We are born with two fears; the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.
ALL other fears have been learned!
That’s right! We actually learn to be fearful of something. This could be from our own experience or from the experience of someone else. Yes we actually ‘borrow’ someone else’s fear and take it on as our own.
I wanted to share with you, something that happened recently… a perfect example of borrowed fear.
I took my dog, Stanley, for a walk this afternoon. Like most dogs, he loves going for walks and enjoys meets and greets. He is very social.
On this occasion, we went to a small wooded area that opens out on a playing field. I could see a small group of people by the football goal, their noise caught his attention and he made his way over to them for a fuss. I could see that there was an older lady holding on the hand of a child of about 7, a teenage boy and a mother with a baby strapped to her back.
As Stan meandered around, I noticed that they all stood still. He obviously realised that they were not going to be ‘love’ givers and started to head back, stopping to sniff the ground on the way. The group moved a bit and then stopped when he did. It suddenly dawned on me that they were apprehensive about him.
So I called out ‘It’s okay, he is fine‘, to reassure them in a friendly manner.
‘ So you say‘ said the sharped-tongued Granny.
‘ No, really, he is fine.’ and called him back towards me.
‘Until, he’s not!‘ was the loud retort.
Then like a mother defending her young, I upped my game!..
I went on to explain that Stanley was really placid but she was having none of it and gripped a child’s hand tighter! She was shouting that he should be on a lead (which in fact he didn’t). Apart from her shouting none of the others said anything just stood still like skittles on the field.
I understand, more than most, that fear can be crippling but I can also see how it develops. Slightly riled, I felt the need to point out that she was projecting her fear on the children, not to mention the other adult with the baby.
‘I am not frightened, I am just being realistic‘
After a few cross words we parted ways.
I don’t know what originally caused this lady’s fear of dogs, it could have been her own experience as a child but I do know that her behaviour was noted by the unconscious minds of those present. I would suspect that this has not been the first time and surmise that the other adult was her daughter. She remained still with fear and silent throughout the whole incident. A fear that she had perhaps learned from her childhood.
As children we are very receptive to how others behave.
We learn by watching; how to walk for instance. So if your mother is frightened of spiders and you see how she reacts when she encounters one, then your unconscious mind assumes that that is the correct way to act. It then seems normal to jump and scream at the sight of one.
We can also learn our fears from watching a programme on TV or a film; we are still watching behaviour!
We can misinterpret what someone says to us at a young age, as we do not have the capabilities to question their reasoning or be mindful about what is going on at the time for them.
We take what they say as ‘the truth’
Unfortunately most of our fears have been learned before this age.
The conscious mind is the part that where we learn new skills, think of new ideas, make decisions and work out problems. We use it to analyse and rationalise situations.
Until the age of 8 or 9 children spend most of the time in their unconscious mind, taking in information like a sponge. They have great imaginations, say things without thinking, accept things that are said to them without question. They are not thinking through the consequences of a situation, which is why they often do silly dangerous things.
Once we have learned a fear, every time we experience it, we increase it.
The body kicks into the flight, fight or freeze response automatically whenever the fear or persevered fear arises. The symptoms of this can be just as frightening as the fear itself.
This in turn can cause the feeling of overwhelming Panic. We become fearful of FEAR itself.
How can Hypnotherapy help?
Hypnotherapy can help to discover where the cause of fears come from.
Exploring and changing beliefs on an unconscious level. Often when we are given that information to process as an adult we are able to rationalise the fear.