and you may even be passing them on to your children.
I met a woman in one of my parenting classes who revealed that an intruder broke into her home when she was a child. The masked man chased her and her mother through the house, subjecting them both to a terrifying event. Her mother was able to elude the predator and fortunately he ran from the house without hurting the little girl or her mother. This frightening experience remained with the woman, causing her to live in constant fear of strangers and of being alone.
When I was a child, we moved from an apartment into a small but comfortable home in the country that my parents had saved up to purchase. The house had a huge front yard, putting the house closer to the back of the lot. Within the first few months of moving in, something happened that created a horrifying memory for my siblings and me; the ground behind the house suddenly collapsed and a huge 10’ x 10’ pit was exposed, spewing the odor of sewage.
Our new house was built without a septic tank installed and the ground finally caved in. I remember my father yelling at someone on the telephone a few times about the incident. I had nightmares about this huge hole in our back yard for months, dreaming about monsters coming out to get me, falling into it myself, and even imagining the hole swallowing up my parents and my pets.
Thanks to this childhood incident, I found myself being very suspicious and feeling fearful over the years when renting apartments or buying homes. I also believe that it has made me very cautious when walking in places unfamiliar to me. I’m very sensitive to, yet curious about, holes in the ground when exploring new places.
When our parents noticed our fear around the hole in the back yard, they would become annoyed and tell us to stop being babies and to grow up. This minimized our feelings, forcing us to bury them and not accept them. If your children have had frightening experiences, don’t dismiss what they may be feeling. Allow them to talk about and accept the feelings for what they are. Let them know that feelings are normal and through acceptance, they can eventually dissipate. Don’t rule out professional counseling if the experience was severe.
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