The Voice Of Fear

Dysfunction Test

It is pretty easy to see dysfunction when it is dramatic, like alcoholism, drugs, phobias etc. But other times, the dysfunction may be subtle and hardly noticed by others or ourselves. We even put certain types of dysfunction on a pedestal like being highly competitive, success-orientated or physically adventurous.


Dysfunction comes from fear. Fear puts us out of balance and we become dysfunctional.


For example:


If fear makes me feel uncomfortable in social situations when I am young, then I might start drinking to take the edge off. The alcohol lessens the fear, but then 10 years later I drink every day because I never attempted to understand the origin of my fear.


When we don't deal with our fear, our fear will deal with us. Most people make the mistake of looking at their dysfunction from its destructive side. In the case of an alcoholic, an outsider might look at the fact that the alcoholic lost a job, got a divorce or has failing health as reasons to focus on change. In an intervention, the family members gather around and tell the alcoholic how drinking has hurt each of them. This might be effective, but it does not address the real issue.


In order to understand a dysfunction you must look at the positive side. This is the side that the person is hanging on to. The alcoholic knows all the destructive things that his or her alcoholism is creating, but what others don't see are the great benefits of being drunk. When an alcoholic drinks, he or she escapes fears that they buried long ago. Asking an alcoholic to stop drinking is to ask him or her to face fear itself.


I have put together a test to help you get to the root of a dysfunction and get to the positive side so you can honestly decide if you are ready for change. This would be the  test for my alcoholic example. You can simply substitute a different dysfunction and it will lead you to your truth.



Question: What do you want to change?

Answer: I want to stop drinking.


Question: Why?

Answer: Because it is ruining my life.


Question: Have you tried before?

Answer: Yes, but I always start up again.


Question: Why?

Answer: I get too stressed without a drink.


Question: Why?

Answer: I don't do well with people or stress.


Question: Why?

Answer: I have always been shy and need a drink to loosen up.


Question: Why?

Answer: I don't know.


Question: So the benefit of drinking is it allows you to socially interact and relax?

Answer: Yes.


Question: So there is great benefit to drinking?

Answer: Yes.


Question: Then why would you stop?

Answer: I guess I won't.


Question: If you faced the original fears that started your drinking and you became relaxed and socially comfortable would you still need to drink?

Answer: No.


Question: So when you are willing to give up the positive aspect of drinking and face your original fear will you quit?

answer: Yes.



Emotional fear is always dysfunctional. There is no risk to emotions. Unless a person is physically touching you they cannot harm you. Believing that emotions are dangerous opens the door to giving your fear power over you. If you hold on to your fear long enough it will create exactly what you fear. But when you find the courage to face your fears your dysfunction will melt away.

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