February 8, 2009 6:37 PM Subscribe
Phobias are treated by exposure or immersion. How, then, is one supposed to deal with a phobia of petty authority?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I have a deep unhealthy fear that a person in authority will seize on a minor transgression, one I might not even have known existed, and grind me into powder. There are a lot of things that "everybody" does that I can't do. I can't speed; I can't touch a steering wheel on the same night as having a single drink. These may be good decisions, but they are made from my fear of cops, not reasoning. I never download pirated movies, songs or anything (not that I would honestly rethink that decision). I sweat over my taxes every year, even though everything should be in order. I am afraid of, I don't know, the judge from Pink Floyd's The Wall or something. And it freezes my blood to think of a SWAT team busting down my door and killing my dog over some address error on a warrant, then shuffling away with no apologies, never to account for it. These are all products of genuine concern, but they haunt and paralyze me.
I understand where this is from. I had a bad experience of scapegoating for a minor transgression in high school, and although some grownups were kind of sympathetic, they explained that the teachers doing the punishing couldn't just let it go, because that meant failing to do their work, risking their jobs and their families. So ever since I have been keenly aware that neither justice nor mercy matters as much, to enforcers of rules, as keeping their jobs.
But I am hell of a grownup now and need to stop allowing these things to control me. How do you unseat a phobia like this one in particular?