The Fear of Being Important to Someone

The other night, I said something that I didn’t fully understand at the time.  Do you ever do that?  Have the words come out before you really know what you’re saying, or why?  I was responding to something said to me, “That scares me.”

“What do you mean, what scares you?”

“Um, it scares me to be important to people.”

I couldn’t explain it at the time, and luckily wasn’t pressed to, but I’ve been thinking about it today trying to figure out what I meant.

Why does it scare me to be important to someone else?  Being important to someone tends to imply responsibility and expectations.  Not that I want to be a loner, not at all.  I love the people in my life, I want to be needed, that makes me feel good and gives my life much of its purpose.  I guess my problem is that I worry.  I worry about not being able to live up to the expectations people have of me.  I worry sometimes that I won’t be able to maintain relationships to the level I, and they, have come to expect.

Sometimes I want to run away, hide, to ‘turtle’ until my batteries are recharged, until I feel like I can manage all the expectations in my life again.  I’ve worked hard to be where I am, to have a family, a career, a very nice life but sometimes I want to run away from it.  That’s all kinds of fucked up, I suppose, but that’s how I feel sometimes.

I guess I probably sound ungrateful.  You might not have times like this yourself, where your accomplishments and the things you have actually feel like burdens.  Maybe I sound like a whiner, maybe I am.  What I know is that when I’m feeling this way, it’s frustrating and I get angry at myself.  I know I have a good life, I know it’s inconsiderate and ungrateful to feel this way, but this is my truth.  Sometimes I want to be anonymous, I want to make choices and do things and act in ways that I can’t anymore.  Because I have responsibilities, because people depend on me, because I’ve gotten what I wanted in life.

I’m ambitious and driven to do more and challenge myself.  I want to maintain and create new friendships and close relationships.  So this pattern continues and I’ll be here again, thrashing around like a hormonal teenager who doesn’t want to buckle down and do her homework or take out the trash.   It’ll happen and I’ll get over it and I’ll move on.

I don’t think it’s being important to people that scares me, exactly.  What’s really happening is that in these moments when I need to shirk my responsibilities to others, when I need to turtle and hide from the world, I’m afraid that I’ll hurt the people I love, the ones who are important to me.  I’m scared that they’ll need more than I can give them, and that I’ll try, but never quite fill the need, and in the end, I’ll lose them anyway.  I’m scared of not being enough.

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7 Responses to The Fear of Being Important to Someone

  1. Dyosah says:

    Uhmm.. That’s exactly how I feel right now. Enough isnt en0ugh at all. Sometimes I want to go to some place with no one… Just me! Specially going to the beach and watch the sunset.. I want a m0ment of my own to think s0mething about everything. More about love and relationships also…

  2. Holden says:

    The fear of not being enough is a fear I’m sure most of us have. That fact that you fear letting the people you love down also demonstrates that you love them. I’m sure they recognise that and that it makes them love you all the more.

  3. greg says:

    It’s really great that you didn’t just let that moment pass, you thought about it and questioned yourself on it. That’s admirable.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with being scared and vulnerable and just needing to retreat once and a while, you are better when you have moments to yourself to reflect instead of being in constant motion.
    I have a feeling that you are one of the most grateful people around so be gentle with yourself in your weaker moments.

  4. kyle says:

    Dyosah: you got it, that’s the feeling exactly. The beach is good and I also have an imaginary cabin in the woods I go to mentally as a retreat. Thanks for chiming in.

    Holden: I agree that this fear is not mine alone. The problem is, when I’m in the midst of it, I don’t feel very lovable. Luckily, as you point out, my loved ones don’t feel the same way.

    greg: I’m always questioning myself. I love the moments when I just am, when I just let myself live and experience life without all the damned questioning. But it does have a purpose and I’m a better person for questioning and not letting those opportunities go by unnoticed.

    Thanks to you all for your support.

  5. butch boo says:

    Being scared is SOOO good Kyle….

    makes me feel alive.

    I went through a stage after a major bereavement of not feeling anything and now love the fact that I feel stuff- especially feeling scared.

    Good for you and “turtling” it is good too.



  6. blcknd_blue says:

    For me, this became so much more relevant after becoming a parent. A constant struggle with guilt. A tug of war between others needs and my own, my own losing out time and again. Thanks for sharing your similar feelings, sometimes it seems so exhausting to struggle this way.

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