The first example of my fear of failure happened in 1979. As I mentioned in the last blog I was unaware until recently what my difficulty was. I had graduated from University College Cork with a Ph. D in History and shortly afterwards a position as a History lecturer in a teacher’s training college became available. I knew from a particular source that I had a very good chance of getting the job. When I remember my letter of application I still feel embarrassed. I wish I had it now to publish and you would see how this invisible fear trapped me. In my letter I managed to convey to the College authorities my keen interest in the job as well as my reluctance to take it because I needed to get my Sixth Years through their Irish course that year! I feel sure that they were convinced that I was either a supremely arrogant or an extremely unintelligent person. Is it not interesting that an intelligent person full of fear can come across as arrogant, lacking good judgement and even stupid?
My second experience was shocking. I received a letter giving me the privilege of responding to a lecture (using the Irish language on Land League agitation) by an eminent professor at the Oireachtas of that year. I had published a book on the priests’ involvement in politics, and in particular on the land league, so I was well qualified in Irish and was an ideal candidate for this honour that was offered to me. I replied refusing to do so and compounded my refusal by offering to deliver a lecture myself at some future date. On the surface, this was the height of arrogance, but in reality it was the reply from someone bound by fear. The Oireachtas committee must have been appalled at such arrogance, and the professor rightly felt insulted.
Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE