How Fear Affects Your Life: Family

This week, Imagine Hope is honoring Halloween by discussing the different ways that (real) fear can have a negative impact on our lives.  

How does fear potentially impact our family system?

When one person (or many) are fearful in a family system, it creates a roadblock to being honest and transparent with each other-- which means that the family doesn't have good, open communication and vulnerable relationships with each other.  Perhaps the family members are afraid to say how they feel or what they think, for fear of getting in "trouble", or for fear that they will somehow be punished through a withdraw of love and/or support from another family member, or fearful of retaliation or shame for being honest.  Regardless of what the fear is about, fear creates obstacles for openness in family relationships.

Many times, when fear is present in a family, the family members feel as if they are "walking on eggshells" and cannot be themselves.  We know that usually when we hold things inside, it can damage us emotionally if it's not expressed somehow.  With fear, most often comes anxiety in certain family members, that can also have a ripple effect in other areas of life, like school, career, friendships, just to name a few. It can also keep us from setting healthy boundaries in our family relationships, which can leave us feeling exposed, taken advantage of, and sometimes abused or bullied by other family members.  Sometimes children are the ones who feel the fear the most, and it results in childhood anxiety.

This is just a very brief overview on how fear can potentially impact a family.  If you recognize that fear is a part of your family, we encourage you to find a professional family therapist who can help your family uncover what your fears are, and help you in learning how to address them.  Fear can impact generations if left unattended to, so we encourage you to seek out change today!  

Joleen Watson, MS, LMFTA, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counselingrelationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.