Spiritual Boot Camp - Part Two

  • FEAR OF DISAPPROVAL (the need for other people's validation and approval)

    People who have a need for approval:

    • Work hard at being good: (1) at their job, (2) in their home life, (3) with their spouse, (4) as a parent, and (5) as an adult child with their own parents.

    • Wait for others' permission to give themselves recognition for what they do.

    • Depend on others to give them a sense of self-worth.

    • Are poor at solving problems.

    • Avoid conflict because of the fear that some other person will not approve of their point of view.

    • Work hard at keeping "peace at any price'' in a relationship.

    • Are "People Pleasers'' doing, acting and being for others what they think the others want.

    • Have a problem letting others know how they think or feel about things.

    • Have a tendency to be "over-responsible,'' taking on the responsibility of others (children, spouse, co-workers) in order to get things done.

    • Lack self-confidence in their skills, abilities and knowledge. They tend to see themselves as "incompetent.''

    • Have a tendency to "hide the truth'' when it is more convenient to tell a lie, especially when they think conflict will arise by telling the truth.

    • Do anything to avoid hurting the feelings of others, even if it means swallowing their own feelings or denying the reality of things.

    • Fear rejection, neglect, abandonment and disapproval so much that they give up their own wants, needs and rights subjecting themselves to the wants, needs and whims of others.

    • Have a keen sense of obligation and act on this sense in all aspects of their life.

    • Suffer from "paralysis of analysis'' and fret so much over what the possible consequences of a decision will be that they never make a decision or take a "stand.''

    • Are convinced no matter what they do it "isn't good enough'' to gain approval so they either work harder or give up.

    Why Does the Need for Approval Exist?

    People who have a need for approval have:

    • Low self-esteem due to: (1) lack of positive feedback as a child, (2) lack of sense of worth due to no reinforcement as a child, (3) sense of rejection and emotional abandonment as a child, (4) sense of neglect as a child.

    • Denial that there are any problems in their families of origin or in their current nuclear families, yet they cannot get enough affirmation of current self-worth.

    • Never become emotionally independent enough to positively affirm themselves.

    • Dependent personalities and a need for others' affirmation.

    • Been driven compulsively to seek approval from any source for any "good'' they do as a learned role from their families of origin.

    • Felt they were "misfits'' as children, "different,'' not in the "social swing'' of things.

    • Been "peer group'' oriented as children and have become dependent on "group norms'' to measure their worth.

    • Been stuck on fantasy "role models'' of what it means to be a "good'' adult, spouse, parent or worker. These role models are often unrealistic, idealistic, and too perfect ever to be emulated. Such role models can come from TV, movies, books or any fantasized real-life situation.

    • A limited vision of what "freedom to be who you are'' actually is. They are bound up in a list of "musts'' and "shoulds'' that are restrictive and inhibiting but supposedly lead to "approval.''

    How Do Others Respond to People Who Have a "Need for Approval?"

    In response to those who have a need for approval, people:

    • Take advantage by implying that greater effort will be needed in order to gain such approval.

    • Feel uncomfortable with being so "needed'' and flee the relationship.

    • Enjoy the position they have and become unreasonable in the exercise of power and control.

    • Ignore this need and never grant approval.

    • Respond in a guilt-ridden way for not giving enough positive strokes to improve the others' lives.

    • Respond in a "nurturing'' way and rescue them so as to reduce their sense of frustration and stress.

    • Become overwhelmed by the obligation to always "be there'' for them and suffer burnout in the relationship.

    • Become anxious about saying the wrong thing and become tongue-tied and frustrated, and find it easier to simply avoid the person.

    • Become convinced that no one could satisfy this deep need and stop trying.

    What Steps Can Be Taken to Reduce the Need for Approval?

    Step 1: Identify and refute the irrational belief that the approval of others is necessary in order for you to feel good about yourself.

    Step 2: Identify your fear of: rejection, neglect, abandonment, disapproval, and look for the origins of these fears. Identify rational means to desensitize yourself to these fears.

    Step 3: Develop an inventory of the positive attributes you possess. Ask others to assist you in making the list all-inclusive.

    Step 4: Develop a list of positive affirmation self-talk scripts you can use to affirm yourself on a regular basis.

    Step 5: Reflect on your feelings about conflict events. Do not avoid conflict situations, but use positive assertiveness to maintain your position and protect your rights. Emphasize how you feel about the issue by using "I'' statements.

    Step 6: Answer the question: What do I gain if I am agreeable and pleasing to everyone in my life and never take a "stand'' on how I really feel about things?

    Step 7: Develop a list of issues important in your life, those you never let others know about for fear of their reaction to them. Develop a plan of action by which you systematically let others know your beliefs concerning these issues.

    Step 8: If you find you are still working out of a need for approval, return to Step 1 and begin again.

    Remember 'WGAS' when you are stuck in your approval-seeking mode. To get yourself out of it, just tell yourself: "Who Gives a Shoot! what they think or say about me. I am OK just the way I am."

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/14709-handling-the-need-for-approval/#ixzz1JAWDEvum


    Insecurity is defined as:

    • Feeling of not being "good enough" to meet the challenge of a situation you face in life.

    • Sense of helplessness in the face of problems, conflict or concerns.

    • Belief that one is inadequate or incompetent to handle life's challenges.

    • Fear of being discovered as inadequate, ill-fitted or unsuited to meet responsibilities at home, school or on the job.

    • Sense of not fitting in, being "out of sync" with those in your peer group.

    • Perception that life is unpredictable with most of the expectations you have to meet not clearly understood.

