The worst mother I ever met came in to see me and spoke for her son, aged about 22, who had been found fit for work and therefore not entitled to Incapacity Benefit. She dragged him along then spoke as if he was not there. She wanted my help appealing the decision. The doctor had written “Appeared well-dressed today”, and she screeched, “Of course he appeared well dressed! I tell him what to wear! I even have to shave his head, or he would let his hair grow long, and untidy, and dirty!” No wonder the son had mental health problems.
My mother could not bear my anger and fear, and so I learned very early to suppress them from my own consciousness. She told me that I was always happy placed in my pram under a tree, looking up at the light in the leaves, and in a semi-hypnotic state I went back there, and felt overwhelming rage and resentment. It was dangerous for me, before I could walk, to show anger or fear, and so it is important for me even now to avoid feeling them. (How do I know how she was when I was a baby? I know her very well, and talked to her and others about it.)
Just as an arachnophobe might practise with small, black and white photographs, so I need to practise with situations, to feel and accept and pass through my fear. And I want to separate out the fear of the situation, and the fear of fear. What is the situation? Is fear a reasonable response? Should that stop me from acting? If any of my fear is fear of fear-
Remember the supermarket. Before transition I was frightened of going to the supermarket dressed female, so I did, for practice, repeating over to myself “These are ordinary decent people minding their own business”. And of course it was alright. And soon after I thought nothing of it.
So. A mantra for fear-filled situations.
“The only unacceptable risk is to refuse to take risks”?
“Feel the fear and do it anyway”?
“Everything is all right”?
In my experience, holding back because of fear may create the very situation feared.