Blaming others for my fearful feeling


I’m currently working on my fear reaction. Upon the suggestion of a coach in my private session, I’ve turned fear into a character. Instead of ignoring fear, I engage in some conversation to find out if there’s anything important to learn or if fear is just bringing up something we’ve already talked about. I’m finding this to be a helpful technique.

I’ve noticed an interesting pattern when the source of the fear is not me, rather it’s another person. Here’s a typical model in the workplace:

C: Manager tells me about her worries
T: Oh no, here comes something bad
F: fear
A: I react along with her, I give her long, detailed instructions on what to do to fix it, I tell her to take tons of action, I explain why this is very, very important and the scary consequences of not taking action, not doing it right
R: I amplify her fear

But then I noticed that sometimes, I push against the other person’s fear with all my might. That model looks like this:

C: Manager tells me about his worries
T: I can’t handle hearing this
F: fear
A: Wait out the meeting, then tell myself it’s no big deal, that it’s up to them to deal with it, Tell myself that their fears are unfounded, Tell myself to stay chill, Instead of doing my work, buffer to neutralize feelings by internet shopping or leave work early
R: I leave my fear unprocessed for it to pop out in the night

Or I might do this model in which I almost mock the other person in an effort to make myself feel better:

C: Unprocessed fear
T: That person is so fearful
F: judgemental
A: Tell my husband about it under the guise of showing how evolved I am, that I didn’t take on the fear
R: Husband points out the valuable information the person was trying to share with me and I kick myself for not seeing it

At least with the last model, my husband acts as a sounding board and points out the important information that I ignored. But I really would like to get to a model in which I can handle hearing the person’s worries and I am a CEO who is helpful and constructive in our conversation.

If I reverse-engineer an intentional model, I get a model which points out to me that what I’m most afraid of is not being able to handle bad news, like T: I can’t handle bad news. I just push and push against bad news, I don’t want it, and I don’t want to hear it. In contrast, my future-self, intentional model could be:

T: You can tell me anything and I trust that I can handle it
F: brave

I feel that being open to hearing what someone is saying rather than reacting defensively against it is all about holding space. Because it’s not their fault that I’m feeling fear, it’s up to me to choose how to react. Normally, I’d do a thought download. But I can’t do a thought download in the middle of a meeting, so how do I develop more non-judgment and compassion for them and for myself on the fly? Please feel free to comment on anything I’ve written. Thanks.