Introduction to Various Types of Fear

Fear/Anxiety is a dark, mysterious subject. Unraveling it into separate items enables us to understand it better so we can deal with it more adequately. Looking at separate items allows us to distinguish what is valid for us, what is truly going on in us, so we can better address a specific rather than tackling a vague notion of ‘fear/anxiety.’

In the pages of this Pathology Section of the website, we discuss the 7 types of fear I have identified:

1.    Quality of Life-level Fear

2.    Fear of Death, and the related Fight-or-Flight Reaction

3.    Fear of Failure –  in general and specifically in the Performing Arts

4.    Phobias

5.    Anxiety

6.    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

7.    Fear of Annihilation–  which is one of the key concepts in this theory

8.    Substitute Sense of Self -related fears: e.g. Fear of one’s own behavior

9.    Terror

The various pages that are dedicated to those specific symptoms, ailments and dysfunctions elaborate more on how they might originate in the continuous stressors of being dependent on fulfilling numerous conditions and requirements at the (perceived) cost of losing one’s ‘right to be’ or ‘visibility.’

How specific is the fear?

One clear distinction we can make which helps to get more grip on the subject and therefore on ourselves, if we suffer from anxiety or fear-related symptoms: What is at stake? Is the cause of the fear tangible and visible or at least a specific thought? Or is the actual cause of the emotion vague, unknown, not at all defined?

In the first case we most likely are dealing with a Quality of Life-level Quality of Life-level of fear, an apprehension that accompanies everyday living and is a normal part of life. For example, you have to take care crossing a street, lest you get hit by a car and end up in hospital or worse. That’s a very reasonable warning in everyday life.

Note: there are mothers who say this to their child every single time when a child leaves the house. In that example, we could question what is going on. Is that a healthy Quality of Life matter for her, or does she have an unhealthy (Substitute Sense of Self-driven) fear with a ‘ Hidden Agenda.’

However, not all ‘tangible’ fears are healthy, nor Quality of Life related. For example, phobias and PTSD involve unhealthy fears.

Fear of Death falls in the category of tangible fears even if you are scared about an invisible sniper; it is still a tangible cause although you can’t spot the person. (Of course, if you are constantly scared of snipers when there are none ever around you, then it’s a phobia, not a fear of death.)

Phobias are usually geared toward a particular object or situation that is known. As such it falls in the category tangible causes, even though it isn’t healthy or Quality of Life-level.

Terror can be tangible or intangible, healthy or unhealthy. Terror means extreme fear. Whether I’m being reasonable or unreasonable, there is something, tangible or not, that scares the hell out of me. Saying to myself, or hearing someone else tell me, ‘there IS nothing’ isn’t enough to get me – or any terrified person – over a feeling that strong. So far I haven’t dedicated a Page to the concept of ‘Terror’ but it certainly is worth considering doing that in a later stage of this work.

The other fears (Anxiety, Fear of Failure, PTSD, and Fear of Annihilation) have in common that the dreaded cause of the fear isn’t tangible, visible, or even known. Fear of Failure is perhaps somewhat in-between because the reason for this fear is half-known. It looks as if we are scared to not do a specific task well enough, to (and note the interesting expression here) ‘not lose face’.  More about it on the page Fear of Failure.

The Fear of Annihilation and the Substitute Sense of Self-related fears are of crucial importance in this work. Fear of Annihilation generates the Substitute-Sense–of-Self-oriented System and the fears generated by that System are the direct cause of many aspects of human suffering (that can, fortunately) be eliminated through Restoring the Sense of Self.

Where the reader goes next….