Developing Courage - Managing Fear - Page 5 - SailNet Community
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post #41 of 45 Old 10-13-2016
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

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Originally Posted by Donna_F View Post
I'm afraid I don't quite know anymore how best to respond. I see issues with both of your approaches to sailing
Yep, both seem to be locked into their own traditional customs and societal mores. She probably needs to go through a sailing class or find someone who can loan her a small sailing dinghy.

Does she even understand the points of sail?

He seems to be pushing boundaries because he's 60 and retired and wants to go now.

This might be more than just a fear issue....
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post #42 of 45 Old 10-13-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

OK here's what we are going to try thank you everyone

(1) We already have bimini and sun shade and she's very careful with sun exposure and I take it serious and never tease her about it in fact I remind her to put the sunscreen.

(2) I'll wear my harness/lifejacket and tether when getting the main down and I'll let her do it on days not so windy (as she already drops the main sometimes.) I'll continue letting her down the jib, and we will both wear life jackets and harness/tether even on nice days as training and to get used to it for the day we'll need them.

(3) We'll talk to each other on the VHF from time to time so she gets used to it

(4) Continuing with the hand signals, I'll try REALLY hard to never yell or criticize.

(5) I'm going to teach her to stop the boat under sail and heave to, she can already sail a basic course once I have set things up. Take baby steps, I'd like her to learn to sail a circle and figure 8 but we'll get to that. Our boat sails really well without a jib and main only makes that much easier.

(6) The boarding ladder is stored away down below and if I got it on deck at least she could hang it if we needed it.

(7) I'll talk to my friend with a Catalina 36 and see if we can get out someday on a bigger boat with a wheel and inboard diesel

(8) She used to be really afraid of the dinghy and after this summer spending 3 weeks in it she's over that fear so I'm hoping some of this fades with use, her main fear is the upcoming voyage, not me getting the main down on the Pearson in 20 knots.

(9) I'll see if she'll go sailing with the women-owned and crewed Catalina 27, 2 slips down from us.

I'll continue listening to her and trying to understand and help. She sees me a big strong man, confident, nearly my whole live on the water with no fear and highly competent, yet she has heard some sea stories about nights and big storms during races and she wants to understand how I put my fear behind me when I have to. It's hard to explain what being a captain in a race with a bunch of guys who depend on you with their lives means and how a man responds to that.

I've seen deep courage in this woman and I have all the confidence in the world in her even if she doesn't have that for herself, yet. I can see inside her is a core of strength and power, and despite years of people telling her she can't do it, she put herself through college and became a teacher. And yet she's willing to leave that for me. Deep down, really deep down, she knows she's better than what they all said and deserves better and now she has it. Those of us who have cruised have heard this, none of her coworkers believe she's actually going to leave, but I know better, she's already filed her papers to leave work, as have I.

Our fifth date 3 years ago was sailing from Ensenada around the Islas de los Todos Santos 15 miles out and back - her FIRST time on a boat and she did great and we've never looked back.
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post #43 of 45 Old 10-13-2016
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

You started this thread by asking about how to manage fear. Forty three posts later, you've gotten cultural advice, marital counseling, some sailing advice, invitations to self-criticism, psychological assessments, and some advice about fear. Some of it has been pretty good. I'll just stick to fear.

Fear is not "rational"--it's primal. It may or may not be rationally related to the circumstances at hand. I've experienced, and directly observed in others, both absence of fear in overtly hazardous (immediately life-threatening) situations, and severe fear in situations that were clearly (and known to be) not particularly dangerous. You can't reason your way, or her way, in or out of it.

So, first question--who wants to manage your wife's fear? You obviously want her to manage it but that is not enough. Does she want to manage fear or does she really want simply to not be afraid? There is a big difference. I wouldn't assume that she really wants to manage her fear just because she says so. You need to look at what she does, not what she says. If what she wants is to avoid fear, not manage it, that's what she'll try to do, and you cannot successfully force the issue. She, herself, needs to want to manage it if she is to succeed at managing it.

Second question, if she wants to manage fear, how does she do it? You already know part of the answer, because you included it in your first post: "In a stressful situation you fall back on your training." That's one half. The other piece is desensitization, or graduated habituation--starting with relevant situations that produce small, manageable amounts of anxiety, mastering those, then gradually working up in bite-sized pieces. And as for training--it's not just training--it's actually drill, i.e., repetition, to the level that behavior becomes automatic or reflexive. That way, when the fear-inducing stimulus occurs, the response doesn't require much (or any) analysis or judgment--just a "go"--and in the flow, enough calm usually comes that perception and judgment can kick back in
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Last edited by OldEagle; 10-13-2016 at 06:22 PM.
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post #44 of 45 Old 04-04-2019
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

I can understand where your wife is coming from, I sail with my husband and i do most of the deck work. Not because I don’t or can’t do the helming or engine, but because I just like it. Although I do draw the line at hauling up the anchor and 30 meters of chain 3 times in 45 mins because he’s not happy about the way we are lying.

Last edited by Wilmslow; 04-04-2019 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Text
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post #45 of 45 Old 04-05-2019
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

There is a very good reason GOOD marriage counselors make good money. Itís damn hard work, takes a tremendous amount of skill and emotional fortitude and sucks.

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