What are some of your fears? Mine include clowns, and sometimes the afterlife.
Fear is a powerful thing, and one of the few common attributes that we as people and humans share. According to Dr. Sarah Sarkis, fear is defined as “a powerful feeling that reveals a soft underbelly of our relationship with self-regulation, control, and vulnerability”.
The psychology of fear is a fascinating one. Studies have shown that when we become fearful, the amydala part of the brain reacts along with physical and neurological networks which leads to a change of focus to personal wellbeing.
Dr. Sarah Sarkis also writes how fear is so disruptive that it overpowers our abilities to preserve logic.(You can find her full article on fear here!)
Research conducted in association with Harvard University has described the level of fear as being dependent on past experiences, dating back as far as childhood and our infancy. Through studies at the University, research has found that during the first few years of life, children engage in serve and return processes. The best way to describe this process is to reference the crying child. When a child cries it expects a caregiver to respond. The caregiver will then respond in return, with the child to react thereafter. Much like the game of tennis, the cycle keeps going, and the result is dependent on the players. Naturally, the infant is always going to be more helpless then the child, but with the right opponent each child can learn the Caregivers tricks, and learn to thrive. In some instances, the opponent can last permanent harm which will lead to everlasting developmental problems. The inability for the parent to respond to the child can be due to the potential lack of parenting skills that some parents inhibit. On the other side of the equation, if the child has a developmental limitation this can provoke a disappointing less than ideal return from the parent. It’s through this process where fear can be developed in either party.