Scared to Share My Feelings

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I started seeing my therapist because I was emotionally numb for more than half of my life. I was actually referred to see a trauma therapist by another therapist because she said this feeling was from being physically,verbally, and sexually abused throughout my childhood.

Anyway, the therapy is working and I’m starting to slowly get my feelings back. I learned that I feel depressed and get anxious or afraid a lot. Especially when I’m around people I don’t know and people I do know; especially my therapist. The whole session I can’t stop my heart from pounding. I’ve told her this and we have tried meditation and such but nothing works.

Every session she ask me what is my feeling or mood at the beginning of the session but I’m afraid to tell her for some reason. My heart starts pounding more. I’ve tried everything such as leaving work early to try and calm myself down. I just don’t know how to get over this fear and my therapist is nice and non-judgmental so far. This fear is stopping me from progressing through therapy.

My therapist understands how scared I am and she even said how brave I was to even come. But she can’t help me if I can’t get it out in words. She is patient… but I’ve been having dreams that she abandons me because I’m uncooperative. And that makes me more afraid in therapy.

Any suggestions on how I can overcome this fear.

A. There’s no secret to overcoming fear. It is a complicated process, but to state it simply, you have to force yourself to face your fears.

Without your realizing it, there are many examples of you overcoming your fears. For instance, you were frightened to see a therapist but you did it anyway. It’s important not to minimize your past success.

You may want to consider a different approach to relaying your feelings to your therapist. An alternative strategy would be to write about your feelings and give this letter to your therapist at the beginning of each session. Perhaps she could read it to herself or read it out loud during the session. It might a way to ease yourself into being able to vocalize your feelings.

Writing about your feelings is one option, but the most efficient way to overcome your fear is to simply force yourself to speak, even if it frightens you.

In all likelihood, your dreams are not predictions of the future but rather emotional expressions of your fear. The dreams are telling you what “is” rather than what will be. Those dreams will stop once you have overcome your fear.

An effective approach to overcoming fear is to analyze the situation from a logical perspective. Logically, there is nothing to fear about speaking to your therapist. Therapists are non-judgmental and their sole purpose is to assist their clients in overcoming their problems. Nothing that you could say will offend or surprise or shock your therapist. In fact, your therapist’s office is the safest place to speak your feelings. Your fears about being abandoned have no basis in reality and are unrealistic.

In many ways, it is good that you have asked for help, but by continuing to focus on your fear you risk keeping it alive. Realize that there are many instances in which you have overcome your fears. Have faith in your ability to overcome this fear as well.

Please don’t think I am underestimating how bad fear makes us all feel. It feels so bad that all we want to do is run away. Justified fear can protect us from danger. Unjustified fear can cause us to run away from things that will help us to live a good, meaningful life. Both kinds of fear feel exactly the same way, but with unjustified fear we must try to stay and face our fears.

It seems as though you have made a great deal of progress and it’s important to give yourself due credit. I wish you continued success. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Oct 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Scared to Share My Feelings. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/10/16/scared-to-share-my-feelings/

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