7. VULNERABILITY TO HARM OR ILLNESS – Exaggerated fear that imminent catastrophe will strike at any time and that one will be unable to prevent it.
I still struggle with this one. When my husband is late for work I imagine he's been in a terrible accident. Or when I saw a car wreck close to where I knew my daughter-in-law was shopping I was afraid it was her. This catastrophizing wrecks havoc on my peace of mind. Fortunately, my counselor had several suggestions to help minimize the harm. He first taught me to recognize that terrible things have happened in my life and I was unable to stop it. I am afraid that terrible things will happen again. He encouraged me to recognize the fear, ask myself a series of questions:
Is this a reasonable fear?
Is this something I can do anything about?
Is it really the worse thing that ever happened to me?
The last question is fairly safe for me since really horrible things already happened and I survived those. He encouraged me to have the attitude toward life, "Bring it on." I am not quite there but I am starting to reduce some of my anxiety. I give my husband at least an hour beyond the time he said he would be home before worrying....I call this resetting my 'worrinometer.' After I was parked, I texted my daughter-in-law about the accident. She thanked me for letting her know to avoid the traffic jam. I learned there are many positive things I can do to counter this fear. My favorite 'go to' solution is prayer. I might not be able to do anything about a problem but God can.
8. ENMESHMENT / UNDEVELOPED SELF – Excessive emotional involvement and closeness with one or more significant others (often parents), at the expense of full individuation or normal social development. Often experienced as a feeling of emptiness and floundering, having no direction, or in extreme cases questioning one’s existence.
My counselor spent a ton of sessions on teaching me individuation. He recognized the enmeshment I had with my mother and worked and teaching me to set boundaries so that I knew where she ended and I began. Needy parents unfortunately will expect their children to fulfill their needs. My mother wanted to be me and didn't want me to make any of my own decisions. She said differently but should I foolishly have an independent thought she would squish it immediately. Counseling was the key for me in understanding and learning new skills. These are skills that can be learned at anytime in life. My counselor wanted me to be my own person and when I attempted to shift my enmeshment from my mother to him, he brought me up short and corrected my misconception. He did not want me dependent on him either. These lessons were numerous what is a boundary, how to set a boundary, how to protect my boundaries, what rights I have as an individual, and the list goes on and on. In the process, he was teaching me about how to live my own life. His most stunning question, "What do you want?"
9. FAILURE TO ACHIEVE – The belief that one has failed, will inevitably fail, or is fundamentally inadequate relative to one’s peers, in areas of achievement (school, career, sports, etc.).
Hard to unlearn what was hammered into me. I graduated in the top 5% of my class but I was told that was no big deal. I did achieve success but I was told it didn't matter. What I did wasn't important. I keep evidence. I keep my diploma on my dresser. I keep reminders that I succeed many times. One of the big lessons in individuation was recognizing my successes. The fish climbing trees quote also applies here.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”― Anonymous
I didn't fail to achieve, I failed to give credit where credit was due...with myself. I am also learning a new acronym for FAIL
If you never fail, then you haven't tried anything new. I love Froglogic encouragement to get out there and fail at something. Embrace the suck. Live life.