LOVE vs FEAR
I don’t know what love is, so how can I tell?
PREVIOUS: How ACoAs Abandon Others #3b
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 we can easily get confused & also misuse it. Love & Fear are both Emotions, see. T.E.A.
Generally, it means that if we did have enough love in our life, we won’t be afraid = loved by a Higher Power, by family, by pets, 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. 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 trauma, subjected to fear-inducing 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.
EXP: A lot of our childhood was like being:
— a 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, so 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 by outer events & inner thoughts
a. Present-day reality. There are many real-world stressful events we’re faced with in life requiring a clear mind, much human help & Spiritual support. .
It’s normal to be fearful when WE:
• are overwhelmed by too many things needing our attention
• find out we’re very sick, & sometimes – don’t know the cause…
• hear / read about traumatic world events ….
• have a lot of emotional turmoil (visiting family, getting married or divorced…)
• loose something very important to us (apartment burns down…. )
• see someone we love is in danger (a child, a pet …)
BUT for ACoAs, such events can easily trigger the pain of past trauma, pushing us over the limit of our scarce reserves. So our emotional reaction will be much bigger than that of less wounded people.
b. Toxic Thinking. Fear will always be generated by harmful thoughts – our inner world of beliefs based on negative family rules (CDs) – the harsh, scary things we tell ourselves, creating more terror on top of what we’re already carrying from our past.
Terror & S-H are behind ALL rage and ALL obsessions. WE:
• are convinced someone’s angry at us or can’t stand us, when they didn’t say hello or give us a compliment …..
• 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 when not feeling well but don’t know what’s wrong)
• assume others will react to us the same way we think about ourselves – badly !
• project only painful outcomes on to situations & relationships
• worry about future catastrophes & abandonments, which may never happen & which we will have no control over
Daily childhood abuse & neglect (unprocessed) accumulate in 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 & interactions
b. causes physical & psychological ailments ….
… but in Recovery, much release work can be done, which definitely helps! We can get to a place where we live more in a state of calm rather than upset. There will always be some residual ‘old’ fear that shows up thru the years when we’re under stress – never being completely rid of all 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.
“Fear is the absence of Love” is about :
— not having loving safe parents, originally
— the scary thoughts which torture us
— not searching out people who can be good to us, &
— not believing 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. & with healthier people, our overall fear level diminishes, especially the unnecessary suffering we’ve been 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 about it.
NEXT: Not Enough Love? – #1
4 thoughts on ““FEAR is the ABSENCE of LOVE””
I am an ACOA and recovering alcoholic. Been sober a number of years. Recovering also.
A lot of ground seems to have been gained in the past few years and I am very grateful for the journey and progress. I am at a point now where I really feel the next challenge for me is my deep fear of money.
I’ve had it, I’ve lost it, I’ve had it again, I’ve lost it again. I hate opening mail and bills. Yet I do have a great career and have always maintained at least a decenent income, even when I crashed. So it is not a supply issue.
In reading your post, I recall the deep fear issues from childhood when my Mom left my alcoholic father and our world went into turmoil. I was maybe 6. This was highly atypical in our neighbourhood culture. We were always provided for. Mom had a great job and Grandparents were there to help as well.
The tricky weave I hope to untangle is to address the fear that came about from this time, while not falling into self-pity, envy, or comparisons.
Your post sheds some light on how I may have felt back then. Very alone and vulnerable like the kid in the intersection. Even though that was far from the case. We had a home, family, and provision so poverty was not the issue.
I am wondering what was it that rocked me back then? Fear of the unknown that Dad was not there to guide me through? Feeling different because Mom and Dad were divorced and Dad was a conspicuous drunk? Lying about why Dad lived a half hour away? (“he was closer to work” I would tell my friends).
Then when my alcoholism manifested and my wife packed it in, the biggest fear was money. Yet poverty still has not shown up. I have been blessed through this crazy and expensive time.
Fascinating. There is a stronghold in there of some kind.
Thanks for the post. It is triggering some enlightening thoughts.
Thanks for sharing a little of your journey. I celebrated 32 yrs in AlAnon this month – I know the dedication & patience it takes to heal. I had actually looked at your blog a couple weeks ago. I just checked there again & like your post about acceptance. I’ve written about what acceptance IS NOT. I agree that God is our only true source of healing! When I cried out to the Lord for an answer, He gave me a friend, who eventually needed me to take her to Al-Anon – I stayed, she left (for a few yrs) & I got better. PTL.
Omg, I struggle with the same issues. I’m afraid of going to the mail box to get the bills. I always fear scarcity, I feel as if I’m still in survival mode. I can’t relax and I’m afraid most of the time. I have read every self-help book available and even became and expert at MBTI so I could type people. I cannot believe that I have waisted 32 years of my life like this. People like you who are willing to post this info at no charge shows me that the world my had been hell for me but it was my world.
Thanks Donna for helping us heal our wounds.
Erica, thanks for writing. I’m glad I can help. Before Recovery I spend many years being afraid of the wrong things AND not afraid of things that were truly bad for me! That has changed, on both sides. Thank God for healing!