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The Emotions Of Abuse Part 4: FEAR

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Fear is always about “False Evidence Appearing Real.” You invent your life though false illusions. It keeps you powerless and disempowered, and becomes a lie that stops you from moving forward in your life. It perpetuates your abuse by keeping you believing in your limitation and thus, locked in the cage of abuse.

Fear is a state where you become stuck, frozen and numb. You’re paralyzed to do anything except brace against the thing in your external world that looks like it might be traumatic.

When you live in fear, doubt, skepticism and cynicism are your best friends. You believe that someone is always going to screw you over, take advantage of you, hurt you, reject you or abandon you. It usually has nothing to do with the person or situation in front of you and has everything to do with your twisted view of reality.

Fear almost always involves going into the past as your reference point for what happened before and projecting it into the future. When you live in a perpetual state of fear you can never be present.

Fear acts as proof that you aren’t powerful, that you aren’t capable, and that you can’t do something to create change in your life. It often stems from the little child in you who was once abused and felt helpless. That child was afraid of what was going on and didn’t know how to stop it or change it. You still operate as though you are them when you operate from fear.

Fear stops you from creating life and keeps you in the destruction of the cage. The difference between fear and excitement though is choice and awareness. They show up as similar sensations in the body: butterflies in the stomach, adrenaline rush, shallow breathing… when you acknowledge this you can see the potency beneath the mask of fear.

Here are 6 questions to support you in getting to know your fear so it no longer has power over you.

  1. How much have you been operating from fear?
  2. What kinds of situations trigger it?
  3. How does it show up? How does it feel in your body?
  4. Can you notice yourself going back into the past and then looking for similar things in the present?
  5. Do you look for evidence in the present that things are going to go wrong?
  6. When you notice yourself feeling fear, ask yourself, “Am I really afraid or am I excited?” If it’s really excitement, great! Now breathe into the energy and let your body and mind know that it’s excitement.

If it’s fear, use this exercise below to embrace and move beyond the fear.


Acknowledge that you are afraid by saying it 3 times out loud:

I am afraid.

I am afraid.

I am afraid.

Now ask yourself:

“What am I afraid of?”

“Is it something related to my past abuse?”

“Is that (past abuse) happening now? Or is this fear, “False Evidence Appearing Real”?

By getting curious with your fear you invite in more information, more awareness and more space. Often, fear can trigger a “fight, flight or freeze” response. Curiosity opens the way for you to see with more clarity and respond with more confidence.

The Emotions of Abuse article series revealed the two aspects of the emotions of abuse: the disempowering destructive force and the empowering potency. Using the questions and exercises I shared you can begin to have more awareness of when you’re in which aspect of each emotion. You need not be at the mercy of your emotions anymore. More awareness gives you more choice.

(The Emotions of Abuse articles are excerpts from Dr. Lisa’s soon-to-be-released book, “Kick Abuse In The Caboose.”)

See Part 1 (SHAME) in the series here.

See Part 2 (ANGER & RAGE) in the series here.

See Part 3 (SADNESS) in the series here.


Be You. Beyond Anything. Create Magic.

You can find more information from Dr. Lisa Cooney on her site or find her onFacebook or on Twitter @DrLisaCooney!

The Emotions Of Abuse Part 4: FEAR

Dr. Lisa Cooney

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APA Reference
Cooney, D. (2019). The Emotions Of Abuse Part 4: FEAR. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Mar 2019
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