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#420104 - 12/26/12 12:15 AM Self Centered Fear vs. Sense of Belonging
Magellan Offline

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 1595
Loc: California
I think I tripped on something as I lay in bed reflecting on another thread I posted in, in the spirituality forum.

Aren't we all just collectively whistling in the dark?

I mean, we're all headed towards our own definite demise - death. There is nothing but faith and belief in what happens to us when we die. What will be our destiny? What does it all mean? Who am I/we? What am I/we? We ask ourselves these same questions collectively. Will we destroy ourselves, or learn to explore the stars? There are no facts to draw from, but there are plenty of beliefs.

It occurred to me that, having turned 41, I am looking at the FACT of my own inevitable death. Psychologists say that somewhere in childhood we become aware of our own death. Most of us sublimate that under faith/religion, and denial.

What about those of us who are abused as children? Do we become focused in our fear of living, AND of death?

What seems to have tripped me up is this distinction; that my fear seems more real than everyone else's. But aren't all people afraid, whether they realize it or not?

Why is *MY* fear more important than anyone else's? I've written a lot about being terrified of dying and never having known what love is, because I've been single forever. Its tormenting to think about.

I wonder; is the biggest difference between a Survivor and a normal person is consciousness of fear? Survivors know that life can be cruel, ugly, horrid, and unjust. Normal people strive to deny such horrendous realities. Indeed, it is the stuff of horror/thriller/suspense films. Those things can't possibly happen in the real world, and there's a psychological mechanism at work when someone enjoys watching these things. There's a ton of psychology in film theory that supports this line of thought.

Even in the face of calamities like the massacre in Connecticut, the discussion seems sharply focused on guns and gun control, rather than the truth we survivors are aware of - what drove Adam Lanza to such depravity as to commit such a heinous crime? I suspect quite a few of us secretly understand the pain Adam had to have carried in his heart... we've been made privy to the pain and anguish that drives a person so mad to do horrible things to other people.

Am I being morbid here?

But this thing has me tripped - everyone experiences this latent fear of dying and being extinguished as children. Everyone experiences this fear of not being valued, or loved, or worthy. Everyone. It Is Human to have these fears. Most children drive those fears into the unconscious. Great parents instill in their kids a confidence in themselves, and the fear is driven underground. Do Survivors carry this fear into their adulthood, consciously?

So why is my fear so much more important, that I forget that others share the same fear, unconsciously?

And what would happen if I lived with an understanding that we ALL have these fears? What would happen if I could keep it in my heart that we are all scared of the unknown? What emerges out of this understanding?

When I think and feel about this in my heart, I feel compassion for everyone.

It *IS* a collective whistling in the dark. What we can do for each other, to hold each others hands, to give comfort and love, to assuage the unconscious fear that no one wants to talk about, or admit to themselves. Our inevitable demise. Can I love another person simply because I can hold in my heart that they share the same fear that I do? Can I experience love for another soul simply as a matter of virtue of their being alive? Is this the Unconditional Love that the major religious beliefs encourage followers to strive for?

What damage do I do to myself when I hold and rail against my fear, trying to quell my own fear? How does it block me from experiencing real connection with other people when I focus so sharply on my own fears? What possibilities for intimacy are dashed on the rocks of self centered fear?

We are all heading towards our own personal calamities; death. And we're all afraid of this, consciously, or unconsciously. And the vast majority of us live out our lives trying to make sense, make meaning, and find value. And the vast majority of us make mistakes along the way. And many of us wind up using and abusing others to deal with the gaping wound in their own hearts created by their own fear.

If you're still with me, I am humbled. And if you're still with me, I'd love to hear your experience of this - fear of death, and the fears that we all share in general.

I wonder if being so sharply focused on our own fears has hindered our ability to connect to others in a fundamental way?

I search for community, I search for connection, I search for meaning. I search for communion with others. Indeed, after being alive for 41 years and suffering the effects of abuse in childhood, the only thing that matters in life, I have learned, are the meaningful relationships we develop with other people. Is there a way for a Survivor to build connection and communion with another soul by learning to, and then whistling with another person in the dark?

I hope the allegory of "whistling in the dark" is understood. There's some old folklore/wisdom about people walking by a cemetery late at night, and the best thing to do to overcome the fear of walking by it is to start whistling.


#420107 - 12/26/12 12:41 AM * [Re: Magellan]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline

Registered: 03/26/12
Posts: 2217

Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (04/29/13 05:35 PM)

#420118 - 12/26/12 05:05 AM Re: Self Centered Fear vs. Sense of Belonging [Re: Magellan]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1281

Edited by Suwanee (02/19/16 04:49 PM)
I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before

#420122 - 12/26/12 05:41 AM Re: Self Centered Fear vs. Sense of Belonging [Re: Magellan]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
There have been some studies that correlate how intensely religious a person is to how strongly and regularly they fear death as a concept.

I obviously don't WANT to die, but the concept does not offend me. Death is part of life, and would be no different from whatever happened before I was born - which was hardly bad.

I'm afraid of loss, of pain, of damage, of being denied some normality in life.... the whole CSA suite. But all of these are problems that mess you up while still alive.
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#420124 - 12/26/12 06:25 AM Re: Self Centered Fear vs. Sense of Belonging [Re: Magellan]
Letourski Offline

Registered: 03/16/08
Posts: 314
Loc: Canada
I am still a young man, but I have thought extensively about death. It is a part of the cycle, every life must come to an end for another spring forth. We are collectively afraid of death, because it is the greatest of unknowns and we all want to live on in some way. Few people realize that it IS here and now that we stamp our legacy, and we don't have to be a messiah to make a difference in the lives of others. In my experience, it is far more difficult to matter to myself than it is to matter to others. Sadly, my life is the only one I get to live, and we as survivors spend so much time condemning ourselves in myriad of ways.

Understanding our own finiteness really is the catalyst that forces us to make choices and live the life we want to live. We simply don't have the time to keep all of our options open, and it is that very ignorance that hinders us from carving out a life with a deeper meaning. And meaning itself is relative of course, but in the end we want to love and be loved. When we are love deprived we get Adam Lanza's and many of the people who abused us. We all share so many similarities and none more striking than the fact that we will all die one day. If only that would bring us closer together rather than drive us further apart. Heal well brothers.

I am the warrior.

#420132 - 12/26/12 01:04 PM Re: Self Centered Fear vs. Sense of Belonging [Re: Magellan]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
As a survivor about to turn 56, and only have been dealing with the CSA stuff for 5 months, I feel the weight of what a short time I have left to make things right in my life, and for others I've hurt. So many wasted years numbed with alcohol, drugs and meaningless sex. None of it matters in the face of a death that will come too soon to make up for it all. That is what I fear most from death, that I'll leave this earth remembered as a broken man who only spread his pain to others.
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan


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