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The Boundaries Of Fear - Self-development
The Boundaries Of Fear - Self-development

Video: The Boundaries Of Fear - Self-development

Video: The Boundaries Of Fear - Self-development
Video: This is what you're afraid of [Self-Development] 2023, March

Fear is a natural human reaction that ensures its survival. It is a basic emotion that prevents overly dangerous actions. However, are we paying too high a price for such a warning? Phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder are examples of how this basic emotion deforms our life. Why does fear become our enemy and not our helper?


Let's try to figure out where the legs "grow" from in the feeling of fear. In general, emotions are the most ancient mental functions that emerged as a result of a long evolution of human higher nervous activity. The emotion of fear was associated with a threat to life, forcing them to fight or flee. Experiencing fear, ancient man prepared for some kind of active action, which was reflected in the autonomic reactions of the body. These reactions persist in modern man. Any of us can in emergency situations feel a rapid heartbeat, indigestion, chills.

It is the vegetative reactions that a person experiences as the most painful. Emotion in itself, devoid of accompanying bodily changes (if it could be deprived of this), does not affect a person so strongly. Naturally, any person seeks to avoid unpleasant sensations, as a result of which a paradoxical phenomenon is formed - “fear of experiencing fear”. Most phobias and obsessive states are based on this very experience.

The body's vegetative reaction is fully justified when faced with a real threat to life. But how often do we face real dangers? Life in general has become more secure, but the feeling of fear remains even more relevant than that of ancient man. It destroys us more and more.


Fear based on personal experience can be partly real. Many of us have experienced traumatic situations that we later try to avoid. It could be either a regular injection when taking blood, or a fall from a bicycle. In both situations, we experienced pain, which, quite naturally, we try not to face any more. Any similar circumstances mobilize our body against our will, and we begin to feel fear only from the expectation of painful sensations. The so-called inclusion of a negative "anchor", formed as a conditioned reaction, occurs. Indeed, there is nothing terrible or intolerable in taking blood. However, our memory does not reproduce the intensity of real pain, but the body's reaction to it, only not instantaneous, as it happened in reality, but as if "stretched" in time and therefore unbearable. The same mechanism is triggered, for example, in the case of a fear of cockroaches. Aversion to this insect is surmountable, but our consciousness reproduces it as overly intense, and people assume that they are "terribly" afraid of cockroaches.

The fact that fear is exclusively the result of our experience confirms the fact that this fear disappears as soon as the meeting with its pathogen has taken place. As soon as the injection is made, the cockroach is killed - calm and relaxation sets in. However, this does not happen when the fear of an object is a product of the collective unconscious. These fears include the fear of rats, spiders, snakes, thunderstorms, fire, etc. Those phenomena that people were afraid of for thousands of years, regardless of how really dangerous they were, in the process of evolution began to be perceived as terrible, threatening. At the same time, people who are panicky afraid of spiders or thunderstorms cannot rationally explain their fear, cannot remember any episodes when these objects were damaged to them.


Fears generated by negative experiences or the collective unconscious are understandable. Where does the irrational fear take its roots?

Almost every one of us has come across a situation when strange sounds are heard in complete silence, in the darkness there is a feeling of the presence of something foreign, and all this is accompanied not even by fear - horror!

For the normal functioning of the psyche, a certain minimum of stimuli affecting the organs of sight and hearing, which are called receptors, are required. As observations on people in extreme conditions show, with a lack of nerve impulses coming from receptors, there is a need for stimuli. In response to the lack of external impressions and emotional experiences, the processes of imagination are activated, which in a certain way affect the figurative memory. These phenomena belong to eidetism (from the Greek eidos - image), that is, a variety of figurative memory. With eidetism, images in the process of the imagination reach a high degree of brightness and are projected outward.


In isolation experiments conducted by researchers in the United States and Canada in the fifties of the last century, one of the subjects "saw" a procession of squirrels marching in a snowy field with bags over their shoulders. The second is a naked woman swimming in a pond. It is in this way that, in conditions of silence, darkness and loneliness, hermits and hermits have visual and auditory hallucinations of mystical content.

