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Case 15 — Why Someone Would Deny Themselves Happiness

In some ways this is an anatomy of fear, but a fear of someone else. A fear of being harshly judged or punished by someone if they decide to be happy. Therefore, a fear of being happy in case they get punished for it. Here is Tom’s story:

Tom’s Story

I was a bit of a loner. I was also dominated and abused by my mother. She wouldn’t let me have any real freedom until I was 16; and by that time I was too scared about the world to enjoy it.

She’d kept me trapped at home from a young age. I had no privacy and no real friends.

Later I started getting out more. I found it difficult making friends.

One day I joined a local club. It seemed OK and fun. I had hoped it would give me some confidence.

A new member joined. His name was Dave. I liked Dave. He was like the friend I’d always wanted. We looked after each other and felt well connected. There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t have done for him. I only really went to the club for him after that. But because of my mother we didn’t really interact outside of it. It wasn’t something I’d ever been able to do.

One day he said he might be moving away. I didn’t want him to go.

I didn’t stop him. I didn’t tell him I didn’t want him to go. One part of me said “I could follow him anywhere”. But another part was saying “What about mum? What would mum say?” The latter feelings were so strong and dominant that I just couldn’t tell him. I was so scared of her or what she’d say that I couldn’t bring myself to stop Dave from going. I had to watch as each day went by as that day Dave would leave drew closer. And I could do nothing to stop it because of what mum would say. She wouldn’t want me going after him.

On the last day Dave and I were talking . Thoughts crept into my head like “We could stay in contact. I hope you don’t go. I’d really miss you if you went.” But also thoughts grew stronger about my mum. “What would mum say? What about mum? I can’t go off with Dave and leave mum.” So I let Dave go. It was the most painful thing I ever did.

After he was gone I felt grey and empty. I wanted to kick myself. I never saw Dave again and he never made contact. I did this.

Tom’s story end


Tom felt closely connected with Dave Tom felt it was the best thing he ever had. Tom wanted to stay with Dave. Tom felt Dave made him happy.

Tom feared his mother. Tom feared what his mother would say if he tried to follow Dave. Tom feared retribution from his mother if tried to stay in contact with Dave.

Tom’s mother was controlling; so controlling that she made Tom fear her.

Even though staying with Dave would have been beneficial to Tom he still chose not to out of fear of his mother. Out of fear of punishment, Tom decided it would be better not to be happy with his friend.


Individuals deny themselves happiness out of fear of someone else. Individuals deny themselves happiness out of fear of someone else punishing them.

#psychology #behaviour #fear #abused #happiness

Interests include: Criminal Psychology, Crime, Criminal Investigation, Mysteries, The Unsolved and Unexplained.