Friday, May 30, 2008

Facing My Fears And How That Changed My Life

So often I find my ideas for new articles in my comments left on the blogs of others. Today that happened when Tom Volkar of "Delightful Work" asked me, "Pat how is life better for you when you face your fears?"

Tom, thanks for asking. I love this kind of interaction on my blog and the ones that I read. Here is my answer that I left in my comment on Tom's blog:

"Tom, how is life better for me when I face my fears? Life is better in so many ways. The first time that I even realized that I had lived most of my childhood in fear, I was 19 years old, running down a dark country road to get away from my drunk, abusive dad. My sister was running right beside me. We were running and I suddenly ralized that we had no where to go. So we stopped running and walked back home. I rmember thinking that I had never felt the fear before that night. I had denied that I felt it or stuffed it deep inside me. At that age, I didn't know how to handle it. I made the decision that night that I had to leave that home or I would go crazy or die. That was when I found courage for the first time. A few weeks later, I had made arrangements with an older friend (You will find my article about my friend Althea at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/most-influencial-person-2-survival.html ) to live with her and get a summer job before going away for my junior year of college.

The next time that I actively started to look at all of the fears that I carried around was when I was 38 years old and in Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) and Al-Anon meetings and a few months later in an Incest Survivor Counseling group. I remember sitting in an ACA meeting and telling everyone that my fears were big enough to fill the entire room that we were sitting in. That is the night that I started looking at my fears and whiddling away at those fears one fear at a time. Most of them were needless and unrealistic. Courage has become my constant companion instead of fear."

There was more to my comment which you can find when you click on the link to Tom's article "Speak Freely or Die" which I will include at the end of this article.

ACA and Al-Anon were what really started me on my journey of facing my fears. (Adult Children of Alcoholics Played Major Roles In My Recovery From Incest found at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/01/al-anon-and-adult-children-of.html ) Before finding Al-Anon, I spent a lot of time trying to fix everyone else in my life so that I wouldn't have to look at my own fears and anger. I even went so far as to become a foster parent in 2 different group foster homes hoping to help others to have a better childhood than I had. I have been told that we did a good job as foster parents. What I finally realized was that I couldn't really help those kids until I helped myself. That was when my real work began. That was when the Universe lead me to sources that could help me---Al-Anon, ACA and professional counselors.

What are some of the fears that I have faced in my spiritual journey that I call my life?
1. All of my control issues were about fear. I thought that if I could control everything and everyone that I would be safe. It didn't work that way. Control is just a cover-up for what you are really feeling---FEAR. Al-Anon helps me admit that the more I thought I was in control with my controlling activities, the more out of control I was with my emotions and life. What did I find when I stopped controlling---relief from a whole room full of internal pressures. Take a sigh of relief---that is what it feels like to let go of controlling behaviors. You also find more time to live and enjoy your own life. When you are trying to control others, you suddenly discover that you have all kinds of time to look at your own problems.

2. A major fear for me was what would happen if people knew about my incest issues. Would they stop loving me? Would they stop being my friend? Would my husband divorce me? My biggest fear was that they would blame me. I blamed myself for so many years and because of that self-blame I kept silent. What did facing these fears do for me? They gave me my voice. They gave me the ability to reach out to others. They gave me the beginnings of finding peace within myself. I say the beginnings because this has been a lengthy process that has taken years of my adult life to resolve.

3. My fear of driving kept me from experiencing the ability and freedom to get in a car and go any where that I wanted by myself. This fear was tied into the issues of incest and my dad. I watched my dad teach my mom to drive when I was in my early teens. We were in the truck with them for each lesson. I promised myself that I would never put myself through the torture and name calling that my dad put my mother and us kids through when he taught her to drive. She was always a nervous driver because of that experience. When I thought of learning to drive, I also thought of the verbal and emotional abuse that she went through. Those unpleasant and damaging memories kept me from learning to drive until I dealt with the abuse issues that I had with my dad. I have only been driving for about 12 years now. What did I find by facing my fears of driving? A freedom to be in a car by myself and to go any where that I want without hearing those voices of my mom and dad arguing over her driving. I could not imagine the freedom that driving myself places gives me.

4. My fear that people would not like what I write is a fear that my friend Slade Roberson (http://sladeroberson.com/ ) talked me into overcoming when he suggested and then told me how to set up and write my own blog which you are now reading. What did I get from facing the fear of disapproval/fear of failure that has kept me from sharing my writings with others? Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker was born. On June 1, I will be celebrating my one year anniversary with this blog. Facing those fears has brought me all of my readers of this blog and all of my online friends that I would not have met otherwise. I thank all of you for your participation on my blog and in my life.

