When Fear Suffocates Love

November 26, 2016

Here is a question for you. Can you imagine what would happen if all of our emotions were able to disguise themselves as other emotions? In fact, what would happen if there were negative emotions that could hide within positive emotions? Would we be able to handle them? Let’s think of the worst case scenario. One of the worst emotions disguised as one of the best: What would happen if fear could replace love?

Love, and we’re referring here to a romantic type of love, is the “Big Bang” of all emotions. It is generated between two people, and within it attraction, commitment, intimacy and passion can be found. It is a phenomenon that affects us down to the last cell in our body. Love, of course, affects our mind, emotions and even our likes and preferences.

How could fear hide within an emotion like this one? Let’s imagine it: being in love and afraid. Isn’t love, at the end of the day, an act of bravery and generosity with the other person and with ourselves? Maybe we should backpedal and clear up what it means to have fear disguise itself. Let’s put it another way. What would happen if the cause, the person that made love appear, wasn’t anyone but fear itself?

When fear looms

First of all, let’s ask the million dollar question: why fear? Well, let’s be fair and admit that this emotion has accompanied us since the beginning of time. It has allowed us to escape or given us the will to fight in order to survive. Thus, when faced with an emotional event as overwhelming as love, it is normal for our fears to be activated. They let us know that change could be a bad thing.

 

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Thus, precisely because it is so easily activated, that’s why it is no longer as useful as it used to be. Nowadays we respond disproportionately to events that are not life-threatening. In other words, we brand certain events as threats or dangers which can actually only do us good.

We tend to say that fear stops being useful when it paralyzes us, keeping us from enjoying, suffering or simply living. Those previous stories of abandonment, sudden breakups and of pain and suffering. They leave a dent in us, and condition our way of understanding and receiving love. We become compulsively afraid of love. We’re constantly trying to escape the suffering caused by the relationship. Or even the suffering imposed on us by society and or by feeling unloved or unwanted.

The disguises of fear 

We have already seen the first clues. Nevertheless, if fear is activated by so much happiness, and love is capable of activating it through our past romantic hardships, how will fear manifest itself? Let’s look at some examples.

  • The “search for love”. In other words, fear’s favorite disguise towards solitude and being alone. This fear is due to the cliches that have been forced into our heads that “being alone is terrible”. This fear takes another dimension. Because, whether we are conscious of it or not, it pushes us to compulsively seek out a partner. We do this in order to avoid this terrible fate of solitude. We run a great risk, trying to control love, its recipient, development and end.
  • Doubt. Let’s say that love has come knocking, and we have opened our doors to it. Nevertheless, a shadow decides to take up residence in our minds in one of its favorite ways. “Is this my moment?”, “Am I rushing it?”, “Is this what I really want?”. In this case, the fear of heartbreak doesn’t hide. We know that we have had hard times in the past. We suspect that these doubts are ways that our emotional scars have of being felt.
  • Exaggerated perfectionism. In those situations in which we feel an urgency and an absolute need to please and be liked by our partner. To the point of even modifying our personality. All so that “everything works out”. Simply imagining ourselves abandoned again makes our world crumble into pieces. This fear connects to our most human side: the fear of loss. It threatens to rid us of someone vital. And it will be successful if we let it infect our partner.
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Should you accept it or fight against it? 

We now know why and how. The logical question now is: are we alone in the face of this danger? Not at all. Nevertheless, before we start thinking about fear or love, we must be aware and conscious of our humanity. Of our need for love and our fears as people. We must understand that fear will always be a part of our lives, and that we can accept it and opt for love, or not.

Then we also find something that is inseparable from life itself and the human condition: time. This may seem obvious, it may even seem tricky to pull out the “time” card. But even so, it is still only of the most important cards in the deck. Time and its healing abilities, it helps us see things from another perspective. Time helps us view events that were originated by the fears that now threaten us.

Lastly, there is us as individual people, with our personal lessons and wisdom. And above all, our infinite capacity to love and our inexhaustible desire to be loved, included and appreciated.

That love that we have felt, with everything it implies, gives us the extraordinary ability to love again. And what is better than exposing ourselves to that solitude, doubt and that loss, and choosing to love again? Surely this way we will end up smothering fear with our love and not the other way around.