The Four Faces of Fear

Jan 29, 2016 | Anxiety

During her presentation at the energy psychology conference, Kathlyn Hendricks reminded us that there are really four facets of fear. Most of us are familiar with the classic fight or flight responses which are activated by an aroused sympathetic nervous system in reaction to perceived danger. Two other responses, not so well recognized are the freeze and faint responses, activated by the parasympathetic nervous system. Let’s look at all of these fear responses a little closer. Each of them is an activation of our survival mechanism.

1. Fight – in the most basis sense, this would appear as physical fighting to protect oneself from a threat or attack. Other fight responses are yelling, arguing, lashing out verbally or even hurling insults and blame.
2. Flight – essentially running away from danger – the best option if you have the speed advantage over your predator. In a heated situation, walking away might be the best thing to do but avoiding or ignoring an issue does little to resolve it.
3. Freeze – when someone goes into a paralyzed state – this happened to me at the top of a tall ladder and my nephew came to the rescue. Freezing can also appear as unable to make a decision, procrastinating or staying put, even in an abusive or dangerous situation.
4. Faint. When a mouse plays dead, a cat will often lose interest and let the mouse go. When some people experience a high degree of fear, he or she might actually faint. This protects the individual from experiencing the full emotional impact of a traumatizing situation. I worked with a woman whose response to spiders was to faint (before we did EFT).

The tricky thing about these fear responses, they can be activated even when there is no real threat. Our mind can conjure up imagined scenarios based on past upsetting experiences or even beliefs. Someone feels very anxious riding in a car following a car accident or you fear public speaking forgetting that you were embarrassed in elementary school when you forgot your memorized lines. When we use EFT to dissolve the negative emotions arising from the initial event we are set free from having those emotional triggers hijack our present experiences.

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