Tom, does this answer your question? I could go on and on naming many other fears from that room sized bundle of fears that I used to carry around on my shoulders but I won't. These are the major ones that I have faced. In that long ago ACA room, all I felt was FEAR. Today, because of facing those fears, I experience the whole range of emotions---anger, joy, sadness, happiness, hurt, peace. Tom, thanks for the inspiration to write this article. You will find Tom's orginal article at his blog "Delightful Work". The article called "Speak Freely or Die" is found at the following link:
http://www.delightfulwork.com/2008/05/29/speak-freely-or-die/ . I encourage my readers to go to this link and check out Tom's article and blog.

If you liked this article and want a little more background information on my journey, check out the following articles that I have written:
" Biography---Part 1"
found at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/biography-part-1.html

"What's In A Name?" found at
http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/whats-in-name.html

"I Am A Writer" found at
http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/i-am-writer.html

"Happy Father's Day, Daddy" found at
http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/happy-fathers-day-daddy.html

"Yes, I Am A Lightworker" found at
http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/yes-i-am-lightworker.html

These articles just give you a little more background on me.
Patricia

12 comments:

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work said...

Patricia indeed you have demonstrated how facing your fears has made your life better. Reading your story makes me think of a couple of things. The first is that fears are illusions. Over and over again once you faced the fear and took an action the fear dissipated in strength.

Also it was good to see how you found freedom on the other side of your fears. I respect you for honoring us with your truth and I'm
so glad to count you among the courageous.

Patricia Singleton said...

Tom, thanks for your wonderful comment. I appreciate the praise. Yes, I have found that all of my fear is an illusion. My spiritual beliefs tell me that all of life is an illusion created so that God/Goddess could experience Him/Her Self as a human experience. Some say that all of my experiences of abuse and joy are a necessary part of karma through the process of reincarnation. I am ok with that too. Fear and forgiveness are both parts of my spiritual path.

Corinne Edwards said...

You are definitely a poster child for the 12 step programs.

But one of the reasons more people do not join is FEAR. It is horrifying to many to reveal all their terrible past experiences.

I think you should write an article about what it is really like to go to a meeting and how to overcome the FEAR of asking for help.

You help so many people with your articles!

Patricia Singleton said...

Corinne, Al-Anon saved my marriage and Adult Children of Alcoholics saved my life. I mean that literally. Thank you for your encouragement. By the time that I found the 12-Steps, I was ready to explode with words. Some people thought that I did. One couple, with unresolved incest issues of their own, actually asked me to stop talking about my incest issues in ACA. It was too late to stop. The flood gates were wide open. When I finally started to talk, the relief was so incredible that I wasn't in control of the emotions or the words for awhile. When you hold something in as long as I did the silence of the incest and you finally have to talk because you can't hold it in any longer, it is a torrential flashflood of enormous proportions. Thanks for that idea of another article. I will see what I can do.

Suzanne Bird-Harris | Learning Curve Coaching said...

Patricia,

I so identify with what you have written here about the 12 Steps and their powerful impact on your life. I went to my first Al-Anon meeting on Good Friday, 1993 and still smile about the symbolism and irony in that.

Like you, my life path since has been about facing my fears and helping others do the same. I am so blessed these days. No, my life is not perfect, but I'm happy, really, finally - and that's my success story. :)

Patricia Singleton said...

Suzanne, thank you for sharing your success story. This kind of sharing can give hope to others.

Barbara Swafford said...

Hi Pat,

First of all, congratulations on your one year anniversary of blogging. That is a great feat.

Thank you also for sharing your life's lessons. You are undoubtedly helping many.

Even though I was raised in a loving family, my heart goes out to those who weren't. I can't imagine what you have been through, but to write about it shows how brave you are. Kudos to you for facing your fears and teaching others they can do the same.

Patricia Singleton said...

Barbara, thank you. I write these articles, not for me to revisit the pain, but to give others who may be stuck in the pain of abuse or the memories of the abuse the knowledge that others have survived and healed from the abuse and so can they. When I was in the abuse, I didn't know that I had choices. I didn't know that things could be any other way but how they were at the time. Discovering that you have choices is the beginning of getting out of the suffering.

oscadilla said...

i would like to take this opportunity to share how healing the movie soul masters was for me. it was truly moving and hopeful. i recommend it. it´s life changing. it´s a must see.
oscar

Patricia Singleton said...

Oscadilla, could you tell us a little about the movie Soul Masters and where we might find it? Thanks.

Deb Call said...

Patricia,

You are STRONG. You are COURAGEOUS. You are REAL. Thanks for gracing us with your words and your presence.

Patricia Singleton said...

Deb, thank you, thank you, thank you. Today I needed to hear those words. I woke up earlier this morning from a nightmare in which my son died and no one would tell me why or how. I woke up still feeling the grief and the frustration because no one would give me answers. My mood has been colored by that dream so far this morning.

Your words have changed that. Thank you.
Patricia