Are you curious about how fear creates strategies that nurture conflict in ALL relationships?
Fear will rise with any pain whether physical, mental or emotional as a response to personal needs that have not been met.
- Physical pain from an injury will increase the fear of potential future pain long after the injury is healed.
- Emotional and mental pain from unmet needs such as inclusion, acceptance, being heard, being seen, acknowledged, etc., will increase fear of potential future pain long after the situation has passed
Strategies for personal safety may be adopted and become an automatic behavioral response resulting from ignoring the step of connecting and discussing a bothersome issue when it first arises. Ignoring it may be meeting a temporary need for safety, yet long-term it may develop into subtle fear based strategies for protecting oneself. Some of these subtle and often unrecognizable strategies are:
Safety at work (or in groups)
The needs for safety may arise in relationships that lack integrity, honesty, clarity and respect. It may be that one person in any given conversation assumes the power over or authoritarian role that excludes the value and gifts of others. Those taking control may even perceive themselves as being helpful when their helpfulness may not be appreciated due to the lack of equality it creates. What is lacking is the understanding that this persons behavior is actually a strategy for meeting their own needs for safety!
Safety at school
Children’s behavior on the school ground may reflect the lack of safety in the classroom for the student when their needs for fairness, to be heard and included are not met. These children develop strategies to meet these needs ensuring this doesn’t continue to happen to them on the playground. They act out with their fellow students what they felt themselves in the classroom or what was modeled for them at home.
Safety in relationships
The need for safety in relationships is as simple as not hearing and integrating the important messages of each person. Unable to be in the discomfort of the feelings that arise when listening to someone else the listener may go into the strategies of fixing what it is they are hearing. They may also begin to share how it happened to them. Both strategies “hijack” the story away. It stops being about the original speaker and becomes about them. How warm and fuzzy would someone feel if they found themselves cut off from sharing and in the backseat listening – again?
Have you ever been sharing and found yourself cut off by the listeners opinions? These opinions may not start with an acknowledgement that they are an opinion and only what they believe. Rather, it may come across as authoritarian therefore creating inner conflict. Unrecognizable in these moments is the discomfort for the listener from the feelings coming up for them! Giving opinions disconnects them from the pain of being in their feelings. They have developed a solution for their own personal safety by disconnecting.
These fear based strategies have a purpose of creating safety for that person based upon old experiences. This person is living each moment through the lens of the past and new interactions are not fresh and spontaneous. It is also not real. The behavior is not a reaction to anybody else’s truth of what is happening in the moment.
Getting beyond fear can be as simple as learning empathy. Self – empathy first to get to the space of hearing the other person has feelings! Yes this is written correctly. If someone is in fear they are not even aware that anyone else has feelings! It simply is a fear response of self survival and a reason to learn the tools to get beyond fear and unconscious fear based strategies.