    • Sense of always climbing up a mountain, never being able to reach the top.

    • Sense of lacking support or reinforcement where you live, work or play.

    • Results from a sense of being unaccepted, disapproved or rejected.

    • Inner turmoil coming from a lack of direction or bewilderment as to where you are going, what your goals are and what responses are appropriate for events in life.

    Insecure people may have:

    • Been raised in a chaotic, unpredictable or volatile environment in which they were kept off balance, on guard or on edge.

    • Experienced a major tragedy or loss in their lives and are having a difficult time in accepting this loss and adjusting to the change.

    • Experienced a major catastrophe in life (e.g., divorce, losing a job, bankruptcy, failure in school, losing a friend, lack of acceptance into social or civic groups, etc.) that led them to question their personal competency.

    • A poorly developed self-concept with low self-esteem, lacking belief in their personal goodness, skills or abilities.

    • Never felt accepted by the others' in their life, so much so that they became chronically shy, retiring and withdrawn in their interactions.

    • Had an unrealistic list of rules and expectations prescribed by significant others in their life, rules they are striving to meet even in their current life.

    • A poor body image, making them believe that others see them in a negative light. This makes them self-conscious, tense and anxious in dealing with others.

    • Never received enough positive reinforcement or feedback from others about their talents and abilities, leaving them unclear as to their skills.

    • Been given very little direction, guidance or discipline in their earlier lives leaving them unable to cope with the current pressures of life.

    • Always felt overshadowed or overlooked due to the people in their lives who seemed to be more successful, smarter, prettier, more handsome, more athletic or higher achievers, getting much attention.

    This can foster doubt in an insecure person's ability to gain recognition for their successes, and can make them doubt their ability to achieve success.

    What do chronically insecure people believe?

    • I can never accomplish the task facing me.

    • Everybody is looking at me, just waiting for me to make a fool of myself.

    • I am a failure.

    • I am ugly and awful to look at.

    • I can never win. I am a loser.

    • What is the sense of trying, I'll never get it right.

    • No matter how hard I work to achieve, I never get any recognition.

    • I am incompetent in everything.

    • How could anybody ever say anything good about me?

    • I failed them in the past; therefore, I am a failure today.

    • Once a failure, always a failure.

    • There is only one direction for me to go in this organization and that is down and out.

    • No one could ever like, respect or accept me.

    • I don't deserve to be treated nicely.

    • I don't fit in here or anywhere else for that matter.

    • Everyone else looks so good, so together; I feel so out of it compared to them.

    • I am an incomplete person and will always be that way.

    • I am so afraid that no one will like me.

    • Why would anyone care to hear what I say, how I feel or what I think?

    • People are just nice to you in order to use you and get something they want from you.

    What are some negative effects of insecurity?

    People who are insecure can:

    • Have difficulties in establishing healthy, long-lasting relationships.

    • Be perceived incorrectly by others as being snobbish or uppity.

    • Become victims of fears that impair their freedom of action or choice.

    • Be candidates for paranoia feeling others are out to get them.

    • Scare others away from them by their defensive attitude.

    • Be over-controlled emotionally, having problems letting others in on their emotions. This can lead others to guess what is going on until the passivity of the insecure person leads to an over-reaction by the others, resulting in conflict or rejection.

    • Have problems on the job or in school when they have the knowledge, skills and abilities to do a task efficiently but are told to do it in a different, less effective manner. They get so uptight about the job and are fearful of standing up for what they believe that they get angry, hostile and resentful until they either quit or succeed in submerging their emotions.

    • Get passed over for promotions, advances or honors because they are so quiet about what it is they do. This leads the insecure persons to feel more unaccepted, unappreciated and under-valued.

    • Have problems meeting people and often can become debilitated socially by chronic shyness.

    • Become so inward that they seek to escape into their fantasy life rather than deal with the reality of their lives.

    In order to overcome insecurity, people need to:

    • Be willing to be put in vulnerable positions in life where they might get hurt.

    • Take risks to change their current behavior.

    • Trust others enough to expose themselves to them, risking vulnerability and the possibility of being hurt.

    • Have a healthy and humorous belief in themselves in order to overlook their exaggerated need for acceptance and approval.

    • Take a rational approach to each problem they face so that they are no longer inhibited by debilitating fears or beliefs.

    • Practice assertive behavior in their lives, earning respect and the acknowledgment of their rights.

    • Arouse the courage to take small steps in learning to experience success and overcoming their lack of belief in self. Once the success is experienced, they can build on it to gain the courage to act out of a strong conviction in their self-goodness and worth.

    • Break the barrier or outer shell of the self-doubt they have hidden behind and reach out to others. Breaking out of their "shells" requires letting go of past hurts (real or imagined) and moving on with life.

    • Open themselves to the possibility of success and accomplishment. Visualize or make a prophecy of winning at life so their energies are focused in a growth direction.

    • Reward themselves for who they are and capitalize on their strengths, attributes, skills and competencies.

    What steps can people take to handle insecurity?

    Step 1: Answer the following questions in your journal:

    a. What behavior traits signal my insecurity?

    b. What happened in my past to make me insecure?

    c. What are some of my beliefs that account for my insecurity?

    d. What are some negative consequences I've experienced due to my insecurity?

    e. What behavior traits do I need to develop in order to overcome my insecurity?

