I’ve been living in fear. Fear is not a mood, but it’s a true mood-killer. It’s there like a hellish foundation of all that is horrible and terrifying. It’s accompanied by dread, something which gives the fear some strength, backbone, bite, if you will. Dread is like a premonition, a threat, a final judgment that lifts fear and anxiety off the hook. Anxiety and emotional pain and distress become physical pain and distress. The pulse quickens. Mine was 114 on Saturday, a very bad number for someone who is trying to stay unstressed, due to a problem with atrial flutter having already required two trips to the ER and two cardioversions. Yes. I need fear and dread like I need a hole in the head, as my mother used to say.
Fear is irrational, so it needs no careful thought to rear it’s terrible head. It only needs to be triggered. Fear is a feeling and feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are; they exist, they are responses tied deeply into our psyches. If fear is so bad, why be fearful? A number of reasons, the most basic being that we are human and fear is part of the landscape.
I began to feel fear when I felt that my husband was removed, emotionally distant from our crisis and that I was, essentially, alone with the devils he brought home. I was fearful because a promise he made two months ago had not been kept and what did that mean? It was obviously something he did not want to do. Would he do it, anyway? It wasn’t looking like it. The consequences of his not following through were my anxiety and dread that he was not going to honor the promise at all and that not keeping the promise showed that he wasn’t being honest with me. Maybe he didn’t actually love me, anymore. Certainly, he didn’t respect me and obviously did not fear any repercussions, so I told him that if he didn’t keep the promise, it was going to deeply affect the success of the recovery of our marriage from the affair. It would likely prevent me from begin able to believe in his integrity or trustworthiness, which have obviously taken serious hits, already. Things could get worse.
I was fearful because when this conversation occurred, my husband became angry and made accusations, blaming me for a number of things I didn’t understand. He later apologized, but I re-learned quickly that when some people don’t like something, they attack. I feared the future, married to or left by someone who didn’t love me, or married to someone who said he loved me but thought so little of me that he didn’t follow his words with the actions to prove that love.
Last but not least, what it always boils down to: fear of death. Why fear of death? Death is coming. It’s unavoidable, like childbirth is when we go into labor. Death is coming whether we admit it or not, it can happen at any moment and why was I feeling fearful of death at this inconvenient point in time? I’ve learned that when one fear gets its foot in the door, it invites all of the other fears to pile in with it and before you know it, they are breeding and multiplying like crazy right there in the kitchen as you drink your coffee, alone, with a thousand clamoring voices.
When I live in the present, I find that love is much more accessible to me in its many forms. Love is the opposite of not hate, but fear. Anger and hatred are the children of fear, so the best policy is to breeze by anger and hatred and confront fear.
When I live in the present and turn to look behind me I slide into a mess of emotions. I feel paralyzed. Fear is like quicksand. We need our friends to throw us a branch and help us to climb out. We need to be aware of fear, specifically, our particular fears and we need to look at them and see what can be done about them, but we can’t live there. If we live where fear rules, it’ll overwhelm us and kill us before our time.
Communication has improved between Husband and myself over the past few days. Talking without heightened emotion was a branch thrown down and I was lifted up out of the sucking fear into the present. The past has not been fair. What else is new? Fair or not, there are lessons to be learned. Yes, some lessons involve not thinking that your marriage is too strong to suffer an affair. No one is immune and the statistics are staggering. The latest I read was that 60% of married men and 40% of married women admit to having had affairs. These are the reported numbers, so estimates are that 80% of marriages are touched by affairs in some way, according to experts.
Back to the lessons. True, I have not chosen these lessons and I’m not sure what they’ll require of me, but that’s the annoying thing about life. Apparently, says LLDeMerle, if you insist on having a pulse, you must keep learning.