man with his head in the sand


Fear is one of the big five negative emotions. Let’s share a few interesting little facts that you may or may not know.

Fear is one of the big five negative emotions and in my view the biggest one in terms of the number of people affected by it. Let’s share a few interesting little facts that you may or may not know. Let’s start with a group that makes me laugh—I probably shouldn’t laugh, but…

Gym Bunnies

These are the lads that like to go down to the gym and pump up their muscles. You might think they’re just really keen on being fit, but actually, having worked with a few of them, I would say the dominant driver is fear. It is the fear of being inadequate. That fear causes these men to put on the mask. I’m sure Sigmund Freud would have some things to say about that, but essentially the muscles are a mask and that mask covers up fear. Men cannot be seen to be fearful socially, so they put the mask on.

Of course, there are emotionally healthy people that use the gym too, but they tend not to spend so much time looking in the mirror or stroking their muscles.

I would say someone who is over-muscled probably isn’t as stable as they look. I would seek to understand how stable they are, to find out if they are driven by their own insecurities. That’s not saying all people are like that, but a significant number are and knowing people who work in that sector, there’s a lot of boys in men’s bodies.  These people are not healthy for society. So we need to help heal these young men, to help them become fully resolved. That way they can play a more positive role in society, rather than becoming narcissists looking in the mirror and pumping themselves up on a daily basis.


Another strange group for fear is therapists. I remember in my training, I’m going back 10 years now, I did more than 400 hours of training to get qualified. I met people on that training who told me about all the amazing things they did and I was actually quite in awe of what they were telling me. Then the next day they would have disappeared. I’d be asking what happened to so-and-so oh… you know they had to go home. This happened numerous times during the training modules as we were going through the levels of qualifications. I came to understand that a lot of these trainees were therapists of one kind or another and despite their professed desire to help others, what they really needed was to help themselves. The trouble was that most of them were scared of getting it and they were too scared to deal with their own challenges.

The learning from this is that, yes, there are some brilliant therapists out there, there’s no doubt about that, but the majority are not so good – like in any profession. It really pays you to seek out the right person, by reputation. Remember the risk of being treated by someone with more emotional problems than you have is that you will end up with the same problems that they have if you’re not careful. The last thing you need is to take on their imprints, to model their behaviour, or to take their counterproductive advice. It’s really important that you find all this out. If you’ve got a fearful therapist then this is probably not the right person for you.

Anger is a mask

Quite often men get angry as a mask of fear. Quite a few men get angry through road rage and other stuff. Most of this is driven by a fear of inadequacy, a bit like the Gym Bunnies. If those men were to ask themselves if this is something really worth getting angry about, most rational people would say well no of course it isn’t. That rage comes from this feeling of powerlessness and inadequacy and the more troubles we have in society economically, the more difficult things are, then the more you’re going to see inadequacy coming out as people become angry at their own feeling of powerlessness.

Economically they can’t fulfil the role that they perceive that they should and so that causes them to be fearful. They might be fearful of job loss, fearful of not bringing home enough money for the family, and of course that starts to make people angry. So that’s really a role for governments to get to the bottom of and help people provide for themselves and their families. We’d then see less of those dysfunctional people in society.

Politics and Advertising

If you look at newspaper headlines you could be forgiven for thinking that any minute now the world will come to an end. The whole covid19 situation with daily death counts and everything else. I hope you’re not watching all that stuff because that really is very negative programming.

We have a lovely combination of depression and anxiety running through society from people being locked up and being bombarded with negative information on a daily basis, and not being able to mingle with other people. Friends provide a very useful psychological function in this context, they provide a sense of perspective. When you meet friends for a drink or a cup of coffee, you can talk about some of the things that are bothering you and maybe have a laugh about it and realize it’s not so bad after all. This is really important for your well-being.

That moderating influence has largely gone with lockdown, so do stay in touch with friends and family by zoom or skype or phone and share your feelings. Have a laugh about some of the things that you feel, and pop the balloon. It’s really important that you don’t feel inappropriate negative emotions, and particularly fear. Fear just holds you back from doing what you want to do and it doesn’t serve any useful purpose for you.

Those are just a few examples of who is affected by fear.

For more information on how I can help you work through your fears, get in touch with me.

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