    Step 2: After identifying your insecurity, how can you handle it? Answer the following questions in your journal:

    a. What substitute behavior traits could I develop that would indicate security in myself?

    b. What are some positive consequences of exhibiting such secure behavior traits in my life?

    c. What are some rational beliefs I must develop in order to exhibit secure behavior in my life?

    d. How will my life change if I exhibit secure behavior?

    e. What is my action plan to develop security in my life?

    f. What obstacles stand in the way of my executing this action plan?

    g. How can I overcome the obstacles to my development of self-confidence and security?

    Step 3: Implement the plan of action in Step 2. Keep a log in your journal as you go through each stage of handling your insecurity.

    Step 4: The following project is designed to help you develop secure behavior by learning about yourself through the eyes of the other people in your life.

    "Overcoming Insecurity" Collage

    Make a collage - about 2 by 3 feet - using magazine pictures, sayings, articles, photos, prizes, trinkets, cards, drawings, objects, ribbons, etc., indicative of the various strengths, attributes, talents, skills, knowledge, virtues, competencies or abilities you possess. Once you gather the images, paste them on a poster board in collage fashion and hang it where you can see it all the time. Share your collage with your friends, family and ask them to help you overcome some of your personal insecurity by giving accurate and honest feedback on reasons why you should feel secure and good about yourself.

    Step 5: If you are still feeling insecure after completing Steps 1 through 4, review the material, return to Step 1 and begin again.

    Both articles from


    First you must identify if it is actually power or control that you use over yourself or others.

    Ten Differences Between Power and Control

    1. Power is maintaining influence over the behavior, attitudes and feelings of others. Control is maintaining a check on the behavior, attitudes and feelings of one's self.

    2. Power is exerting control over others. Control is exerting control over one's self.

    3. Power is the expression of commands, demands, directives, orders and requests as to how others are to act, think, behave, feel and believe. Control is the expression of commands, demands, directives, orders and requests, as to how I am to act, think, behave, feel and believe.

    4. Power is the attitude of strength, one up,'' on top,'' number one'' or leader'' projected to others in order to direct how they live their lives. Control is the attitude of being strong, being on top of it, being in control and being self-led, that one feels inside as he lives his life in his self-directed way.

    5. Power can be a survival tool used to exist in a self-threatening environment to avoid being taken advantage of by others. The power response is to go on the offensive, take a position of strength, take the lead, and direct others in the environment. This can lead to over responsibility and feeling overly concerned for everyone's welfare. By taking the power'' role, people try to ensure that others survive a threatening environment, but this exacts a major price emotionally, physically and spiritually from them. Control can be a survival tool used to exist in a threatening environment. The control response is to go on the defensive, and direct oneself so that it appears one is not being taken advantage of by another. It can also help one to exist in and maintain sanity in a confusing environment. This can lead to a position of being too self-contained'' and self-directed.'' The over control'' phenomenon can result when it becomes difficult to let go'' of control over self. This can result in never loosening up enough to accept direction from others, be they teachers, employers, spouses or authorized authorities and leaders.

    6. Power is a vehicle by which people can become exempt from revealing personal feelings. They have risen to the top and the people below are refused entry into the power type's'' emotional life. This is a defense mechanism to avoid full emotional involvement. Control is a vehicle by which one can avoid revealing personal feelings, because by maintaining self-control he submerges and hides how he is reacting to the emotional stresses in life. One can close oneself off from others so successfully that the emotional side of life is kept hidden. A person who exerts self-control over his emotions hides behind a guard all'' invisible shield, however, the lack of emotional self-disclosing takes a toll on the self-controller.

    7. Power is often exerted by people who believe they have the answers'' but lack the patience for others in their lives to come to a consensus or agreement on what an appropriate course of action should be. The power play'' is using the position of authority or status to get your way with total disregard for the feelings or ideas of others. Control is often exerted by one who believes he has the answers,'' yet also believes that no one in his environment will listen to him. The control play'' is the refusal to reveal any ideas, thoughts, emotions, attitudes, beliefs or alternative problem solutions, so as to avoid expected or anticipated rejection.

    8. Power can be the mode of operation of people who believe that at one point in their lives they were taken advantage of, and that will never happen again. Actually, they are treating others in as poor a fashion as they believe they were treated in the past. Control can be the mode of operation of one who believes that at one point in his life he was taken advantage of, and that will never happen again. By his emotional passivity, he often incurs the wrath of others in his life who cannot break through the guard all'' shield.

    9. Power is the mode of operation of people who desire to make their beliefs of what reality is become the reality. They take charge in order to reorganize their existence to become the expression of what they believe life should be. They take over to ensure that their reality' becomes thereality' of others. Control is the mode of operation of one who desires to make his beliefs of what reality is become his reality. He controls himself in order to retain his existence as the expression of what he believes his life should be. He takes control of his life to ensure that his 'reality' is the `reality' for himself.

    10. Power is ensuring that people get their way, even if manipulation, conning, lying, deceit and dishonesty need to be used. It may result in their eventually getting their way. It could also, however, result in their being exposed as people who would do anything to get things their way, ultimately losing all power. Control is ensuring that one continues to see life his way, even if he needs to use self-manipulation, self-conning, lying to self, self-deceit and dishonesty to self. It may result in the eventual maintenance of his own view of life. However, it could result in such deep self-deception that he no longer can perceive the difference between what is real and what is not real.

    What is the difference between physical and emotional power and control?

    A. Physical power and control are:

    • attempts to exert influence over the external things, persons, and events of life.

    • the external behavior that revolves around how problems concerning issues, conflicts and mistakes are resolved in the outside world.

    • the visible aftermath of involvement in the handling of objects, materials, resources and personnel.

    • represented by symbols of status, position and placement in the hierarchy of life.

    • clearly recognized by those upon whom they are being used.

