The Psychology of Fear

Fear is something we all have. The fear of the unknown, the fear of death, fear of spiders; however it’s fear that also stops from becoming the people we truly come up as fear of success if more common than we would like to admit. Did you ever have a situation that you told yourself, I don’t want this position because of the responsibilities that come with it. Well I hate to break it to you, it’s fear that’s triggering that feeling. It’s the fear that low key is making talk yourself out it. Lisa Fritscher from VeryWellMinded.com describes fear as “Fear is a natural, powerful, and primitive human emotion. It involves a universal biochemical response as well as a high individual emotional response. Fear alerts us to the presence of danger or the threat of harm, whether that danger is physical or psychological (Lisa Fritscher. Reviewed by David B. Block MD. What Is Fear? June 19, 2020. https://www.verywellmind.com/the-psychology-of-fear-2671696.).” Which facing fears in my case, made me become the Phoenix who rose out the ashes that I never believed I ever would be.

Photo by David Fagundes on Pexels.com

What Cause Fear

For the longest time I was afraid of two distinct non-threatening things. Spiders and Clowns. Psychologically it was associated with the fear of humiliation and shame, which being a reject in high school, I got pretty savvy at dealing with it. But like everyone, I dealt with it through the wrong outlet, through drinking sorrows away and an array of addictive behaviors that acted like the common bandaid of a life full of internalized emotional pain from a lifetime of events of truamatic situations. Both big and small. And trauma in trauma no matter how big or small the trauma is. Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Which anything that disturbs our everyday normalcy of life is considered trauma. As a recap, these are the thing that are considered traumatic events in life:

  • death of family member, lover, friend, teacher, or pet
  • divorce
  • physical pain or injury (e.g. severe car accident)
  • serious illness
  • war
  • natural disasters
  • terrorism
  • moving to a new location
  • parental abandonment
  • witnessing a death
  • rape
  • domestic abuse
  • prison stay

So let’s stop being a shitty person and start getting some empathy up in this word. Which starts by not taking personal.

What Causes of Fear

Theo Tsaousides Ph.D.from PsychologyToday.com mentions something that is very true when it comes to hear as he starts his editorial as ” Fear can be uncomfortable and crippling. But eliminating it would be the equivalent of taking down your home alarm system because it sometimes makes loud and irritating sounds.” which if you truly think about it makes sense. But before we go into what causes fear, lets look at the fear that keeps us trapped us in the bubble that we remain in that in the end, keep us not obtaining the change we need. Which is the social phobia, social phobia. Which let me just emphasize is not immediately associated with shyness or being around uncomfortable situations, but with an inhibitor of trauma it can. One of the most common associations of social phobia or social anxiety is the fear of being judged according to Mayo Clinic. With social media and the normal behaviors of narcissism in deflecting our fear of emotional pain, it’s going to happen. I mean it will say one thing, that we are truly in this together. Which next time someone says your crazy you have the ammo to tell them they are the crazy one, as deflecting judgement is actually the fear of being judged. Don’t assume all people are like that. One thing that you must begin to notice is the behavioral patterns of people to truly distinguish if this is truly the case. It’s your theoritical paper trail per say in behvaviors. Here are some symptoms of what social anxiety looks like (Social anxiety disorder (social phobia). August 29, 2017. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/social-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353561.).

Emotional Behaviors and Symptoms

  • Fear of situations in which you may be judged
  • Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
  • Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
  • Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
  • Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
  • Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
  • Having anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
  • Enduring a social situation with intense fear or anxiety
  • Spending time after a social situation analyzing your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions
  • Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation

Physical symptoms

  • Blushing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feeling that your mind has gone blank
  • Muscle tension

Causes of Social Phobia

  • Inherited traits
  • Brain structure
  • Environment

Which all comes from Mayo Clinic.

Things You Need To Know About Fear

One of things we must know about fear is that we all feel it at one point in time. Fearing my experience comes from a place where trauma is a trigger of it. If you think about that one trauma that is bearable to relive for a moment, we avoid the things that specific trauma brings. I feel that this is what prevents us from getting past it. I mean the spider thing, I woke up at three years old to my cousins pet spider crawling on me, which I killed the poor little guy. The clown thing, was a time I remember I got stuck in a public library elevator with a lady who came in at a clown that freaked out because she was afraid of inclosed spaces, which in her freak out, freaked me out. And when people found out those fears, humiliated me with them. So you see my point. Theo Tsaousides Ph.D.from PsychologyToday.com gives us the common things we need to about this scary emotion that is fear. Here are the things he emphasizes (Theo Tsaousides Ph.D. 7 Things You Need to Know About Fear. Nov 19, 2015. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/smashing-the-brainblocks/201511/7-things-you-need-know-about-fear.).

  1. Fear is healthy.
  2. Fear comes in many shades.
  3. Fear is not as automatic as you think.
  4. You don’t need to be in danger to be scared.
  5. Fear dictates the actions you take.
  6. he more scared you feel, the scarier things will seem.
  7. The more real the threat, the more heroic your actions.

Conclusion

It’s okay to be scared. It’s normal to feel it. But it becomes a problem when you allow it to dictate your life. In the things you deflect, in the way you treat people, in the way you hide. It’s okay to do those things as well, but to a point. It leads to so many things like stereotyping and discrimination as well. We become close minded by fear and over react. But the truth is that fear keeps you from achieving your full potential. Which in a world that your progress matter to me, wouldn’t you like to see what your full potential is. I know I would.