A Fear of Being Yourself

Amanda Iheme
4 min readMay 2, 2019
art by Jefferey Alan Love

When you say what you want from the people around you and a deep sense of fear overcomes you and you find yourself worrying that you are being too harsh, too demanding, too needy or inconsiderate, it isn’t always because there is something wrong with your request or with you. It is the fear of not getting what you asked for and being exactly what you were worried about: harsh, needy, unworthy.

This fear is not always unhealthy. It causes you to take a step back to re-assess your desires and your approach when asking others to help you satisfy or attend to them. It causes you to be more honest and clear with yourself about what you want and to be considerate of those on the receiving end of your requests.

However, there are moments when this fear becomes excessive and paralyzing. You stop asking because you are sure that you are going to be misunderstood or be perceived as being inconsiderate. You are certain that nobody is going to listen or assist you. You expect to be rejected or denied and in some situations, you expect this rejection to be followed by harsh words or some form emotional battery. So when in a situation where you must ask for what will make your being happy or comfortable, you avoid it or come up with a plan of how to indirectly get what you want.

This excessive fear comes from your experience with communicating your desires to a person or people while you were growing up or from your current relationships. They could have been your parents, siblings or friends who made you feel ashamed for asking for what you wanted or complaining about what you did not like or want, a lover that called you needy and demanding because you asked for their attention and time or a boss that rated you poorly because you asked for time off, a raise or more support.

When around these people who do not give to you what you ask for that you know is genuinely good for you which could be a desire to be listened to, to be helped, to love who you wish to love how you wish to love them, to have your space respected, your presence valued, let your interaction with them be recognized not as a definition of what you deserve or your worth rather as a lesson on how not to be treated by another individual and a sign of those you must either keep at arm’s length or let go off entirely no matter how difficult it maybe.

Amanda Iheme

musings of a 29 year old woman living and working in Lagos, Nigeria.