    B. Emotional power and control are:

    • attempts to influence inner feelings, emotions, beliefs, attitudes, values, and thoughts of others (power) or ourselves (control).

    • the inner personal behavior engaged in when individuals deal with issues, conflicts or mistakes. The inner behavior can be oriented to others (power) or to self (control).

    • the not so obvious aftermath of involvement in the handling of objects, materials, resources and personnel where the emotions of others (power) or ourselves (control) are affected.

    • represented by symbols of emotional suppression, depression, negativity, pessimism, low self-esteem, insecurity, discouragement in others (power) or in ourselves (control).

    • less clearly recognized when they are used because they are used in manipulative ways on others (power) or on ourselves (control).

    What are some typical beliefs of people who utilize power and control?

    A. Beliefs of people utilizing physical power:

    • I am the greatest.

    • People should listen to me.

    • People should respect me.

    • I have the answer to everyone's problems.

    • There is no problem I can't solve.

    • Everyone around here is a jerk.

    • I am the only one who knows what's happening around here.

    • They can't survive without me.

    • There is only one way to do things--my way.

    • Might makes right.

    B. Beliefs of people utilizing physical control:

    • Everyone is out to cheat me.

    • Don't trust anyone. They are all after something.

    • Everyone is out to take advantage of me.

    • Everyone is jealous of what I have.

    • Never let anyone in on your business.

    • It is nobody's business what I am doing.

    • Never take a risk.

    • You will lose it all if you're not careful.

    • I worked hard to get where I have gotten and no one is going to take it away from me.

    • Don't let anyone know what you are doing; they are bound to steal it if they know.

    C. Beliefs of people utilizing emotional power:

    • There is only one way for others in my life to think, feel or believe--my way.

    • I have got to get them to see things my way so they won't take advantage of me.

    • If I am open to their point of view they will try to mislead me; I need to convert them to my way.

    • Dump on them before they dump on me.

    • If I keep them busy enough they'll ignore me.

    • I will always have to pay an emotional price if I open myself up to others, so I keep them at an arm's length.

    • It doesn't matter how they feel or react as long as I maintain the emotional control in the meantime.

    • My feelings come first.

    • Take control of them before they take control of you.

    • Everyone is out to take advantage of everyone else, so the best defense is a good offense.

    D. Beliefs of people utilizing emotional control:

    • Don't trust anyone with your feelings, beliefs or thoughts.

    • Everyone is out to rape me emotionally.

    • If I lose my control, there will be no sanity in my house (or on the job).

    • It is important to maintain control over your feelings so that you don't go insane.

    • Getting angry or losing your cool is bad for you.

    • Avoid conflict at all costs.

    • You should never let others know how their behavior or actions affect you.

    • There is only one way to survive a crazy environment, climb into your shell.

    • No one is ever going to get under my skin again.

    • I'll never allow myself to get hurt again.

    What negative consequences result from overuse of power and control?

    A. People who overuse power can:

    Create a barrier between themselves and others, always being one up'' on the others.

    Find their designated underlings'' resentful of being subjected to the put down'' of the power people.

    Affect a revolt by those subjected to being ignored, blamed, accused, abused emotionally, neglected or belittled.

    Find it difficult to establish mature adult relationships.

    Become socially isolated, often being seen as egotistical, obnoxious, poor sports, and as people who want things only their way.

    Be oblivious to the nonverbal feedback from others, isolating themselves all the more.

    Believe that they are the center of their universe, eventually becoming so caught up in this belief that they have a distorted perception of reality. They work hard at instituting this perception in their sphere of influence, be it in a relationship, family, social group, at work or in the community.

    Believe that they are all knowing, infallible, all powerful, lacking the common sense to avoid problems, issues, or conflicts outside of their level of competence. Eventually they experience a setback or downfall that can precipitate a crisis of major proportion.

    Develop a list of opponents or competitors whose major role in life is to bring about the downfall of the power person. Through chronic competition for control, chronic fights and arguments, the power person's effectiveness and efficiency is hurt until, having little or no energy left to continue battling for control, the power person gives up.

    Become so busy defending themselves from others that they eventually lose contact with their own feelings and experience a sense of disassociation from themselves.

    B. Over-controlling people can:

    Become anxious working for anyone except for themselves, because they are experienced in maintaining control in their early family lives in order to survive a chaotic environment, finding it difficult to accept direction from others later.

    Keep their feelings hidden so well and for so long that others become frustrated leading to the others rejecting, becoming angry with, fighting with, attacking, nagging and complaining to them.

    By their passivity, affect those people in their lives who take a more active, open, emotional and verbal role in life. This can eventually lead to the controlling people being made the object of scorn, being blamed for all problems, being misjudged as to their intentions, being misunderstood and being seen as the sick'' persons.

    Find it hard to understand other's reactions to their behavior. They often get confused about the behavior addressed at them, becoming overly sensitive to this feedback or become so insensitive that they avoid, reject or ignore others.

    Get themselves into trouble because of their need to avoid conflict, avoid disapproving situations and avoid taking risks. The others in their lives respond opposite to the wishes of the controlling people. This results in increased conflict, increased disapproval, or the need to take new risks to resolve the problems.

    Become quiet or silent when arguments arise. This silence typically arouses the anger of the others who desire dialog or confrontation. This can arouse a greater conflict than what the original issue deserves.

    Become the target of attacks from others for their lack of sharing, lack of openness, lack of communication, lack of emotional awareness, lack of warmth and caring, lack of support and lack of response. These attacks usually succeed in convincing the controlling people that they were correct in controlling their lives, and they escape deeper into their shells.