Uncertainty includes a mode of constant waiting, as a rule - for something bad. Even Aristotle argued that "fear is defined as the expectation of evil." In order to feel confident and calm, we need to imagine how and what we have to cope with in the future. In the event of a lack of information about the environment (people, circumstances), we cannot predict how to manage the situation; accordingly, a feeling of fear arises. Therefore, in general, it can be argued that information and predictability free us from fear.


Social fear is an “invention” of our civilization. Situations that provoke social fear are not life threatening. They carry a symbolic danger - a threat to self-esteem, status, relationships.

The fear of communication arises from the fear of being rejected by society, rejected, isolated. Often, the feeling of rejection is already familiar to a person from childhood: once he was laughed at by peers or teachers, his parents did not accept him. As a result, a person is afraid of what others will say about him, draws in his fantasies a negative reaction to his words, condemnation. The expectation of negative reactions makes even a pre-contact painful and even impossible, a person becomes more and more closed in himself, and therefore does not get a positive safe communication experience.

Narcissism is another cause of social fear. The ego of such a person perceives any negative assessment extremely painfully. Rejection destroys, is perceived as defeat, causing fear and avoidance of communication. Thus, the fear of communication is associated with the hypertrophied need to maintain one's image of "I". Narcissism is also often the cause of passivity, which is based on fear of performing various activities. Possible failure can destroy the Ego of such a person, which paralyzes the will and the very desire to live.


The more fears a modern person experiences, the more people who want to make money on it. If earlier only cognitivists, behaviorists and psychoanalysts dealt with obsessive-compulsive neuroses and phobias, now psychics and parapsychologists are increasingly replacing psychotherapy, who only increase the anxiety of their clients, putting them on the eternal hook of predictions. They support mystical thinking, irrational sensations, which only increases anxiety.

It is natural to assume that the opposite strategy works effectively with fear - a real view of the situation. If we enter the boundaries of predictability, a clear forecast, if the number of unknown factors decreases, a feeling of stability and order appears, fear will begin to pass. Indeed, in a stressful unexpected situation, especially in a situation of catastrophe or loss, we find ourselves disoriented, our entire life system is destroyed, we are not able to see the future. It will take time for us to again enter the boundaries of an understandable system, for predictability to appear, for us to adapt to new conditions. In this, not only time helps us, but also the presence of those people nearby who can support us in an adaptive stable frame of reference. It can be a sober-minded relative or a psychotherapist.


Any psychotherapy tends to believe that the feeling of fear cannot be repressed, suppressed or ignored. Tips “Pull yourself together!”, “Pull yourself together!”, “There is nothing to be afraid of!”, As a rule, do not work. The best way to work with fear release is by observing your own body and its reactions.

Our unpleasant experiences are adrenaline, increased heartbeat, the body's readiness to fight or run away, pressure changes, etc. We observe these reactions and understand that the body is ready for action. This observation alone removes the "fear of fear" - we see that nothing terrible happens to us, that this is just a normal physiological reaction.

Further, we can relieve this tension with the help of any physical exercise: squats, running, hitting the pillow, even just vigorous clenching and unclenching of fists. For example, if you are afraid to go for an interview, then you can, after entering the building, climb the stairs at an accelerated pace, so that your body "worked out" adrenaline. It must be remembered that if you cannot cope with anxiety or fear on your own, you can always ask for help and find someone who is more experienced or professional in this situation. Alone is always scarier than two.



Fortunately, there are now ways to deal with fears that provide reliable results. To begin with, it is worth finding out what exactly the "main fear" is. Fears are usually disguised, and what seems scary at first glance is often not what is actually depressing. For example, fear of failure (“I'm afraid of starting a new business, I might lose a lot of money”) may mean fear of success (“You can't earn more than your husband, otherwise he will leave” or “I'll become rich, everyone will be jealous, and I will lose friends”). When fear is known, it is time to figure out what is behind it - what beliefs and thoughts support it? What prevents you from getting rid of fear and how can it be useful? By working through these topics, you can plan and reinforce new behaviors. Usually, this cognitive processing is enough to make fear go away forever or become your ally.


individual and family psychotherapist

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