Fear is a valid emotion that every human being will inevitably experience one way or another at some point or many points in life. It is also one of the most emotionally addictive energy states we can experience. Why? For tons of reasons. However in this moment, I find that people are subconsciously clinging to fear due to programs of trauma bonding, victimization and vulnerability.
We are going to take a break from deconstructing medical and science paradigms on health and disease to take a look at fear itself for a minute; as I have noticed that in this moment the collective is so paralyzed in fear, most are not able or willing to move out of fear even when offered another way. Please note that I do not intend to invalidate or ridicule anyone’s fear, everyone’s feelings are valid. Still, there are too many reasons to elucidate on why chronic fear is dangerous and toxic to the self and the collective, and there are many resources online for understanding the effects of chronic fear states. I also offer deeper analysis and processing in the ebook “decolonizing our souls :: liberation medicine for BIPOC.” Today we will instead be dismantling the reasons why we may be stuck in the fear response state and how the media exploits this tendency to manipulate the masses and for social control.
I have personally noticed that when I am in a state of fear, I am afraid to not be afraid. That I have this sense of I need to be in fear to stay bonded to others. That if I am not afraid while others are, I am betraying them; I am disloyal to their suffering; I am ignoring their pain. Fear has the quality of needing company. Fear likes to be validated by other people recognizing and internalizing it. As an evolutionary mechanism for survival, fear itself is a virus and is contagious; spreading quickly to ensure survival during acute attacks. “Fear can be helpful and life saving in acute situations but toxic and deadly when chronic.” Yet, many of us, myself included, have a hard time letting go of fear because it can be perceived by ourselves or others as a betrayal to our communities or deceiving the memory of suffering and victimization of our ancestors or people. Sometimes we stay in fear out of guilt that we are abandoning others if we don’t stay afraid with them. However, fear that becomes chronic because of subconscious imprints of loyalty to suffering and pain is extremely dangerous not only to our personal health and growth but also to the collective as it keeps us locked in victim roles of helplessness and in need of outside authority and protection. This kind of fear is therefore not authentic to ourselves and is only a form of trauma bonding that serves no purpose except to perpetuate victimhood.
Likewise, we often stay unwittingly stuck in a state of fear because of subconscious beliefs that we are broken, dis-eased, sick and weak and that something outside ourselves knows better than us and we need it to save us. In this historical moment, when hyper-capitalist and toxic masculine systems dominate our psyche and our cultural programs-- the primary belief holding these systems in place is that there is a natural hierarchy of power-over/power-under dynamics; whereby nature is organically organized through interactions of the powerful over the weak. Remaining in a state of chronic fear means we have subconsciously internalized this belief; we subconsciously believe we are weak and ignorant and we do not know or have access to the truth. Notions of truth and help are perceived as being owned and accessed only by those in power; being in chronic fear means we are perceiving a physical entity or group as being more powerful and more knowable than us and we are simply helpless victims at the mercy of the whims of this power. This is far from being in a state of true freedom, as by remaining in fear we are essentially surrendering our personal autonomy and self-determination to an outside physical (government, social, sometimes natural) force. The powers that be will most definitely exploit this by using fear to coerce us into patterns of victimhood, into certain beliefs and behaviors, and thus maintain control over the masses and what we know, or think we know.
Vulnerability is also culturally perceived as human weakness rather than the potential for human growth and excellence; and so many of us get addicted to fear simply because we are afraid of being vulnerable, not necessarily afraid of the thing itself. Brene Brown explains this phenomenon as remaining in fear as a subconscious attempt to beat vulnerability to the punch, that if we remain alert in fear we will not be vulnerable and weak to threats when they actually show up. However the truth is that if we can practice coming to terms with our natural vulnerability as spirits in a physical body that can get sick and will eventually die, we can ultimately overcome collective fear or fears that are socially induced. Our fear of death is a universal fear that underlies and originates all others fears. As animals we really have no other fear except the fear of death. Once we can come to terms with both our mortality and this natural animalistic fear of our mortality, we can become more comfortable with being vulnerable. And once we are comfortable with our vulnerability, we can then become more aware and nuanced in our engagement with fear as an emotion. We can become more in charge of it, take ownership over it, transform it, harness it for our personal power and growth. When we accept our human vulnerability, we reclaim our personal autonomy and power.
Aside from wreaking havoc on our physical bodies by destroying our nervous systems, our immune systems and our cognitive abilities, chronic fear also means that we are responding from and building our relationships around fear, whether that be relationships with nature, fellow humans or human structures and systems. When we react from places of fear, we can become both oppressive and oppressed as we uphold paradigms of power-over and power-under dynamics. “...without even noticing we may unconsciously recreate a colonized/colonizer paradigm and good guy/bad guy dichotomies that are triggered when in a state of fear. We may unwittingly react from those paradigms as well, whereby we unawarely participate in patterns and behaviors that may reinforce the us/them, victim/perpetrator, oppressed/oppressor paradigm.” (From the ebook).
Finally, when operating in a state of fear we can actually manifest the thing we are perceiving as a threat. Just as there is a placebo effect whereby a person can manifest a positive outcome based on positive beliefs, there is also the nocebo effect, in which a person can manifest a negative outcome based on negative beliefs. But that’s for the next blog post. Stay tuned!
The ebook curriculum “decolonizing our souls :: liberation medicine for BIPOC” offers deeper processes for dismantling and deprogramming these structures of fear within and without us. However, we touch on it here as this deprogramming and transformation of fear is essential to self-actualization, to reclaiming our authentic soul expression and purpose, and to establishing freedom, autonomy and sovereignty. It is essential to true liberation or decolonizing the soul.
“Freedom is not going away from something. Freedom is being responsible for your own reality. Freedom is having the power to decide for yourself, not the power to escape from other realities.” (~Matias De Stefano)
It is important that you know that you have permission to not be afraid; to be yourself, to be in joy, to be in power and to be in ownership of yourself, your emotions and responses. You have permission to be free.
I’d like to hear from you-- what other reasons do you think you or other people may be addicted to fear right now? And why is it dangerous?
ebook curriculum for soul alchemy, radical transformation & restorative justice