We all have our own list of what causes us distress and hostility. The person with a physical disability may be scared of heights, having an amputation, or the thought of going into space. A long-time sufferer of anxiety may be too afraid to leave their house, afraid to drive, avoid contact with others, or have difficulty socializing. All these causes of distress and hostility are related to fear.
Fear is the emotion that pushes us away from a situation that we find scary, whether it's on the street or in our own home. It causes us to be defensive, withdraw, avoid contact, or act defensively when we're around a person who is threatening us.
There are many types of fear. Not all fear is valid, but the five types we're most familiar with are: physiological fear, social fear, survival fears, phobias, and OCD. When we look at the causes of distress and hostility in different people, we see they can be categorized by fear.
Physiological fear is a physiological response that creates a heightened sense of awareness. This type of fear is not valid. It does not cause us distress. Physical pain is not physical fear. This type of fear is common in people who don't believe they're going to die in a plane crash, or who think they're going to have an amputation, or who worry about going into space.
Social fear occurs when we're afraid to be alone with other people. A person who has a phobia about losing their hair is afraid of strangers and even loved ones seeing them without their hair. This fear often leads to isolation and withdrawal.
Survival fear is a feeling of being overwhelmed or threatened that interferes with daily life. Someone who is afraid of their heart attack is living in fear, not taking action. This fear doesn't lead to hostility or distress. Unfortunately, it also can lead to heart attack. It's no wonder that many people seek medical help when they're in cardiac arrest.
An extremely afraid person with asthma may not have a phobia of airplanes, but he fears walking through an airport because of an incident involving a flight in which he was aboard. These fears cause us to withdraw.
Obsessions are worries that are troubling or unnerving to the person. For example, a person with a fear of public speaking might worry that he'll get nervous, or that his speech will falter. To be diagnosed with OCD, it must be a persistent and excessive worry. Another example is the fear of dying.
All people have fears. Everyone who's had anxiety in their life, or is in the midst of one, has suffered from fear. People with a fear of spiders, or a fear of heights, or the fear of being left alone are most likely victims of anxiety. They are unable to accept and cope with fear.
All fears are normal in their eyes; they can't wait to dismiss it as something that's going to go away when it's time to move on with their lives. As soon as that worry crosses their mind, they immediately react, withdraw, and become hostile. They're overcome by fear. It's like the nervous system telling them, "Don't do this, you'll lose control."
Treatment is always available for those who wish to deal with their fears. The goal is to relieve fear, not to defeat it. In order to conquer the fear, there must be an internal dialogue that tells the brain, "I am secure". That's how you get rid of it.