Fear comes in many forms. It has the capacity to cause dread, anxiety and nervousness. Fear is one of the most powerful tools that exists to facilitate control over somebody. Think back to when you were a small child and the things that frightened you. Many of them have a universal applicability. How many times did you cry out to your mother and father in the night because you were frightened of the “monsters under the bed” and you were terrified that once the bedroom door was closed that something would come creeping out of the wardrobe and induce utter fear throughout you?
Perhaps it was the strange shapes that formed once the light was turned off with only moonlight streaming through the crack in the curtains so that the shadow thrown across the room appeared like some old crone waiting to come and take you away and eat you. How many times were you warned as a child never to speak to strangers, never to get into a car with somebody you did not know and never to accept sweets from a stranger?
Do you recall how this conjured up images of smelly old men in stained raincoats who waited to abduct you and spirit you away to be locked up who knows where? Perhaps there was that house on your walk back from school which had attracted a certain reputation. It was run-down, the garden overgrown, with bushes spilling onto the path, the windows grimy and paint peeling. You were never sure whether anybody actually lived there. Some said that a witch resided there and she waited for children passing on their own before grabbing them and stuffing them in her cellar to starve to death. Others told tales on stormy afternoons which made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, about the spirits that haunted the old house.
A friend would swear that he had walked past, one wet and windy evening, just as it was going dark and he saw the face of a ghostly child staring at him from an upstairs window, the child’s spectral hands knocking against the window as if requesting help. After hearing that tale you took a different route home from school so you did not have to pass this particular house anymore. If that was not possible, you would run past, head down, shouting at the top of your voice to drown out any strange sounds that might come from the trapped ghost child, as you dared not even look towards the house. Fear often stalked your childhood and resulted in sleepless nights, nightmares and a reluctance to go to bed.
Do you remember being sent to bed and staring up the stairs towards the darkness wondering what was waiting for you? How you did not want to appear scared in front of your parents (especially since they had let you stay up a while longer because you were a “big boy/girl” now). You wanted to hand those words back as you hovered at the base of the stairs, the hallway colder than the living room from which you had ventured. How many times did the noise of the house settling, resulting in strange groans and creaks convince you that somebody was waiting out of sight in a doorway, their heavy booted foot resting on the squeaky floorboard, rusty axe clutched in greasy, long-nailed fingers?
Did the sight of a clown have you running to hide in the folds of your mother’s dress, that strange leering and accentuated mouth creating panic in your tiny mind? What did that eerie clown have in mind for you?
It might have been a reluctance to paddle barefooted in the sea or a river because you could not see where you were putting your feet. You felt something brush your foot, most likely seaweed, but in your mind some razor-toothed fish was about to take a bite from your ankle or a crab was about to affix a pincer to your big toe. You turned and ran hollering from the edge of the sea back to the safety of the sandy beach.
There may have been a murderer’s alleyway in your town, a badly-lit passageway between two roads which was a convenient and easy short cut during the day but a night the purported preserve of lurking knife merchants and yellow-toothed stranglers who were just waiting to pounce and take your life. You stood staring down the alleyway trying to drive the rising fear from you but it just would not go and instead you opted to walk the long way around. It took twenty extra minutes but at least you got home safely.
Fear continued to stalk your life as you grew older. You might not be worried about the bogeyman anymore but he has shapeshifted into the fear that comes with finding a lump about your body and not knowing what it is. Uncertainty about the business for whom you work has you tossing and turning at night. Wondering where the next pay check will come from has you similarly fearing for the future. Walking alone along a road at night and hearing footsteps behind you still causes your heart rate to increase.
A glance over your shoulder as you cross the road to the over pavement only serves to heighten your worry as a hooded figure also crosses the road. Your step quickens as your fear increases and your mind floods with images of robbery, rape or murder. When alone in the house at night the sound of a bang from downstairs has you sat bolt upright in bed. What was that noise? Did you dream it? Was it somebody breaking in? Was it something not of this world, a poltergeist perhaps hurling a book against a wall. You cannot see what caused the noise and immediately the fear forms in the pit of your stomach, your racing mind conjuring up a score of unpleasant scenarios as you debate creeping to the top of the stairs and peering down to see if you can ascertain what it was.
Fear takes hold of you and makes your reasoning faulty. It tightens around your throat stopping you from calling out and turns your legs into stone so you are figuratively petrified and unable to escape that unseen tormentor. Fear withers you, paralyses you and you will do anything at all to escape that sensation of fear. It is pervasive, damaging and controlling.
Your greatest fears always stem from the unknown. It is that which you cannot see which causes you the greatest terror. When you cannot see something you are plunged into fear, its icy grip takes hold and you crumble.
The unknown and the unseen create the fear.
That is why we are so devastatingly effective in our control of you. That is why we create such numbing fear in you.
Learn more about the effects of fear
10 thoughts on “The Fear”
I was horribly fearful as a child. We lived in a house opposite a graveyard which wasn’t particularly helpful. I’ve seen all sorts, imagined all sorts I suppose. Faces on the wall, I’ve floated downstairs more times than I care to remember, that’s a weird feeling, toes just brushing the stairs, the feeling of the cool air on your cheek. I used to sit in the doorway of my parents room as they slept, too scared to go back to my room. Went on for years.
