Fear of flying and love addiction

Believe me, I know. The two don’t seem like they’d go together. And yet…my addiction to love is closely related to my FEAR of control over my own life. Here’s a story:

I had to go down to the Bahamas for business last week. Last minute thing. And i was in a complete PANIC. My normal modus operandi is to go down with someone (a boyfriend) so as to help me get through the flight. This all started when I had children. Before having kids, I flew every where alone; Paris, Madrid, the arctic! After having kids, something changed. I experienced huge amounts of anxiety and felt like i was going to DIE. It’s horrible. So last week, was the first time I’d flown alone since before having babies. At the onset, it felt unnatural and unsafe. I worried about my children and I worried mostly if I’d be ok without a hand to hold. Thing is, I couldn’t back out. I had to go.

So….An odd thing happened that shocked and amazed me.

I got on the plane. Sat in my seat. Read my book. And nothing else. I had no fear. Of flying, that is. 


No sweaty palms. No churning in the stomach as the plane took off or landed. No wild, anxiety-ridden thoughts of terrorism or planes exploding in mid-air. Absolutely nothing. 

This, of course, concerned and perplexed me. How is it possible that when I would fly with S or G I’d cling to them for dear life and aside from STILL being utterly terrified, I was always so grateful and appreciative that they were there to get me through. Well, this lead me to believe that there was something seriously wrong with my perspective of flying or, more likely, my dependence on men. And so it is that I concluded that Lovers seem to be a dumping ground for my fear of flying, among, as it turns out, a whole slew of other stuff!

It’s too early in the morning to figure it all out. But my thought is this: when I am completely alone, there is no one to carry the heavy burden of fear but me. Well, I don’t want to carry it. Would you? Heck no. I want someone else to carry it. But there’s no one else. And since I can’t dump my anxiety anywhere….I just don’t have any. 

It’s all about control. Or rather, admittance to self that there is so little over which we actually have control. You see that clearly when you are alone.

This not only works in situations of fear of flying, but all other situations as well. How often do you find yourself “needing” a man around to fix something that you, yourself are perfectly capable of fixing? How often do you think you “need” a man to build you a fire? To help take out the trash? To help with the children? To keep you from being lonely? To keep you from being afraid? Sad? Bored? Miserable?

I recognized a long time ago that I am capable of doing things alone. But the fear of flying thing was hugely enlightening. I truly believed that G was saving me. That he was helping me get through an emotional crisis. But looking back in retrospect, he multiplied my fears! In his presence, I created an ugliness inside of me that I believe he alone could FIX. But when he was not there, there was no need for me to create any ugliness (or drama). 

I want to apply this learning to other situations. Situations where I “fall a part” in the presence of a lover. When S or G didn’t want to hang out with me, I was crushed. I truly believed I needed him in my presence to FEEL better about who I was. The sheer fact that S or G was in my life, created a stronger need for them. One that was never there to begin with. 

It’s very, VERY hard to hold onto yourself in the presence of a lover. People lose themselves in their union and independence becomes a distant memory. That’s why I believe it is ESSENTIAL to recovery to spend a good amount of time alone. So that you are able to realize how strong you are all on your own. So that when the time comes to get serious with someone, you do not NEED to collapse into that union. You PREFER to remain independent. Or at least know you are OK being alone. You begin to feel better as a Strong, Fearless, and courageous individual who, dare I say it, isn’t afraid of flying solo…

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