The Soul of… Fear
“Fear cuts deeper than swords.”
― George R.R. Martin
What does the word ‘fear’ conjure up for you when you read, hear, are aware of it?
Does it remind you of your own fear?
What do you fear?
Do you fear?
Fear is one of those experiences that connects us with others, even if our fear is different from theirs.
“The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…”
― Stephen King
Most humans fear something, because fear is a primal force.
It’s also a thinky pain, the fear of all things we can possibly imagine, with the thinking part of us that can turn even the most mundane thing into an irrational horror. So real it seems more real that what is real. The worst is the best creation of our imagination. Isn’t it great to be a creative genius!
It’s also a feely horror, those ghastly murmurings within, the sinking and drowning, ghostly butterflies, haunting fingers, and inner murders that no CSI can solve, because it leaves no traces on the outside, except for some eccentric behaviour.
At its most basic instinct level, and in its most useful form, it informs us and provokes us to act. Act in a way to deal with whatever is causing it, sometimes by confronting it and its source, sometimes by evading it and its source. Fight or flight. Depends on the circumstances.
If you are in the grip of natural fear, it’s all about action. Instincts take over, your body moves, and your mind’s reliance on thinking things through and doing things differently is not an option, unless you’ve trained to override your primal self – like a fireman who has to go into the fire rather than stay away from it.
My clearest memory of a primal fear experience involved an intruder. I suddenly felt something was wrong and reacted without thinking. I have no idea what would have happened if I had had time to think, as it was I scared the crap out of the intruder and they fled – perhaps due to their primal instinct.
“Every instinct that is found in any man is in all men. The strength of the emotion may not be so overpowering, the barriers against possession not so insurmountable, the urge to accomplish the desire less keen. With some, inhibitions and urges may be neutralized by other tendencies. But with every being the primal emotions are there. All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”
― Clarence Darrow
Okay, perhaps there was a bit of training involved, but not of the conventional kind. I chose my own adventure, in a way.
I was very repressed, and suppressed myself a lot, at that time. I had a burning rage within, which wasn’t something I could share in any way, shape or form. Or so I told myself. A huge amount of my energy was used up in holding it back and keeping it from others.
A part of me longed for someone to step over some invisible line so that I could unleash primal hell on them. This person did that… but primal hell was not unleashed. Primal instinct did react, but fairly calmly.
I’m still unsure how I feel about that. Did I miss an opportunity?
Maybe that intruder sensed that they would pay for the crimes of others, for the small opportunistic crime they had decided to commit without knowing the real lay of the land.
One can always fantasise. Be careful when your fantasies meet those of another.
“If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli
I have tried all of my life to be gentle with others, to do no harm or as little as is humanly possible.
However the environment in which I grew up made of my gentle nature a weapon. Against me, against others, and so on. Nurture has a way of turning nature into something else. I fought against this, even though it cut me to the core. I did not want to ever do to others what had been done to me. It hurt too much, why would I want anyone to hurt as much as I did?
It’s a weird question which some people answer in an even weirder manner.
“Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.”
― Chuck Palahniuk
I’ve been observing someone who claims to be a victim of narcissists. They attracted my attention by demanding it, they misrepresented themselves, as is the tendency of the type. I was wary. They were too eager… for something gained by using me and what I represented to them.
My instincts warned me, but I thought them through and dismissed them for a while. This person could be genuine… until they stopped seeming that way due to repeatedly victimising others with their victimhood.
I like to confirm my instincts. Just in case my instincts are wrong.
You learn to mistrust yourself and your certainties in all their guises when you grow up with those who are always certain and often always wrong… and you have gone wrong so many time believing their certainties as being right, and lived to find out just how horribly wrong they are. But also… your certainties have been punished repeatedly for being to close to the cutting edge of the truth.
“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I know that storyline well. I’ve lived it. Been the victim of a victim, and seen myself as the victimiser because… that’s what that particular kind of victim wants others to see.
Everyone but them is a narcissist. Everyone but them is lying, bullying, manipulating, etc. And how well they play the part. Gathering acolytes along the way. Reinforcing their fear, by tapping into the fears of others using theirs. They sell the dream (of the nightmare) in a manner and with a method which fools even the most hardened of hearts. Feel for them!
Oh, they’ve been hurt again, is it because of their heightened sensitivity? Yes, they’re highly sensitive souls… to your breathing, don’t breathe or they will get chafed in delicate areas by it! Why would you hurt them like that, you beast!
They’re always the damsel in distress, whether male or female, beset by dragons – watch out knights in shining armor, you could become a dragon to them in the blink of an eye, and the dragon you were recruited to save them from may suddenly be their best friend, and how dare you try to kill it!
“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
I’d warn others about this person, but… I’ve done that kind of thing before and learned that it’s probably the worst idea I’ve ever had. Fear in one of its other forms come from learning… don’t do it!
People love that kind of person more than they love themselves, perhaps because they love themselves and as they feed this person’s illusions, they feed their own illusions.
Illusions help us to avoid confronting our fears and what they represent – our dark side, our hidden aspects.
Beware of those who are too good (to be true) on the surface, who are always being bothered by bad people (according to them) on the outside. These are people who may seem to be the embodiment of all that you’ve always sought in another person, who seem empathetic, but whose empathy is as shallow as their fears are deep.
If your empathy is deep, you know why people hurt you – because they are hurting. You can feel what motivates them. And it causes all kinds of paradoxes, but it does make sense of nonsense.
“People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
The soul of fear… is in our soul. It is there to help, but it usually feels like a hindrance.
How it helps… We fear, therefore we can understand fear in others. What it makes us do, what it makes them do. How it can rule the world, because we allow it to rule us personally, and others do too… and if we don’t deal with that, others have to deal with us not dealing with it, and we have to deal with others not dealing with it.
How it hinders… It can be very devious and subtle, and often assumes the guise of something which is the antithesis. A caped crusader… crusading against their own darkness which they have projected onto others, while claiming that they are the light, and saviour.
It struck me as kind of interesting, when taking a pic of my thesaurus’ entry for ‘fear’ that ‘fealty’ and ‘fawning’ where the words which came before it.
We often are more loyal to our fears, especially the imagined ones, often passed down to us from others, than to anything else.
Loyal to those who make us fear them.
Finding security in our insecurity.
And fawning to keep those fears appeased and the people who poke, prod and use them… pleased that we ‘respect’ them by ‘disrespecting’ ourselves and others – particularly those others who try to free us from our illusions, delusions, and allegiances to those who are only using our fears to manipulate us.
When someone tries to make us confront stuff like that – oh, how we hate them for it!
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh
A narcissist is a creation of fear. Distorted primal fear is a part of their wound, and becomes something they think and feel about until it is no longer natural but nurtured beyond nature by their magical thinking, the imaginary made real, until they master it in a non-mastering manner. It becomes what they do to others and pass on through the wounds they inflict.
Svengali… svengaling you until you’re the mess that they are, but which they refuse to own – you get to own it for them. They look good next to you, one way or another. Their fear pales in comparison to how fearful you are once they’ve tweaked your own nature with their nurture, and turned your ordinary fears into something extraordinary.