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Here's the Anxiety Coach® Newsletter
April 04, 2011

Simple Ways to Tame Anxiety

April 4, 2011
Volume 11, Issue 4

This month's issue of Anxiety Coach® takes a look at how keeping your fears and phobias a secret can cause unintended problems.

You'll find this newsletter in your e-mail box the first week each month. I'll bring you tips for overcoming fears and phobias in each issue.

If you like this newsletter, please pass it on anyone who might be interested. If you received this issue from a friend and want your own subscription, please subscribe.

The Problem with Secrecy

A woman is too embarrassed to tell a man, who she finds attractive and would like to know better, that she is claustrophobic and afraid of going to a crowded theater. Instead, she cancels their date, making an unlikely excuse. After this happens several times, the man decides she's not interested in him, and stops calling.

A man who fears public speaking repeatedly calls in sick at work on the days he's supposed to make a brief presentation at a staff meeting. After this happens several months in a row, his boss begins to question his work ethic.

It's tempting to make excuses, even tell lies, to cover up a phobia. If you feel like your "secret" is about to be revealed, you might quickly make up a story to prevent disclosure of your fear. This is common, and understandable. Still, it often causes more trouble than good.

How Secrecy Hurts

Creating an excuse may keep your fear a secret, but it often has side effects as well. All too often, these side effects make your overall situation worse. Sometimes you pay a high price for the secrecy.

The person you misled will try to make sense of what you did. You hid the truth about what you were feeling, but they still want to know why you did what you did. So they will take their best guess.

Many times, people's guesses about what motivated your actions will be more harmful to your relationship with them than the truth would be.

The potential boyfriend in the first example concludes that the woman is not interested in him, rather than that she fears crowds, and breaks off the budding relationship. The boss in the second example concludes the man is unreliable and unmotivated, and does not consider him for promotion.

Other Side Effects of Secrecy

There are other problems with keeping your fears secret. It's common, for instance, to believe that you're "the only one" with a particular fear, or at least that you have a very rare problem. Keeping it a secret prevents you from finding out otherwise.

It also leads you to feel like a fraud, a person who would be abandoned by friends and loved ones if they knew the "ugly truth" about your fear. Secrecy blocks you from the chance to find out otherwise.

Experiment with the Truth

Does this occur to you? Does secrecy about your fears bring more trouble into your life? If you see that it does, consider some ways you could introduce some honest self disclosure in these situations. Pick the easiest one you can think of, for starters, as an experiment.

The truth can set you free!

Workshop for Fearful Fliers

Afraid of flying? My April workshop for fearful fliers is filled, but there will be another one this summer. Come fly with us!

Click for details.

Help for Dental Phobia

Looking for some help with dental phobia? Here's a great dental phobia site in the U.K.

See you next month!


Dave Carbonell, Ph.D.

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