Not jump scares or fun frights, what truly fundamentally unnerves you at the deepest level? What makes you shut down or . . . when you self examine . . . probably influences your life choices subconsciously?

It took me a while to realize this for myself (and there were a few significant episodes in my life that clarified this fear for me), but I’m deeply afraid of being responsible for someone else’s life and failing them.

Or even being that much of an influence on people’s lives. Like, a guy I dated for a few months in high-school and then dumped when I realized I wasn’t actually interested in romantic relationships with anyone. I ended up talking to him again a few years ago, and he remembered that time very fondly and credited my positive attention with pulling him out of a bad spot when he was struggling with depression. My internal response: “SHIT NO DON’T PUT THAT ON ME”. Because the corollary to “you pulled me out of depression” is “you had the power to put me there too” and I don’t want that power over or responsibility for anyone ever.

This is also a large but unspoken part of why I don’t have or want pets. Or children ever. They depend on you. Fully.

I know I can’t slip through life like a ghost leaving no footprints and touching nothing, but when I think of the butterfly effect of offhand interactions and things said casually that may change someone’s life, it’s paralyzing.