    Be so self-protective that they become social isolates, incapable of connecting with anyone in their lives.

    Be so caught up in denial that they are unable to solve problems. They lack the social competence and skills necessary to confront problems, therefore, they become overwhelmed by the very troubles which they deny exist.

    Be so defensive that it is impossible to have a mature adult relationship with them. They often give the others in their lives so much power over themselves that they are in a permanent one down'' position.

    Steps to overcome your power and/or controlling behaviors:

    Step 1: Review the material in this chapter. Answer the following questions in your journal:

    • Am I a person who uses power or control?

    • My behavior is characterized by: physical power, (2) emotional power, (3) physical control or (4) emotional control.

    • The beliefs accounting for my behavior include:

    • The negative consequences I experience as a result of my use of power/control include:

    Step 2: List specific problems you have experienced as a result of the use of power/control.

    The problems I experience:

    • In my relationships due to my power/control behavior include:

    • In my family due to my power/control behavior include:

    • On the job (or at school) due to my power/control behavior include:

    • In the community due to my power/control behavior include:

    Step 3: For each of the problems identified in Step 2, list the beliefs that account for your use of power/control:

    Step 4: List each problem from Step 2 in priority order. Record the following in your journal:

    a. Identify the obstacles to resolving this problem

    b. Refute the beliefs leading to your use of power/control. List your replacement beliefs.

    c. Detail a plan to implement realistic solutions.

    d. Identify behavior, beliefs, attitudes and feelings that need to be changed in order to resolve the problem. Take the steps necessary to experience change and growth.

    Step 5: Use Step 4 on each problem identified in Step 3.

    If after dealing with each problem you still suffer with power and/or control issues, return to Step 1 and begin again.

  • How about fear of commitment, do you think that could be put with fear of intimacy?


    Fear of commitment refers to an avoidance of long-term partnership and/or marriage but the problem is often much more pervasive, affecting school, work, and home life as well. Commitmentphobia is often most strongly apparent in romantic life. Generally, commitmentphobic people claim that they are eager to find a lasting romantic attachment and get married, yet they fail to find appropriate partners and maintain long-lasting connections. Ironically, in these romantic relationships, the commitmentphobic partner craves what he/she fears most: love and connection. This paradoxical craving for a frightening reality leads to a confusing and destructive pattern of seduction and rejection. The results are emotionally devastating.

    The key to understanding commitmentphobia is recognizing that such behavior is rooted in fear—fear of lost options or fear of making poor decisions. The commitmentphobic mind sees decisions as permanent, opening the possibility of being caged or trapped forever with no means of escape. Commitmentphobia is a real disabling fear, that can be manifest in many areas of life, including career, home ownership, or even shoe shopping. This fear can make simple everyday decisions into a tremendous burden.

    To assuage their anxieties, many commitmentphobics become fantasy-driven, using their active imaginations to fill in for the lack of emotional security and closeness in their lives. Of course, these fantasies pose additional problems because no potential partner or job can ever live up to the fantasy. Commitmentphobics are also prone to self-destructive behavior, such as walking out on partners or jobs without notice, leaving themselves and the people in their lives in untenable situations.

    One potentially misleading aspect of commitmentphobic behavior is that the partner who is actively running away from commitment is the only one with a problem. In fact, commitmentphobic behavior includes "settling" for inappropriate partners, pursuing unattainable partners, and engaging in instant relationship mergers as well as fleeing from what might have appeared to be a stable romance. Any persistent behavior that actively prevents a person from making a commitment or allows a person to make excuses for not having made a commitment can be considered commitmentphobic. There is "active" commitmentphobia, which is most strongly characterized by running away from relationships, and "passive" commitmentphobia, which is most strongly characterized by long suffering devotion to an active partner who is running away, longing for a partner who has run away, and fantasy reconciliation scenarios.

    If you are fighting "commitment phobia", you will identify with one or more of the most common fears men and women have about the commitment. And if you are in a relationship with someone struggling with making a decision as to whether to move on or not, you can show them that you are sensitive to their fears by helping them discover and confront their fears. Fear of commitmemnt can encompass several fears. Some these fears and anxieties are obvious; others are subtle.

    1. Fear of the unknown.

    New experiences and demands can be stressful. You don't know just what is round the corner, and you worry about this. You are more content to stick with status quo than to opt for an uncertain future. This fear is especially pronounced in those people who lack self-confidence and the fear can escalate when demands are made on us.

    2. Fear of making a mistake

    The decision not to decide is itself a decision, and frequently a mistake! This fear is common among men and women who have more choices they can pick from and the more the choices the greater the fear. You fear that you will regret the decision tomorrow, next week, or next month and so delay and drag out the process hoping that you won't make a mistake or fail.

    3. Fear of losing family and friends

    We all rely on the support of family and friends. You fear losing those people who do not approve of your decision (family, friends, children from previous marriage etc) because you have a strong need for the social approval of others. But this fear is not simply about not being able to handle their anger or rejection but fear of when things go wrong - and having them say "I told you so".

    4. Fear of losing control.

    We all want to feel that we have choices and are in control. And part of the sense of control is in being able to control the timing of a relationship (when and how it'll happen). What usually happens is that everything is going on well, but once you feel that you are losing that control you freak out and back off.

    Often if we have a bad experience we are influenced by it and almost expect history to repeat itself, setting up negative expectations. To overcome your fears pay attention to what you are privately saying to yourself when confronted with fear? What are the are your underlying personal beliefs about the fear. Write these beliefs on the left side of a piece of paper. On the right side, challenge your beliefs as if you were on the opposite side of a debate.

