Identify The Fears That Fuel Your Negative Emotions

MarilynDavisatTIERS By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 17th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Self-awareness

What fuels your negative emotions? Most negative emotions will have fear underneath, even if it does not register initially. Sometimes, you have to look underneath the other emotions to find it.

Emotions Are Predictable And Spontaneous

Emotions can be a reaction to external stimuli, like seeing a snake and getting scared; other emotions happen when you internally reflect on your actions, such as guilt.

Some emotional responses or reactions take us by surprise. You are riding with a friend down a country road admiring the changing season, listening to the birds as they fly south and glad that it is still warm enough for the top down.

You round the corner, and a tree limb falls in the road up ahead. The driver hits the brakes and averts an accident.

What is registering most is the pounding heart, anxiety and fear, or just a predicable reaction to a crisis. Only upon reflection and being mindful will you note that you are also relieved that there was no accident.

Emotions Have Weight

When we speak of feelings, we often assign a weight or attribute to them that define if they are light or heavy. For instance:

• Joy, happiness, and serenity feel light, airy, and pleasant
• Jealousy and resentment may feel heavy, burdensome, or stifling
• Anger can sometimes produce a hot feeling
• Guilt may create heaviness around your heart

The heavier an emotion, the more it registers, so there may be the illusion that you are only feeling one thing. Nevertheless, if you look underneath the surface of your initial feeling, you may find fear.

What Kinds Of Negative Emotions Have Fear Underneath Them?

Oftentimes people are surprised at the number or degree of negative feelings that they are having in their early recovery. They may be experiencing gratitude and appreciation for getting out the vicious cycle of use, but they start experiencing more negative feelings than just the customary anger that they acknowledged in their addiction.

Some people get so overwhelmed or weighed down with all of these conflicting feelings that they choose to relapse over them.

You may not experience all of the emotions listed above, however, if you take the time to evaluate your own personal negative emotions, and then isolate the fear underneath the emotion, you are beginning to find ways to regulate or deal with these emotions.

Learning to regulate or manage your negative emotions is going to help you immensely in your recovery, but just as importantly, it will help your overall mental health.

Learning to isolate your specific fears means that you can determine if the fear is legitimate or not.

Isolating The Fear Underneath The Negative Emotion

To isolate the fear underneath your other negative emotions, simply write down your individual list of negative emotions, and then write out your fear statement.

For instance, you know that you are feeling “abandoned” by your using friends and "alone" and "apart" from the new people in recovery.

If you isolate the fear in these negative emotions, it can be as straightforward as “I’m afraid I will never have any good friends again.”

You also realize that attending groups, treatment, or recovery support meetings means that you are meeting and interacting with a completely new group of people; you are starting to have a social life that does not revolve around drugs and alcohol, so you know that the fear of not having any friends is probably not accurate.

Looking beneath your negative emotions can and will help you isolate and identify any fear you have.

Sometimes One Emotion Leads To Self-discovery About Another Emotion

You have determined that your fear it is not about abandonment, or alone, or apart from, so what is potentially your fear.

You might decide it is more about your "insecurity", and being afraid that you will not fit in with this group of people in recovery.

If you find more emotions that are negative beneath your initial feeling, isolate the fear, acknowledge it, and ask yourself, “Is this a legitimate fear?”

Deciding If The Fear Is Real

For example, you have an important meeting or job interview. You know that the presentation at the meeting may earn you the respect of your peers, but you are sad that they do not normally seek your opinion.

While you are excited about the prospect of a new job, you have underlying fears. You were irresponsible in your previous job and the consequence of those actions got you fired; now you are fearful that your reference will be less than good.

When you think about the event or the job interview, you become nervous, anxious, and fearful. What are the reasons for these fears?

You could be afraid that you will not present well.
• Inept, lacking ability, and fear of appearing clumsy

You could be afraid that you are not going to get a job.
• Insecurity, fear of rejection, and economic fears

You could be afraid that someone else will be better qualified for the job.
• Being incompetent, fear of being less than, and fear of rejection

Stop And Examine These Underlying Fears

Are your presentation materials concise, interesting, and informative? Yes.
• Then you can feel some confidence in a presentation well done.

Are you qualified for the job? Yes.
• Just this one piece of information can reduce, dispel or regulate the fear.

Have you done enough preparation for the interview? Yes.
• Being prepared means that you are ready for this interview, so give yourself credit when you are organized and equipped for this opportunity.

Do Not Judge Your Negative Emotions or Fears Underneath Them

Sometimes people trap themselves as they are isolating their individual fears because they decide that their reasons for a fear are senseless, meaningless, or foolish.

Others become concerned about the value of their fears as it relates to others. Do not do that to yourself.

When you are isolating your individual fears; they are yours, not determined by others nor evaluated by them, so do not edit or minimize them. If you have a fear, look at it and determine if it is legitimate for you.

Responding Not Reacting From Negative Emotions and Fears

When you personalize your negative emotions and your unique fear underneath them, you are actually beginning to be proactive in your approach to dealing with your negative emotions and the underlying fears.

It can help you identify the predictable stress from negative emotions and fears; either situations or people and you can plan to respond to these situations, people, or feelings in a more positive manner rather than reacting.

You may also discover that there is an underlying pattern to your fears and this can help you recognize your fear more quickly when you have a negative emotion.


Identifying Fears, Identifying Negative Emotions, Isolating Fears In Negative Emotions, What Are The Fears In Negative Emotions

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

Share this page

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
17th Sep 2013 (#)

Thank you, Steve.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
17th Sep 2013 (#)

Patience is a virtue I lack. I am a woman of action, and having to wait forces me to think. Forcing me to think (about the thing I'm waiting for) causes me to 2nd guess my readiness or worthiness. The cycle is vicious. It's like the feeling when you are leaving the house but are sure you have forgotten something -- and that one thing you actually did forget turns into a horrible monster. Huh. Definitely something I should write about as I wait for what is to come. Thanks for the 1st outlet. Great article.

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
17th Sep 2013 (#)

You are more than welcome, Phyl. From your comments, you definitely have an article in there. Let me know so I can read. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Trillionaire
17th Sep 2013 (#)


Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Sep 2013 (#)

Thank you for reading another of my pages, Trillionaire. I appreciate it. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar sukkran
20th Sep 2013 (#)

important subject. you have given us a detailed presentation on fear and related negative emotions. a valuable share from you. thanks.

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
20th Sep 2013 (#)

Hi Sukkran. I appreciate your comment. I think all of us have these emotions and evaluating the fears can help me put them in perspective. I'm doing an article on Calming Statements this weekend that builds on this article. Hope you enjoy it, too. ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?