“For those of us who have always hated to be wrong and have been terribly afraid of rejection, this is a very frightening prospect.”
J. Keith Miller, A Hunger For Healing
The context of this quote relates to preparing ourselves to admit our wrongs to those we make amends to in Step 9, and the quote is true of me. I absolutely hate being wrong, to the point that I have to consciously and forcefully tell myself not to correct my wife regarding the smallest things. Furthermore, I am so afraid of rejection that I act aloof and superior to people around me (especially women) because of my fear that if I do not reject them first, they will inevitably reject me; I assume they will reject me before they even talk to me. The idea of going to some of the people on my Step 9 harms list to make amends is very frightening for both of these reasons.
By making amends I will also be admitting I was wrong in very definite and specific ways, and the people I make amends to may not be aware of what I’ve done. Any illusion of perfection or ‘goodness’ I tried to maintain with them will disappear. People will see me as I am; they will now know what I’m ‘really like’. As an insecure perfectionist, this is terrifying indeed!
I am also worried that some of the people I make amends to will reject me. I have always needed people’s approval, and risking that approval is scary. Because of my participation in a recovery program and my blogging on this subject, some of my friends have already rejected me: I’m no longer included in get-togethers; old friends seem to actively avoid me or are always busy. This is not paranoia or self-pity talking; my wife has observed the same pattern. Our social calendar these days is much more open than it used to be.
But you know what? I’m still alive. I still find joy in my days. It hasn’t killed me that friends have rejected me, and that gives me hope for Step 9. So what if people reject me? The only people I’m really worried about rejecting me are my wife and kids, and I don’t think those are real risks. Even if my wife were to reject me after I make amends to her, at the end of the day that is ‘her side of the street’.
I am beginning to learn where I end and where the rest of the world begins. Stuff that goes on ‘out there’ is not my responsibility and I do not have to worry, be hurt, or feel badly when other people have their own issues. That’s their deal, not mine.