Is fear a gift or a curse? I believe it can be both.
I recently, at the suggestion of a friend of mine, read the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker
It was an amazing book that really helped me to see some of the positives of fear, the feeling in your “gut” or intuition. But what else it helped me with, was to be able to identify when fear can be a curse.
We all know someone that allows fear of something to control them. It is not always wrong. Perhaps someone had a traumatic event occur and they are in the healing process. It is normal to avoid reoccurring events. It may appear to not make sense to others, but to them it is a certain and real fear.
But what about when fear endangers our lives? It then becomes a curse, risking not only us, but our children.
I grew up surrounded by people that allowed fear to control their lives. It began with the fear of the government. All fears are based in some truth, so others listened to the fear and carried it a bit further. When you are surrounded by people that allow fear to control them, eventually you attract some very interesting people.
There was a man that refused to speak. He would wander in the woods, occasionally whispering in a foreign language, stealing useless items and wrapping them in paper. Some thought something was messed up in his mind, especially when he fixated his odd gifts on a young woman in the church. Low and behold one day, we discovered that not only could he speak, but he spoke in perfect English with a British accent. What could make a man stay silent and alone for so many years?
The woman that dressed in odd supposedly Amish clothing, told stories that bordered on the truth about a life of seclusion, abuse and odd cultures among a group of Amish that no one knew if they really existed. We never proved it, but in the end, we believed she actually had kidnapped the children she claimed to be her own, possibly from an Amish community. We proved her stories wrong numerous times, and she eventually tried to use her fear of losing control to seek to sow discord among anyone that knew us. ‘
Then there were the con artists. They piled things around the entire interior of their house, to protect themselves from outsiders. She claimed to be a doctor, but did not even know how to take blood pressure. A large German shepherd dog graced the home, warning others to take care. Every opportunity they had to seek to cause an issue, they took, claiming fear of authority, government, and refusing to get real work. They would vanish for time periods, dress oddly and then suddenly change appearances. When we discovered they were on the most wanted list for embezzlement and identity theft, we were not surprised. It made a lot more sense then.
So, what do all these stories have in common with fear? Their fear of something, either the establishment, authority, led them to make up stories, that appeared to be based in facts. They were able to lead gullible people down a path, that had we not pursued the truth, we would have been conned, harmed or worse. The cautions about not going to the doctor when you were ill or hurt, don’t call poison control, don’t call the police if someone is being hurt were common place. There were always good reasons behind it.
“Oh, we believe God is the healer. He could heal that cut on your head if it is His will.”
“God created us as women to give birth. Why do we need a midwife or someone to oversee the birth. We were created for this. If we die, it must have been His will. What if they did something your baby when you were not looking?”
“If you go in and get a PKU test, they will keep your baby’s blood and maybe they will do all sorts of things with it. Or they will be suspicious of you and come to visit. Who knows what they would try to find and take away your children from you. Don’t do it!”
“If you call poison control, they will make a file on you, and if you have too many, they will call CPS and you will be investigated. CPS is horrible and they take children and ask questions later.”
I remember the first time I called poison control for my own children. I was shaking. I was so afraid that they were going to come and take my children away from me, but my son had eaten cucumber melon soap and I needed to know what to do. I was shocked and surprised when a very kind lady on the other line reassured me that it would be okay, told me what to do and let me know it was a popular flavor for children to eat. It was as though suddenly a weight was lifted off my chest. It was okay to get advise from a medical professional and they did not judge me. I was not a bad parent for calling. I realized that neglect can be when we allow fear to allow us to over shelter, over protect, and under treat our children as well as the flip side. We often are so fearful of the one, we leave ourselves more vulnerable to the con artists, abusers that would isolate us, and those that would not allow us to reach out for help. We have been told a lie.
Yes, there are bad in the law enforcement. Yes, there are bad CPS workers. Not everyone that works for poison control is kind. But the majority of them are servants to the people. They are there for us. We are truly blessed to live in a nation where help is readily available, and we do not have to watch our children die. If we choose to allow that, then the questions begin to come.
So, let go of those fears. Use your instincts. If you want to ask someone for advice, talk to professionals that know what they are doing. Don’t ask on Facebook or Google. You can always call and not give your name if you would like, but generally that can arouse more suspicion. In the end, give your fear wings, and let it fly away. Read the book I listed above and learn how to program yourself to listen to the good parts of fear and let the others go.