    Next, go back to the last time(s) you experienced any of the fears above and didn't cope well with it leading you to doubt yourself. Ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that will happen this time?" Then again challenge your beliefs as if you were on the opposite side of a debate. You'll be surprised how easy this is. By taking another side from your usually mindset, you'll open your mind to another viewpoint.

    Ask yourself "Why?" Why are you afraid of commitment? Is it your partner? Are you afraid of getting hurt? Write down these questions and answers.

    Read your list to yourself. Do these answers make sense? Expand on them into the smallest itty bitty detail you can go into.

    Create a new list of things you love about your partner. Do you like the way they treat you? Write only the things that you like to see in them. (e.g., don't write "they're hot".)

    Put down "What if" questions, and write down all possibilities.

    Compare the 2 lists. Underline/Highlight the 2 most important things on each list. Ask yourself "Are these good reasons to be afraid?" and "Are these good reasons to love my partner?"

    Realize that if your partner would want marriage or a family, you would be too afraid to say yes. Think about how your partner would take it.

    Think about your life with a family. Think about the good thoughts, not the bad, such as your first home together, teaching your baby to walk, bringing them to their first day of kindergarten, teaching them the qualities of life they'll need to know. If you're not planning on having children, think about always being with your partner, sitting on a porch in the morning just talking with each other, think about the perfect life with your partner.

    Confront your partner about your fear. Explain the reasons why you don't want commitment yet. Do not direct the issue at them, however. Talk to your partner about changes in your life. Is something going on that you don't have time for commitment? Explain everything that's going on.

    Apologize to them after working things out. It's nice to take them out to dinner to show how much you care for them.


    • Don't rethink your decision after things are worked out. Unless something comes up and it absolutely necessary, you should not be fearing commitment anymore.


    • Your partner may react differently than you had expected. Explain to your partner that its not them that's the problem, its you. This is true, so do not believe that you are lying to them.

    by Christine Akiteng

  • my childhood......

    I remember being alone most of my childhood. I always found myself getting lost playing with my dolls. it was like a way out for me. my dolls were sacred noone could play with them because to me they were real. at a young age i found out about sex from all the adults around me. everyone was so into fulfilling their needs and wants regardless of if i was around or not. i remember being babysat at 7 while my mom and her friend went to the store. i learned alot about it that nite. i always remember standing in the background while watching others perform. my mom always had to have the spotlight. never wanting me to steal her joy. my dad died when i was two so i dont have many memories of him but i remember blaming him for leaving me with so much pain. my mother told me i cried at his funeral like i knew what was going on. i think i did. when i was in school i used to get teased alot for little dumb things. i was the shortest so that was one reason. older girls use to pick fights for no reason. i made good grades because i would get recognition form my teachers, they made me feel important. i remember in elementary school i fell in love with this boy who had the best soul a young person could have. and my bestfriend was like that too.

    when i was young i use to see things and could never explain why i saw them but never had anyone to talk to about it. i was haunted by the visions and became so afraid of everything. i did things as i got older to fit in because i always felt like i was alone. even when i did those things it was never good enough because i always received backlash for it. i had people hate me for reasons to this day i could not understand. i would hold a grudge towards them because of how they treated me. my bestfriend moved away and i had no other friends like her since.

    my dad's sister use to come get me every weekend when i was young. at those times i felt peace. i felt like i belonged somewhere and that i could be myself. i remember one day it rained and going outside with my bathing suit on and some soap just being free. singing and dancing and my aunt laughed as she watched me. i felt loved. then i would have to go home to a place where i felt noone cared about me and that i was a mistake. even as a young child i contemplated suicide.

    my mother never really took into consideration my feelings or my brothers it was always about her. so when she moved us from where we were comfortable to a place where we didnt know anybody it was hard to accept. i remember in middle school being sick all the time from being stressed. dealing with the kids in school and then dealing with the things from home took a major toll on me. i remember my mom telling me one day when i missed the bus because i didnt want to go to school that she didnt want me......that hurt me alot and noone could understand the pain i felt behind it. sometimes i think noone really cared. i use to be called ugly by the people my mom dealt with and the kids at school. my mom never told me the things a mom should tell her daughter growing up. so i thought of myself as this ugly person. i didnt like my race because my skin was darker than everyone elses. i was teased for being timid because everytime i was picked on i would cry. i knew i was tough but when you have so many people against you and not having the comfort you want from your parent it makes it hard to deal with.

    i became rebellious by having sex at a early age. i had my first child at 16 and my second at 17. the second one i had to give up for adoption becuase my mom threatened to kick me out if i had two in her house. i learned that i could get attention if i gave up the one thing they wanted, i didnt know any better so i gave in. my mom found out about my activities and made a big deal about me hurting her, never once did she ask me about how i was feeling. i remember praying at a young age about why i couldnt have been the one to go instead of my father. or why she couldnt have given me up. i felt punished with her as a mother.

    to this day she wont accept what she has done . she says that im making things up because i hate her,. she said to our pastor that she dont remember any of what i said happening. when things dont go her way she doesnt want to have anything to do with the person so she didnt talk to me until the pastor made her. now she wont be there for me or help me when im down on my luck because she feels i got myself into it and when she had us noone was there to help her. she tells me about the things people did to her when she had me. i grew up thinking that i was the cause for her troubles and that she only kept me because my father wanted me but then she was stuck with me.

    i feel like this is alot. i have alot more on my chest to let go of but i guess this will do for now

  • Missleolady, I'm so sorry you had a very rough time of it when you were young. Your mother was an inadequate and selfish parent. It sounds like she was unable to give love. You are probably still looking for a good mother or father substitute to this day. Do you feel you have any of the fears that have been listed above? You may have inherited some from your mother. She may have had a fear of commitment or responsibility. It also sounds like she had no good parental role model growing up either.

