Most often our fears, phobias, and anxiety are actually habit patterns that have gone awry. Did you know that there are only two inborn fears, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises (being startled) all other fears are learned.
Our subconscious was meant to become active only during times of real danger. But as children develop, threats to what they believed were really dangerous, change.
All early learning is based upon the process of association and identification” especially when we are young. As children we are like behavioral sponges, associating and identifying all our learning experiences which are then programed into our subconscious mind, which is like an internal computer and here is where our learned “fears reside.”
This is because a child’s mind doesn’t have the full capacity to truly judge or analyze a situation. A child’s mind can create irrational fears, which can leave negative imprints in the brain. As an adult you may still be responding to those old forgotten memories because subsequent events that remind the subconscious of the original event can now trigger the anxious feelings even though you know nothing fearful happened when you were younger. It’s actually the illogical side of your mind still reacting to the past event when something that wasn’t actually dangerous still feels that way to you today!
Often this learning occurs through parents’ verbal and nonverbal cues to their children. Kids may start to become apprehensive about dogs if their parents start telling them to avoid a park because dogs will be present, or if a parent behaves anxiously around dogs. Many parents may not even realize that they are unwittingly passing down their fears and anxieties — whether it’s a fear of something tangible ( dogs, heights, driving) or anxiety over something less concrete (money, social skills, etc.
Fears of driving can be generated the same way we learn the alphabet, except it is through different types of negative repetition which can become negative suggestions in the mind. For example, when we were young and impressionable and heard something similar to your mom repeating how she hates to drive because it’s so scary driving near big tractor trailer trucks. Or you heard one parent criticizing another for driving too fast, because they “could get into an accident.” The suggestion may just be related to cars or driving as you’ll read about below.
A client of mine had terrible anxiety attacks every time he tried to drive to Boston. He could drive anywhere else, but not Boston, and he didn’t understand why this was so. During a hypnosis session with me he came to recall a time that he and his friends took his parents car to see a basketball game when they were out of town, (which he was adamantly told not to do). After the game he couldn’t find his car. The extreme fear he felt not getting home before his parents found out he took the car, overwhelmed him. At some point the boys found the car, and he got home before his parents. But ever since that day, his subconscious gave him panic attacks whenever he tried to drive to Boston. That’s because his subconscious mind began to learn to associate driving to Boston with the danger of being punished and the guilt he felt of going against what he promised his father. For 10 years he couldn’t drive to Boston but after a couple of hypnosis sessions, he was able to free himself from this fear. Today he drives to Boston and back without any fears of driving on the highway.
Fears may be generated by what another person says because, at the time we were emotionally vulnerable. And it doesn’t matter much if it’s not true or a logical. But seems true because you are highly suggestible at the time, meaning the idea it is carried out uncritically, automatically, and accepted as truth even though it isn’t a fact. But the subconscious views, the feelings and events as if they are happening now even though many years have passed. These events were ‘imprinted’ in your subconscious. You or an external somebody or something inadvertently hypnotized yourself to maintain the pattern, habit, emotion, or event. And the emotional side of your mind is still reacting to the past event when something that wasn’t actually dangerous still feels that way to you.
Within hypnosis, we can review the pattern, habit, emotion, or event and neutralize its power. Hypnosis/hypnotherapy can actually speak to that child like mind and explain that all is ok and now you are an adult and no longer have to feel nervous or afraid. If you have a fear of driving come see me so I can help you!