Causes of Stress - Fear of Judgment
Much of the stress experienced in all branches of modern life, including the bedroom, is the result of the fear of judgment. When stuck for a question, many psychiatrists look at their patients and ask them earnestly, 'Who are you trying to please: your mother or your father?' This is primarily because everyone goes through life expecting to be judged, as they were judged by their parents; it is this fear of judgment that becomes the basis of the anxieties experienced by those who develop social phobias. These are the people who dread going out; they frightened that, if they do, then all eyes will turn to them, assessing them and all aspects of their lives. They will be judged, they feel, as to their poise, their clothes sense, their facial appearance, their sex appeal, their probable income and their hairstyle as they walk across a crowded hotel lounge, up the aisle of a church or stand to make a speech.
The basis of the fear of judgment is that we all know ourselves very well, we are ashamed of what we know about ourselves, and live with the anxiety that something about our demeanor or appearance ill betray our weaknesses. Even the toughest of people have some feelings of guilt; he would simply rather not disclose the reasons for it.
It is fashionable when discussing stress to assess the amount of guilt people carry around in their baggage; thus, various tables have been devised to assess a person's guilt level. Answering 'yes' to the following questions should give you some idea of how much a burden of guilt you are currently carrying around on your shoulders.
- Do you always assume that you are at fault - that whatever happens, you are to blame?
- Once an incident - however embarrassing, however shaming, however badly you did - is over, are you able to forget it? Or does your mind return to it constantly?
- Are you a hard judge of yourself? Are you tougher on yourself (and perhaps on your family) than on the rest of the world?
- Do you forgive yourself or do you ruminate about what the prayer book describes as your 'multitude of sins and wickednesses'? Do you feel guilt about having done those things you shouldn't have done, as well as having left undone things you ought to have done?
- Do you believe that you are responsible for other people's disasters? Was it your behavior or your very existence that drove your parents to suicide, triggered their coronary thrombosis or brought on their stroke?
- Do you look back and preface all your thoughts with the phrase 'If only I had...'?
- Would you describe your sense of guilt (about fearing you might be responsible for the difficulties of others, and about your own failures) as being very damning, damning, minimal or non-existent?
- Do you discuss your feelings of guilt, or are their origins so awful you don't mention them?
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