    I hope you understand now that it was her disability that made her so selfish with her love and not your fault - you were and are a good person. But you cannot keep looking for love from other people. They might just be as helpless and wounded as you feel. You have to learn to love yourself - I'm certain you have many wonderful qualities and talents.

    Here we are trying to resolve all our issues so that they don't get passed on from generation to generation, as it sounds like it has in your family. Perhaps you also feel abandonment because of your father leaving you so early on.

    I hope you will continue to post - you are very welcome here. We all have issues like you that we want to resolve, so we can work at it together. Don't feel you have to hold back - part of the healing process is to get all the bad stuff - the old anger and resentment and hurt - out of you. There will always be someone here prepared to listen.

  • Hi Captain and Bootcampers 🙂 I can't wait to get back here and start reading and resuming my archeological dig. In the meantime todays daily om reminded me of Spiritual Boot Camp with the Captain and all of the great people here at tarot. Love and Light to you all 🙂 GJay

    Daily Om 4-11-11

    Finding Your Tribe

    Your Allies on Life’s Journey

    The people who become members of your tribe are in the world waiting and you are destined to find them.

    Part of being human is the search for an individual identity. Bound to this strong need to establish a unique persona, however, is an equally intense desire for acceptance. It is when we find our individual tribes that both are satisfied. Our tribe members are those people who accept us as we are without reservation and gladly accompany us on our journeys of evolution. Among them, we feel free to be our imperfect selves, to engage unabashedly in the activities we enjoy, and to express our vulnerabilities by relying on our tribe for support. We feel comfortable investing our time and energy in the members of our tribe, and are equally comfortable allowing them to invest their resources in our development.

    The individuals who eventually become members of your unique tribe are out there in the wide world waiting for you. You are destined to find them, one by one, as you move through life. Sometimes your own efforts will put you in contact with your future tribe members. At other times, circumstances beyond your control will play a role in helping you connect with your tribe. If you look about you and discover that you are already allied with a wonderful and supportive tribe, remember that there are likely many members of your tribe you have not yet met. On the other hand, if you feel you are still living outside of your tribe, broadening your horizons can help you find your tribe members.

    However your life develops after you come together with your tribe, you can be assured that its members will stand at your side. On the surface, your tribe may seem to be nothing more than a loose-knit group of friends and acquaintances to whom you ally yourself. Yet when you look deeper, you will discover that your tribe grounds you and provides you with a sense of community that ultimately fulfills many of your most basic human needs.

  • I have a fear of rejection and disapproval. i do find myself looking for the love she didnt or couldnt give me. I guess thats why i keep getting hurt I meet people who I see need love as I do but because they never felt what I am giving them they could never handle nor give it back. I feel better being able to get this off of my chest and having others to understand and give advice. And even help with insight. I know I have to work on myself and I am trying it day by day. Its hard to love myself when I dont know how or even where to begin. I am learning to accept me for who I am and to know that I am special. I try to tell myself that I love me and that GOD made me in His image.

    thecaptain when I read about the fear of rejection so much hit me in my face. I have this problem and find myself looking for others to accept me. I havent been myself and when I am alone I become upset with myself because I knew that that wasnt me. I have been known to have strong opinions and a very strong mind but when it comes to fitting in I let all of that go and I call it dumb myself down to deal with the people that i do deal with. I hate( i dont like that word) that i do that to myself because I feel I have alot to give to the world. I like myself but i dont love myself. I just want to change the way I think about myself and life. I am not a bad person and I will go to the ends of the world to make sure everyone is happy. I dont like seeing others happy and noone will see me unhappy if they dont really know me. I feel blessed to have the gifts that I have and i want to learn more about who I am and to even strengthen what I have. I always felt different and I looked at things as being bad instead of good. Thank you Thecaptain and to everyone else who have provided me with insight. I really like this and will continue to write on here. I feel that because I am so determined to get out of this that I will grow.

    be blessed everyone

  • Missleolady, tell me what's lovable about you - what are your special strengths and talents and good qualities?

    You are part of our tribe now. (Thanks GJay!)

  • LOVE THE TRIBE THING! It made me so happy to read that OM! I actually have different tribes for different things. Some are groups of people I used to work with, others are new groups with common interests. The latest (just last week) is very diverse, but with a common goal and intention - removing limitations. I just want to state here that I am hoping and praying every single person on this forum can achieve this. And thank you, Captain, for the fear posts. I haven't even read through it all, and feel lighter! Just knowing that some are not mine, and I can put those down. (The baggage.) I often wondered why I had some of them, when it didn't make sense. This is my big DUH moment! (I tend to absorb everything around me-gotta stop that.) Boot Camp, indeed.

  • Thanks for all the information Captain:)

    Thanks GJay, its been awhile since i Read the daily Om


    Hi Missleolady from another Leo, I'm glad you came here to captains thread...I wrote to you on your thread the night you wrote it...and i felt your heartache, because i believe i was meant to be on tarot that night and get my butt moving again out of the darkness...I didn't like being there again...it used to be a familiar place to me, but its not anymore, its allot easier to get back up, but this time was just a little to long to stay down..so it brought me to the captains thread also..

    .I to was looking for love in all the wrong places," I'm sure theres a song with those words"..

