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Monday, April 21, 2014

Are You Allowing Your Fears to Dictate Your Choices in Life?

Most people come to therapy because they're unhappy with their lives.  In many cases, their unhappiness stems from allowing their fears to dictate their choices in their lives.  Over time, as their lives become narrower and less fulfilling, they feel increasingly unhappy.  It's as if they're in hiding.

Are You Allowing Your Fears to Dictate Your Choices in Life?

Many people who have this problem have no awareness that their fears have dominated their decision- making process.  Their fears have become so entrenched that they no longer question them.  They don't even realize that they're making choices based on fear and so they've come to accept the "logic" of their decisions.

Gradually, these fears can generalize to such an extent that they can affect major areas in a person's life.

Let's take a look at a vignette, which is a composite of many different people, to understand this phenomenon:

Amy began therapy because she felt unfulfilled in her life.  She watched the friends that she went to college with develop satisfying relationships, and she couldn't understand why she wasn't in a relationship.

While she was happy for her friends, she couldn't help questioning herself and wondering, "Is there something wrong with me?"

As we worked together in therapy, Amy came to realize that her main problem was that although she wanted to be in a relationship, she also was afraid to allow men to get close to her (see my article:  An Emotional Dilemma: Wanting and Dreading Love).

This fear had become a major obstacles for her.

Amy also realized that she had been allowing her fears to dictate the choices that she made in her life and that this, in turn, kept her out of social situations where she could meet men.

Allowing Your Fears to Dictate Your Choices:  Amy Was Isolated

In order to deal with this fear, we had to deal with longstanding issues related to her family of origin where her emotional needs were unmet as a child.  Without realizing it, due to her fear, she broke off relationships before emotional intimacy developed.

As we continued to explore the origin of her fear of intimacy, we discovered that Amy had fears of being abandoned in the same way that she was abandoned as a child when her parents moved to Europe for her father's job and left her for several months with an aunt who was cold and emotionally withholding.

Over time, we used EMDR, clinical hypnosis, and Somatic Experiencing to work through these memories of her unmet childhood needs.

Amy Worked Through Her Fears in Therapy So She Was No Longer Afraid

The work wasn't easy or fast, but after Amy had worked through these emotional issues, she was no longer afraid and she began to feel ready to open up to the possibility of meeting someone new for a serious relationship.

Getting Help in Therapy
Your fears can make your life small and narrow.  Over time, your fears can keep you stuck and feeling frustrated.

Rather than allowing your fears to keep you from having the life that you want, you owe it to yourself to get help in therapy.

Getting Help in Therapy

If you're unable to overcome your fears on your own, you're not alone.  This is a phenomenon that many people experience.  With help from a licensed mental health professional, you can develop insight into how your fears are holding you back, work through the issues related to these fears, and take steps to have the life you want.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me:

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