Is my uncle out of line, or am I?
September 20, 2011 12:48 PM Subscribe
OK. Here's my issue. I can drive, but I've inherited a bit of a driving phobia from my mom (who doesn't drive at all). In the small town where I'm originally from, I just stuck to regular roads and state highways. I've never liked the freeway.
posted by starpoint to human relations (53 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I've recently moved to the Bay Area, and the driving is way more intense here than what I'm used to. There's a choir that I am interested in joining at some point, but getting to rehearsals and back at night is an issue since it's too far to walk. I could rent a ZIP car but I don't feel comfortable driving on the freeways here.
Whenever I said this to my uncle, he kept saying I shouldn't tell myself I can't drive on the freeway. He says millions of people do it every day and so can I. He starts comparing me to others, saying look at your cousin, he didn't know how to drive a stick shift before he came to CA and now he can drive any freeway in the world. And the woman next door who came from a small town and she can drive everywhere too. He brought my mother into the picture by saying, "this is the problem with your mom, she's passed her fears onto you", etc. Sure, that's all true, but it's not helpful and so invalidating!
I felt like he didn't get that I have a *real* fear of the freeway. I *understand* that it's an irrational/limiting fear, but it's there anyway. That part is REAL. Whenever I tried to state that driving on the 580 freeway is not something I feel comfortable with, he dismisses it and says it's just a lie I'm telling myself and that it's all because of my mom that I'm like this. I don't feel like he truly understands where I'm coming from, since he's never had a driving phobia. I felt invalidated. I'm sure he means well, and I appreciate all that he has done for me in helping me adjust to life out here. But his way of telling me to face my fears on the road was not helpful. Just wanted to know if you think he should have been more understanding of my fears.
The way I see it, when someone has a fear or phobia of something, the *worst* thing you can do is try to rationalize with them and shoot them with platitudes like, "you can do anything you set your mind to", or "that's a lie you're telling yourself", etc, because the person with a phobia already KNOWS that their fear is irrational. Or am I totally off the mark here?