How to Work Through Relationship Fears

“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control and work through your fears. That’s the point.”

Past traumas and fears will often show up, and impact, our current relationship. Fears of betrayal, rejection, abuse, abandonment, not feeling safe or loved, or the fear of being lied to, and unable to trust.

So, what can we do to help with these fears?

1. First, we need to ask ourselves: “What am I most afraid of? What am I terrified is going to happen – maybe not right now – but at some stage in the future?”

Try to really get to the core issue. Try to summarize it clearly and succinctly in a sentence of two.

2. Next, allow yourself to feel the fear. To really feel it. In all its intensity. Don’t try hard to repress it, or to push it down inside. It wants you to notice it. It needs you to notice it.

3. Try to identify where the fear comes from. Ask yourself: “When has this happened to you before? When have I felt like this before?

There’s a good chance it is tied into some trauma from the past (in this, or another, close relationship).

And perhaps your painful story’s not been witnessed and held.

And perhaps you haven’t felt that it was safe to share your pain.

But it must be felt, and witnessed, and then processed, and talked through – until you’re at the place where you are starting to feel free. Where you’re able to detach from it, and move on with your life.

4. Notice any patterns in your relationships. Things to consider, here, include:

How do you typically handle conflict (especially in intimate relationships)?

What do you find yourself putting up with – which you wish you didn’t keep putting up with?

What do you do when you feel anxious and afraid? Who do you talk to (if anyone)? Do you find it helpful, or unhelpful?

How do you, personally, tend to react to different reactions and emotions in your spouse?

What are your automatic, typical thought patterns – about yourself, your partner, your spouse, family members, or relationships in general?

5. Take a risk, and talk about your fears with your spouse. If you feel you can’t do this, then you should ask yourself: Why not?”

Is it because you are afraid of how they will react?

Is it because of how they have reacted to you sharing in the past?

Is it because they put up barriers when they encounter certain emotions?

But in our close relationships, communication is the key. To feel safe and supported you must be able to share, and to be completely honest about all your different fears. Even if they’re groundless and irrational.  

And, yes, it can feel risky – and extremely threatening. But I hope, eventually, you’ll find the courage to be real. And you’ll find that you’re supported – so that trust can start to grow.    

9 thoughts on “How to Work Through Relationship Fears

  1. I was jealous and envious when people 15 years younger were promoted to greater leadership positions. I want to be a leader, too, but am still doing the same job I’ve done for 18 years. After a period of dejection, I realized this is a classic case of mid-life crisis. The truth is I am working on my degree to become a principal–just like my 40ish year old friend. I will simply be a little older when God opens the door. The proceeding thoughts were me telling myself the truth.😊 Have a blessed Easter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand those feelings … and I also love your balanced and positive approach to life. Yes, you ARE doing what will lead you towards your goal … and it is God who opens the doors for us. Thanks for sharing this. Blessings on your weekend David!

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  2. This is exactly where I am right now—letting go the past, admitting some things to myself, and working through my fears to move forward. It hurts not just emotionally, but physically. I understand wanting to numb the pain…but I stay with the breath—sometimes slow and deep, sometimes rapid and shallow.

    Noticing without trying to force a change…just allowing what comes and passes over me—as it does. When it settles—and I can feel again—I “look back”—it’s all still there, but the charge is gone. A few steps forward to make a little more space from the past and the perspective shifts. The present landscape feels more “neutral territory.” The future in the distance is wide open for exploration.
    You bring out the romantic poet in me! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beautifully expressed!!! I love the romantic poet in you 🙂
      Thanks so much for sharing this, Nzain. I think we are often taken by surprise when we feel the physical pain, on top of the emotional pain and all the PTSD reactions. It’s certainly a lot to contend with!
      I love your description of the healing process: noticing without trying to force a change. That is the essence of starting to get free, of starting to change.
      Have a wonderful Easter X

      Liked by 1 person

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