"There are many things in life which create fear for us and fear of itself is a most natural and rational feeling to have. It is essentially the very start of our conditioning process that enables us to establish whether this or that is dangerous or harmless, real or imagined.
Many years ago, my research into response patterns revealed to me that expressed fear is often the flip side of unexpressed anger and expressed anger is the flip side to unexpressed fear. To manage both effectively, we must express both appropriately!
Without fear we wouldn't survive. We'd never live long enough if we developed the practice of crossing the road without any regard to getting knocked down. Without some fear of falling we could never climb safely. Only fear of getting locked up in prison prevents many of us breaking the law of the land in some respect. Fear by the those of rational mind prevent overindulgence and addiction to certain substances which can kill us.
As an infant, if we are unfortunate to burn our hand touching the fire then we quickly learn not to do so again. Indeed, every time we experience pain anew, our body automatically cries out for help and registers the experience in its memory bank.
Unfortunately, not all cries for help are at a conscious level or are obvious to others and can go unnoticed by them. Not all fears can be healthily expressed. My twenty five years as a Probation Officer led me to come across many children who were suffering the pain of school bullying, racism, mental, physical and sexual abuse and were frightened of either telling anyone or even having others learn of such knowledge. I have seen school bullying persist in adversely affecting a person's behaviour and responses for forty years after the event. Similarly, I have encountered people derided for being fat or overweight as a child and who became so obsessed that they became annorexic in adult life and died from their condition. I have worked with grown men who committed the most brutal of crimes and who themselves were brutalised as a child, either physically or sexually.
In order to be healthily negotiated and dealt with, all such debilitating and destructive fears need to be faced, confronted and managed. Relaxation programmes, counselling, behavioural and cognative therapy, assertion training and anger management training are all appropriate ways to help.
The very best way is paradoxically the cheapest and is the most accessible way; talking to another and expressing your anger. Such talking and anger expression can be to a stranger, friend or even the very person who abused you all those years ago.
I recall a young twenty-six-year old woman I once worked with who had been sexually abused by her own father as a child between the ages of eight and fifteen years. She told her mother at the time, but wasn't believed. She never told the police; knowing that to do so would mean the break up of the family. I worked with the woman in question for three years. During that time she revealed the tremendous amount of anger which she still kept in her body for the things her father had done to her. Then she proclaimed, 'And I can never tell him what he did now and how he ruined my life, because he's been dead and buried for four years.'
Three months later,I persuaded her to visit her father's grave with me and 'To tell him.' This she did. She cried, screamed and released all the anger she had been holding in her body for many years and once she had done so, she felt so relieved to have got it out. I won't offer you a fairy tale ending by telling you that she had solved all her problems, because she hadn't. She had made that essential start though in getting on with her life once more. However, I will point out as I did to her, that once released from her body, her anger would not return. She was warned that she would naturally feel anger again, but such would be anger for a new experience and not a trapped experience.
So, don't continue to be scared about your past. Far far better to be fearless about your future!" William Forde: April 18th, 2014.