Fear of Abandonment
Toxic fear is a widespread reality and is a chronic condition that fills you with constant negativity, and, as Peg Hanafin writes in her book, Thoughts for your Journey, it is destructive and paralysing. Moreover, it is bad for your heart and blood pressure. Frequent fear pumps the steroid hormone, cortisol, through your system and damages your health. We need cortisol for our wellbeing, but it becomes harmful when released frequently. Interestingly, facial expressions of fear on your face is a good indicator of cortisol and blood pressure elevation. When Jennifer Lerner (Harvard Kennedy School of Government) was conducting her study of facial expression of fear, anyone taking heart medicine was excluded. The facial expression of fear is shown by raised upper eyelids, brows drawn together, the lips stretched and widened eyes. The widened eyes take in details more rapidly, enabling the brain to assess any danger that might exist. You may like to read Allan Schore on infant facial expressions and the development of the brain.
As you know, the brain is immensely complex, but did you know that it consists of three brains all interacting, the reptilian brain, the mammalian brain and the cortex, which is the upper part of the brain and is what makes us human? Sometimes we mistakenly refer to the latter as grey matter. In 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory discovered a new neural circuit that directly links the key site of fear memory, the amygdala, to the brain stem (reptilian brain). The amygdala is almond shaped mass of grey matter located inside both of the two brain hemispheres.
Technically, fear has been described by Julia Layton as a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful event and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, resembling in some ways a panic attack. This reaction is known as the fight or flight response. Normal fear is an emotion aroused by danger and is an evolutionary survival response. It is present in humans and research shows that animals, too, have specific, emotional, responses, including fear. A dog, for example, exhibits fear in specific ways by drooling, trembling, losing control of its bladder, cowering, or tucking its tail between its legs. The hair on its back bristles when it is fearful and it often becomes aggressive. If not aggressive, it stands with its head lower than its back and avoids eye contact.
Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
Therapists in Tipperary
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Death of a child