Skip to main content

The Paralysis of Fear




Saying and doing the wrong things are both familiar and terrifying to me. You would think after so many years of opening my mouth and letting fly the Monkeys of No-Tact that I might be used to it by now. Or even more used to that feeling of letting people down by either not noticing what needs to be done or scuttling off rather than doing it.

You get to a point where saying and doing nothing is preferable to doing it wrong.

I've been scolded time and again by reasonable, right-minded people who say that efforts made to do it right are worth any possible mistakes and that speaking your mind is a good thing. I agree; honesty is always best and people mess up, so why the big deal? Why do I worry so much?

Well, it's the Fear.

It's not simply worry, or dread of yet another mistake. I can live with accidentally offending someone or even forgetting their birthday (sorry in advance). What I can't abide is the freezing, paralysing, stultifying fear which arrives at the very moment when I realise I might make a mistake. I am afraid, readers, terrified of getting it wrong - but not all the time.

You see, the fear is not a constant but it is consistent with certain situations and people. If you know someone is going to react badly to yet another stupid, dumb-ass, thoughtless, tactless mistake from your sorry self, then you will be afraid of making that mistake. In no way does any aspie want someone spinning round and fixing them with the Look that says you have done it again, well done, you really did it this time!

How could you forget three times in a row? You knew how important it was! You didn't really forget! It was too vital, too much of an issue the other two times. How could you get it wrong this time when we had that whole discussion (row) last time and you promised to try harder in future?

How could you let down your friends/family/limping dog so badly and then do it again? And again??!

The only answer is that you cannot care because a person who cares remembers and a person who cares has a reason for forgetting or real problems which stop them remembering things.

(It is worth pointing out that in these situations other people do some forgetting of their own and don't seem to remember that Aspergers is kind of permanent and does not switch off and on like Data's emotion chip).

Faced with this emotional and accusatory outpouring, what is to be done but apologise and hide? Or fall headlong into the adrenaline-fuelled meltdown caused by being attacked. Neither of these responses helps in the slightest with your awkward situation but I do recommend hiding anyway as it is good and people can only wait around for so long before leaving you alone and stomping off home.

The next time, though, we do remember something. We remember the fear and the fact that our forgetfulness or mistakes brought on the fear. We remember that the other person became angry and upset and we were to blame (or were blamed, which is a different thing but feels the same). We remember the badness of it, the sense that we wanted the whole thing to end right now so we could be okay again.

We remember sitting and wishing it had gone differently so we didn't have to endure the drama of getting it wrong.

Mostly, we remember that it was scary and had that pit-of-the-stomach lurch which signals danger. So we determine never to do it again.

Knowing that we can't always avoid the mistakes and forgetfulness, what we actually resolve never to do again is go through the fear. We may still forget but we will avoid situations where we are relied upon to remember. We may still make mistakes but we will avoid those people who rail against us for doing so. We become a closed book to sections of our lives where important people and places live and we move on, holding ourselves apart from the expectations which try to follow us.

Fear, readers, is a motivator like no other. Love and kindness are sweet but fear helps you remember situations and people in a way that no other emotion can. A small amount of fear reminds you of all the times you have been terrified and you back away instantly, just in case you let in the rest of it.

Whatever brave souls may tell you, fear is not a positive emotion. When you face danger you run from it and learn from the experience, you do not seek to repeat it just to be sure it was awful.

Paralysis and avoidance can be positive, if it means you do not have to stand, spot-lighted in a drama of your own making, chastising yourself for not getting it right while the other person chastises you for getting it wrong.

Today there will be no fear, only moments of pause where I stop what I am doing and decide if this is a time when I must turn away. To you it may look like I am unwilling to face reality but to me it means turning to the window, with the sun on my face. I choose that, readers.

Amanda
  


My books and writing blog, with free stuff.
Find me on Facebook.and Twitter!

Popular posts from this blog

Spotting an aspie adult

Have you ever wondered how to spot an aspie adult, at a distance, without having to get too close? It would be so convenient, wouldn't it? To be able to detect the aspieness before you are drawn in, before there is any danger of becoming part of their mad world and waking up one morning, trying to work out where it all went wrong and what happened to all your socks.

Bearing in mind there are always exceptions that prove the rule, here is what you should look for.

In the supermarket I often wonder if I have spotted a fellow aspie. Walking along the aisles, it's easier to people watch than shop, usually because I've forgotten what I need. The supermarket is a good open space where you can spot aspies as they grapple with the complex practicalities of staying alive by food shopping.

The walk: Yes, from a distance or as they pass by, the walk is a dead giveaway. It seems to veer towards extremes, either a fast paced booster effect from A to B, or a meandering wander with no vi…

A Guide to your Aspie

So, you have your new aspie and are wondering what to do with him/her. Depending on size and gender, some of these instructions may need to be followed with caution but we are confident that you will be able to get the best out of your aspie for many trouble-free years to come!

(Disclaimer: we are not responsible for any physical, emotional or financial harm that may come to you when following these instructions. Once unboxed, your aspie is not eligible for our guaranteed swappage and refurbishment policy. Please have a good look at the aspie through the window provided before unboxing).

1. Unbox carefully and without making physical contact with the aspie. Pull down the box using the flaps provided and allow them to step free by themselves.

2. Allow your aspie free rein, to explore their surroundings. For ease of capture, we recommend not unboxing in an area that is too large or too small. Open fields would not be suitable, unless you are a long distance runner. Small rooms are to b…

Your life, on screen...required viewing for aspies and friends

I come to you today a wiser woman. Aren't we always saying, how good it would be to see ourselves as the world sees us? Well, thanks to a new Japanese anime show, I did just that. For the first time in my life, I saw what I look like from the outside.

Readers, this is not a paid review or anything officially linked to the Watamote, the anime. This is purely my response to something which, hum, how can I put it? Well, if I tell you that I sat through the whole show, with an expression of horror and recognition on my face, would that tell you how it was?

IT Teen had told me to watch it. He bought the manga first, the Japanese version. He waved it in my face and said, 'This is about yoooo!' I remember scowling at the book cover, to find a edgily-drawn girl scowling back at me. Yes, already it was accurate.

IT told me that it's a 'slice of life' story, all about this socially awkward girl called Tomoko. I thought, well, yes, I am socially awkward but that doesn…