Fear of failure

Time flies when you’re dissociating

I keep telling myself to go back to blogging, but I never have the initiative to do so. Or I find my desires immediately interrupted by a fear of failure; that by failing it is reflective of me never being able to do things correctly. Part of that sentiment was at the crux of today’s therapy session. I think I have learned more in the past year of therapy than I have in the years before, though that also could be because of the large amount of changes that have happened within the past 365 days. Most of these things I have covered on my Youtube channel, however, I will try my best to summarise those things here for your reading pleasure.

  • I cut off family ties due to a childhood abuser still being invited to family events despite me telling close family about csa occurring.
  • 2020 online drama resurfaced
  • I got a dog in the hopes of training her to become my assistance dog
  • The dog hit puberty and she was incessantly barking, therefor triggering a trauma response due to not-so-fond memories of having dogs during childhood/their treatment. This caused a lot of stress; I almost re-homed said dog.
  • She is now just a family pet for the time being
  • Earlier triggers and retraumatisation led to new fragments and splits
  • As things settled down, this brought us to the point we are at now, which is ‘stabilisation’, which also includes some fusions along the way.

Some of this I have yet to fully unpack in therapy, and some I also wish to write about here, but baby steps. I often find if I get too far ahead of myself, I’ll lose my spark along the way and be completely disheartened, taking me back to the fear of trying.

My partner asked me moments ago “Why are you afraid of asking for help?”. I couldn’t think of an answer, as I think it is complex and perhaps situational. I feel as though I have always been quite independent. I prefer to do things on my own, which I believe is likely due to a combination of factors. Firstly, I genuinely prefer my own company, being around people makes me feel awkward, and it requires socialising; this does not spark joy. Secondly, I suppose I have high expectations of myself and compare myself to others far too much. My therapist introduced me to the term Social Comparison Theory today. This was after I expressed how I am still struggling with desire vs initiation into the world of lived experience advocacy due to not feeling as ‘put together’ as other online personalities are. I don’t mean that mentally, rather from the physical point of view. Makeup and completely coherent speech, lightrings and lightboxes; and regularly scheduled content. Yet, even as I type this I feel bad as though I am putting others down for maintaining such appearances. These things draw people in, and I don’t have that. I want that, yet simultaneously believe it shouldn’t matter so long as I am sharing what I believe in. Do I want more viewership? Yes, but not from a superficial point of view. I desire more viewership because I want to be a voice that the younger version of me never heard. I want to give other’s the representation they need, hope for, even. If I don’t have all of those fancy appearances, then I have failed those who may need help. Does part of this draw back to the learned behaviours or trauma response of being a ‘people pleaser’? I wonder.

By not doing something properly I am not truly giving it my ‘best efforts’. By keeping quiet I can avoid things getting worse. By catering to the needs of others, this is what makes me ‘a good person’. Good people don’t fail. Rationally I am aware that nobody is ‘perfect’, and even the perceptions of what perfect is are multifaceted; I can pardon others for not being perfect and yet I am the exception. Other people are allowed to make mistakes, to fail, to learn lessons and make future adjustments form their actions, but no, not me.

I feel as though I have all the time in the world for content creation due to being on disability pension, yet I am not using my time constructively. I have this opportunity to make something of myself while having ‘free time’ so to speak, and I am failing even simple things such as engaging in previous hobbies (photography, drawing, podcasts). I will never be as good as others, so I am afraid to try. I don’t wish to disappoint those whom may look up to me, and the easiest way to avoid that is by creating nothing. And what if I provide misinformation? I do not want to provide misunderstanding surrounding complex topics as there is already such an over-saturation of that within niche online communities. I wish it were as simple as “just don’t compare yourself to others”, but I think in the world we live in today, it is the perfect time for social comparison to infest itself into the minds of those engaging in the digital sphere. Conversations turn into competitions, friendships turn into collaborations. So many people use each other to climb the social hierarchy, and the humble at the bottom of the mountain believe they could never measure up to the advanced climbers.

I want to do this, I want to do that, but I do not wish to fail. Failure is bad, failure means I am a bad person, failure means I will never succeed at the things I wish to do if I do it ‘wrong’ the first time around, or even the second for that matter. It’s as though my brain has that habit making ideology “it takes three weeks to make a habit and only one day to break it”. I see myself back at square one time and time again, to the point where I wonder if giving up is the solution, because clearly I am not going to ever succeed in whatever it is I wish to achieve. Those things are meant for people far more equipped than I am.

I think perhaps the high expectations may also derive from that whole “gifted child burnout” idea by which those that were deemed “mature for [their] age” and in advanced/gifted & talented programs were set to succeed in their particular academic endeavors. I was one of those kids. I remember loving maths in school, and was taking on 7th grade maths in year 5. Teachers praised me, my family was proud of my school results in not only maths, but other subjects I excelled at. Other people being proud of me brought me joy, more than my interest in the actual topics themselves. Adults seeing me as mature felt like an accomplishment. I wasn’t like regular kids, I was one of the adults. They saw me as their equal rather than just a kid. Aside from the idea of me being “mature for my age” and how that affected my psyche when it came to csa, I think in general it created a warped perception of how I saw myself back then, and how I see myself now. My book smarts died down not long after highschool started, the student pool was far larger, there was more competition and I was no longer top of my class. Even when I studied, I clearly wasn’t investing enough time nor effort, because I still wasn’t ranking top of my class. I had failed, I was lazy, wasn’t doing enough; Something was clearly wrong with me. I became disinterested in many things midway through highschool, after all, if I wasn’t going to be in the top of my class, then why bother. Why upset myself by seeing that I had failed, when I could just not try at all.

While all of this started with the question of “Why don’t you want to ask others for help?”, this is kind of the route my mind took me down. If I ask others for help, that is already an indication that I have failed doing it myself. If I ask others for help, they won’t see me as an adult, they’ll see me as a child that doesn’t know what they are doing, or perhaps they’ll realise the situation I am looking at has an easy solution and question my intelligence for not seeing that. By asking for help, people will see me as weak, and I fear being seen in this way as it has lead to being hurt in the past by various people. Me being weak means danger, and I cannot let others see even a hint of vulnerability. At the very heart of things, I think that is the core issue. Asking for help means I am incapable of doing it myself, much like being incapable of ‘knowing better’ as a kid and nowadays blaming myself for csa that occurred. I failed my younger self by not looking out for her, me, better. In my judgemental mind as an adult healing from complex childhood trauma, I do not wish to make the same mistakes.

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