If I Have a Good Day…: Ramblings on Fear of Joy

Today is a slightly better day than yesterday. I actually managed to make a soap for a staff and also go on walks. I even reached my daily step goal! In addition, I have been exploring my faith.

Still, fear of joy is haunting me. Until a few years ago, I never knew it was a thing. That is, I had read about it on a fellow trauma survivor’s website. That was many years ago already, but I never quite understood what it meant. I never realized I experience it. And yet I do.

I think this fear is intertwined with my core belief that, if people truly knew me, they’d abandon me. It is the exact opposite, in a way, and yet it’s similar too. I mean, if people abandon me regardless, why bother trying my best?

Deep down, I feel that people are going to abandon me if they find out how wicked I am. I also, conversely, feel that people are going to abandon me if they think I can cope fine on my own. And these different views are not mutually exclusive. After all, my psychologist at the mental hospital thought I was bad and manipulative, and yet she also thought I would cope fine on my own.

My belief that people don’t see the real me, the wicked, attention-seeking, manipulative me, makes me want to disappear. It makes me feel ashamed of my needs. But it also causes intense anger, because at the core maybe I want to prove myself right.

On the other hand, my belief that people don’t see my genuine need and think I can cope fine on my own, leads to actual care-seeking behavior. It’s not the same as attention-seeking, but maybe in my current context of a care facility, it’s worse.

I have a sense that both of these beliefs cause me to fear joy. On Sunday, I felt abandoned by the staff. Then on Monday, I was trying to “prove” that I’m more needy and hence more wicked than my staff believe. Today though, I’m feeling slightly better, but this scares me. It scares me because I’m convinced I’ll be expected to cope on my own if I’m managing.

Maybe that psychologist was right after all that I have dependency issues. I worry the staff will agree at some point and this in fact reinforces care-seeking behaviors. Which, of course, is counterproductive.

19 thoughts on “If I Have a Good Day…: Ramblings on Fear of Joy

  1. Does this include your husband? I mean, surely he saw all your qualities and, rather than abandon you, he wanted to marry you. So you must have something there.

    I honestly have no idea why my wife wants to be with me, but I am just grateful that she does. She must see something good there, although half the time I can’t see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, this includes my husband. Even after having known each other for thirteen years and being married for nine, I’m still convinced at some level that he’ll abandon me at some point. I sometimes think this is irrational, as he should’ve seen my bad sides by now, but I’m not even sure. I try to be grateful too that my husband is with me despite how I feel about myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I relate to some of these concerns. But for me, it happened in a different way. For a long time, I was convinced that I could cope with everything on my own, so I didn’t ask for help from anyone. So that is what people came to believe about me. So, when I actually needed help and I accepted it, no one knew how to approach me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is there maybe another way to channel displaying that need for care? That sounds like a very valid way to feel, and perhaps if you were to come up with specific actions to request from staff, you could get support and they could feel like they’re able to do something helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. To use a rather nonsensical example, let’s say a foot massage could be a way of getting some of your emotional needs addressed. You could convey that need without having to convey wickedness, and the staff could feel confident they could address that need.

        I’ve noticed working in mental health that staff like to feel that there are things they can help with, and they start to get uncomfortable if there aren’t potential needs that they can address, or if there are needs that they don’t have the capacity/ability to address.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You aren’t wicked. If you were wicked you wouldn’t care about how you came across. And I understand that same fear that if you do well, people will push you away, but if you are needy they will also push you away because they will view you as manipulative and exhausting. I suppose what you want is for people to be constant and stable, to be there when you are well and when you are in need…like good parents should be when you’re small.

    Liked by 1 person

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