I was talking to a client recently who was telling me all of the reasons why she couldn’t do something.
This particular client wanted to leave her abusive partner. He wasn’t violent but he was psychologically abusive and extremely controlling. I understood where she was at.
On the face of it she has it all; good job, lovely home, beautiful family. She’s popular, has a good network of friends and appears confident.
Like so many other abused women and men she has become very adept at putting on a facade and she’s exhausted.
She works late because she doesn’t want to go home, then feels guilty because she’s leaving the children at home with her partner and not having quality time with them. She finds reasons to see her friends alone so she gets a bit of a break. She arranges all sorts of events for her children to make sure they get a break too.
When she talks to her friends she tells them she dreams of leaving. Of being alone and starting again, of living her life on her terms. But she can’t.
I asked her ‘Why can’t you?’ we’d already established she wasn’t afraid of being alone, she wasn’t afraid of money being tight in the short term, she really wasn’t afraid of starting again, just her and the children. When we worked it through, and it was tough, there were tears and there were excuses, we established that she was afraid of what her partner would say or do when she left.
This is something I could completely relate to. This fear of the unknown, this fear of something that was very real in my mind, kept me in a state of chronic stress for more than 10 years. It took a massive toll on my physical and mental health and took a lot of hard work to overcome and get myself to where I am now.
My client was the same. She had created a picture in her own mind of how horrendous things would get. Of all the things her partner would say and do and how he could potentially hurt her. The trouble is, she had no evidence to suggest he would do any of the awful things she had imagined in her mind. Yes, there was plenty of evidence to suggest he would continue to belittle her, undermine her and try to control her but nothing to give her proof that what was going on in her mind was actually going to happen.
Many years ago a coach I was working with suggested an acronym of F.E.A.R to me. You may have heard it; False Evidence Appearing Real.
Lots of us experience this, if we have to give a presentation we have a very vivid fear of our clothes falling off or of losing our voice. I have a vivid fear of being crushed by a lorry when I’m driving alongside one on the motorway. But I have NO evidence of this happening to me. I may have read something somewhere at some time in which something similar happened but that didn’t involve me or any of the players in the scene that was playing out in my mind.
As for my client, will she leave her partner? Yes, in her own time. She came to me because she needs help in getting through what will certainly be a difficult time.
Will it be painful? Undoubtedly. Will it cause ripples of upset in her/their social circles? Yes.
Will she feel better for it? Absolutely.
Will she do it? I’m quietly confident that she will. Why? Because I helped her to work out a plan, a very real, workable plan that can be implemented just one small step each day until she’s ready physically and mentally to jump over to the other side of FEAR where her future will happenWhat are you avoiding doing because of FEAR (false evidence appearing real)?
As Robin Sharma says “Fear only becomes powerful when you give it YOUR power”
If you need help to overcome your FEAR there are plenty of people who can help you. Depending upon the fear you have you may need a coach, a hypnotherapist, a counsellor or a psychotherapist.
Do something today to claim back your power and step out of the wings into YOUR spotlight.