Totally the opposite now. Walk the dog late at night. Ive lived in old rambling houses at the end of unlit bridleways, coming in from work at night. Not the slightest inkling of fear. Too much the other way probably. The only weird fear thing is nightmares. My nightmares should really have me committed. I did get them more when I was in contact with the narc too. Disrupted sleep and irregular sleep patterns probably. Narcissists must need less sleep overall. For him to keep me awake he had to be awake too. They just mustn’t need as much sleep.
The narcissist sleep thing is interesting. The summer narc only slept a couple of hours, once or twice a day. Sometimes I wondered if there was more than one person interacting with me. And after that ended, catching up on my sleep was a beautiful thing!
I recall being ‘freaked out’ when I realised I was living next to a grave-yard when I was in Housing Association flat – I had accepted it because I needed somewhere to live. I had no weirdness living there. Only fkg drug addicts & drunks & loud music. Wrong placing for me but I survived it after 8 years. Bloody hell. 3 of the neighbours “competing for control” over the music – who could play it the loudest & 24 / 7. FFS.
You saying about narcissists & sleep. To a certain degree, I agree. Yet, I am the same. Not always. I think it is a mindset of a person. The brain wiring. The anxiety levels. The characteristics. The neurological “conditions” of an individual.
I had nightmares as a child – in my view, it’s based on what you experienced as a child – subconscious memories. I no longer have them and they stopped during my mid 30s. It is around the same time I was no longer ‘influenced’ by muvver. One that ‘plagued’ my dreams was a hoover tube that had teeth at the end of the tube and would go for my face as the nightmare ended (it used to ‘engulf’ me from god know what age – very young though). Apparently, my parents (or someone in the family) had a Jack Russell that attacked me and bit me on the nose when I was in my cot……) – they had got rid of the dog….. so, a baby can recall something violent….. the subconscious mind…….
So, let’s take that as an example, to an insight to the mind of a narcissist and their memories….. their experiences, their difficulties to understand their perspective of what happened to them to start off their narcissism……. in my view, it is a long shot, yet, it is one way of my understanding narcissists as ‘people’……
You crack me up!
I’ve been lucky with neighbours on the whole. I did have one set a few years ago that were horrible, our other neighbours hated them too. They were just so noisy and inconsiderate. Worse in Summer. Their kids would scream and shout all day so if you were in the garden, it’s all you heard. I was nice, asked if they could keep the noise down a bit, I have kids, kids will play and be noisy but I found it excessive. She was horrible, denied they were noisy at all etc, was just plain rude. So, after a few more weeks of it I decided to illustrate how noise carries. I made a play list with nothing on it but the Beverley Hillbillies theme tune over and over. (I called them the Clampetts). I took a speaker outside, put my phone in the kitchen and left it to play while I went out for a few hours. They weren’t as bad after that, not great, but not as bad.
Only you could dream up a hoover tube with teeth! I have a stress dream, the exam room classic. That signals I’m stressed even if I don’t consciously register stress. My nightmares are to do with guilt I think. Very horror film entity esque. Dark forces pulling me up to the ceiling as I enter a room. Sometimes I get out before it happens but just as I do I realise I left someone behind. Then I’ll get pulled up again, floating on the ceiling, terrified of what has hold of me. It scares me more because I feel like I am turning bad. Or, I’ll be pulled upwards into open sky and think ‘Ok well at least I’m going up not down,’ ( heaven not hell) then I’ll stop, tip so that I’m floating on my back and get pulled down backwards. I’ve felt my shoulders pulled along the ground as I go into the earth. Dark stuff. Guilt about something somewhere along the line I think. Had them off and on all through adulthood. Waking nightmares occasionally. I can see my room but the dream overlays over the top. Awake but not able to move. Yep. Pretty much need committing I think ha ha. Give me the hoover with teeth !
I agree with you. Events from childhood or adolescence can haunt us going forward. Narcissists had an horrific start to life in many cases. Whilst I can’t condone or sacrifice myself to narcissism, I will always try to understand and accept.
TS, laughing so much at your repeating Beverley Hillbilles….. laughing. And taking the speaker outside. LOLOL. Even worse, going out for a few hours. LOLOL. Well done lass. That is exactly how you do it.
You have reminded me of when my sister & I were young teens – we were left at home all day while mother was at work during school summer holidays – the neighbours kids would scream & shout all day so we got out our cassette player with the extension lead through the open window – blasting that to drown the racket from next door. Hahaha. We were kids, not adults – that’s the difference in our tales, TS 😉
Laughing…. “Only you could dream up a hoover tube with teeth!” = 6th Sphere of influence.
Yes, agree with you – about understanding / accepting. Thank you for the laugh – hillbilles LOL.
Ha ha, “We were kids not adults.” Good point. well made! 😂
Fun thread you two.
The hoover tube with teeth was the real high point for me! Ha ha x
TS, the Hillbillies (about your neighbours) was my highlight of this – laughing again now.