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The Distorted View of Fear

By Karen McMahon

Fear, much like a circus mirror, distorts our view of reality.


We each have fears as we go through the divorce process.  Our fears are often based in the unknown.  Everything is so uncertain, it is impossible to see around the bend to know what your life is going to look like when you emerge on the other side.  So our minds begin to ‘figure it out’.  The way we do this is to go to the ‘what if’s’.  What if I don’t have enough money?  What if I cannot hold down a job and take care of my kids?  What if I don’t get to see my kids?  What if the kids like my ex’s new partner more than me?  What if I am unable to afford decent housing?  What if....  The fear can be overwhelming!


When I went through my divorce, I was in sales and had lost three quarters of my clients in one year.  I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to move into a home and support my children and a household on my own.  I was also afraid that the courts might give primary custody to my kid’s dad. Then there was the fear that even if I could afford a place and have my children, I would never be able to juggle it all. I was so overwhelmed with my fears that I couldn’t think straight.  It made each decision I had to make all the more monumental and left me frozen and fearful of destroying my future with each possible wrong decision.


The truth is, our worst fears are often unfounded.  I often hear people say that they are going to be left homeless penniless and unable to support their families.  When we dig below the surface, many of our fears are extreme exaggerations of the worst case scenario.  Often times the worst case scenario is not what you are faced with and even if you are, your fears of what that looks like are completely distorted.


How does it serve you to consider the worst case scenario and then exaggerate it to the tenth power?


I would dare to say, not only doesn’t it benefit you; it has quite the opposite affect.  You are left paralyzed by fear; not the fear of the unknown, but rather the fear of the unrealistically exaggerated worst case scenario.  So how do you begin to turn this around?


It makes sense that you are concerned and unsure of the future.  What you do with that concern is the key:  


  1. Acknowledge your fears
  2. List the possible outcomes -- Make sure to list both the positive and negative possibilities
  3. For each ask yourself,
    • How true is it?
    • What is another possibility?
    • How might I avoid that or How might I insure that possibility?
    • What would I have to do to make that a reality?
  1. Do all that you can to prepare and then trust, hope, take a leap of faith that all will be okay.


We cannot know what tomorrow holds but we can prepare for it as best possible.  After that we are left with the option to trust, believe and have faith in the outcome; to hope for the best.  The other option is to white-knuckle it with every expectation that our future will be doom and gloom.  If you believe that energy attracts like energy, which approach will be more beneficial...fear or faith?


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Chief Visionary: Karen McMahon

Karen McMahon

Our team of coaches at JBD is passionate about helping men and women navigate the emotional difficulties of relationships, breakups and divorce. We work together with you to open the possibility that your current relationship challenges can lead to a rewarding voyage of self-discovery and an immensely more pleasing life experience. Together we create a path to clarity. Find out if Coaching is right for you, and accept my gift of one FREE session.


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