    Again I'm glad you decided to let the garbage out:)

    Namaste to all of you


  • Yes Sandpiper, it's quite amazing how the realization - that the emotional 'baggage' you have been lugging around for years is not actually yours - does so simply and quickly lighten your load and spirit. I think sometimes people feel depressed about the amount of soulwork they seem to need - but it really can be that fast and easy! Just identifying your issues is a huge leap towards healing.

  • Leolady...I have the fear of disapproval and rejection too. I am starting to learn how to get passed that and start believing in myself but it's a struggle. I commend you for starting the fight. Where I was praised frequently for my efforts, I became dependent on it. I didn't feel good about myself until someone was telling me how good I was doing and even then, I wouldn't want to accept the compliment. It was really self-defeating. I have learned now how to accept a compliment without doing the excuse behind it. Oh...it was just a lucky moment...oh it was nothing...oh I don't think so. Now, when someone says good job, I say thank you. The working world has also taught me to have satisfaction in my own efforts. I worked for a boss that didn't give a lot of praise and it was really hard since I had just come off working for another boss that gave lots of praise and rewards. Now I'm in school and I find myself looking for the praise again in the form of good grades. I was actually grateful that I had already messed up a 4.0 a few years back so that when I started this time, I wasn't so hard on myself and feeling defeated with a B or a C.

    I need to go back and read each of the suggestions for these two issues and figure out how to go about fixing it. I think once I get past wanting approval from anyone other than myself, things will be a lot easier on me.

    Hang in there and keep posting.

  • How do others go about letting go? I have issues of Abandonment and Intimacy stemming from neglect and abuse as a child. Trying to let go of the pain is difficult because even in comforting myself the phrase 'its Ok' comes out, and I have trouble accepting that. If I let it go, that means that what they did to me was ok, and it wasn't. I need to approach it from a different angle, but I cannot seem to find that other angle. I know it can be difficult to identify what self talk and phrases you used in this, but I would find it helpful for even a general feeling. That is what I am influenced by the most anyway.


  • Love the OM GJay you hit the nail on the head again, hope you are good, long time no hear!

    Insecurity is still my hangup.

    xto you all Paddi

  • LamiiaBlue, it's NOT OK! Forgiveness is NOT condoning the action. Forgiveness is for YOU, not THEM. Letting it go just means that you are choosing not to let it affect you any longer, taking control over it, taking back your power. Releasing it to God/a higher power/karma to judge it, and believing it WILL be judged! Forgiving is the only way to be FREE of it. Handing it over to be dealt with. Removing it from you. (Bit by bit, if not all at once.) You asked the question how others did it. This is how I did it. There is a certain level of acceptance, in that you can't change the past, or the people who did it. But you're NOT accepting that it was OK! IT WAS WRONG! But you survived it, which gave you a core, deep down inside, that is strong. And nobody can take that away.

    I also took self defense classes, karate, Ti Chi, and yoga. It's amazing the amount of self confidence something like that can give you! I'm only 5'2" tall, and nobody messes with me! It changes the way you walk, and, evidently, the energy you give off. Just make sure the instructor teaches women and kids, and isn't one of those 'ultimate fighting' people. Sometimes the police department gives classes. I highly recommend it!


    There is another angle and more to it. It is not all spiritual excersize--think mind body spirit. You have to have a strong mind for the damage done--know how the wound manifests in your life. Making peace with the abuse or abuser is only one step---the letting go. The real work is being able to recognize how that wound--wether it be abandonment or trust or whatever--you must identify then be able to see how that has manifested in you---then you must work at "mindfully" undoing that. Mostly, we go through life not seeing the connection--how we self sabotage---gather pain with a blindspot---we become our own abuser. Abused children grow up attracting further abuse---it is a strong compulsion---a body without a head. Trust is often such an issue that one cannot let in the very people who will heal them--offer love--often we do not know what we ever had so don't know what healthy love even looks or feels like. If we grow up being treated invisable--our needs ignored---that manifests as a disconnect later in meeting our own needs long after our abuser is gone---we repeat it. We may not feel worthy of abundance or love and make everyday choices either towads self love or we can deny our needs. We attract what we expect for ourselves. It is a lot more complicated than just forgiving our abuser and letting go--we must acknowledge how that abuse manifested in us. Do we tend to think the worse---if a friend doesn't call do we imagine it is our fault--are we afraid to ask for fairness--do we please too much--hate confrontation. There is much more to consider. And yes---old pain---never let loose can manifest in depression---over eating--love sickness. It is good to tackle the issue on all levels---the mind--research the psychology of abuse--how to recognioize it's effects in your life. Reseach the spirit side of it and the body--how abuse holds in pain---manifests in illnesss.Lots to consider!

  • sand piper--well said! forgivness is not permission to abuse or condoning---it just releases us to move on with our lives despite that wound--it sets US free. Otherwise that abuser is still holding us captive---so it IS more of a gift to ourselves to let it go.

  • LamiiaBlue, did you read the suggestions for dealing with those particular fears a few pages back?

    Let me ask you what you think might happen if you let go of your issues. Because our issues can connect us to certain incidents or people and it might feel like letting go of our memories or attachments if we let go of our issues as well. For example, someone might be reluctant to let go of hurt feelings over a relationship breakup because that would feel like they are letting go of the other person and they might still be harbouring hope of a reconciliation. It's like the hurt is the only tie to their former partner.

    We don't do anything for no reason - we hang onto fears and/or bad situations because we are getting something out of them, even if they are unhealthy. Find out why you still cling to your issues and you will figure out how to release them.

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