Fear of the authorities

By Oana Lis, Psychologist

Yes, there is such a thing!

But first, let’s start with the basics, what is fear!?

The psychological definition of fear tells us that fear is a normal response of the body to immediate physical or emotional danger.

So fear is basically a fundamental emotion and helps us mobilize in the face of danger, having played a very important role for centuries in our safety and survival as a species.

However, fear can turn into phobia when we talk about an irrational fear, which cannot be controlled and can appear in a situation where we are not in real danger.

Anxiety and fear can feel the same and be confused because both fear and anxiety produce a similar response in the body to a stressful situation with a real or perceived threat.

*Fear makes the things you afraid come true.* (Viktor Frankl)

Symptoms of fear involve both physical and emotional symptoms, some of which are as follows:
– fast heartbeats;
– breathing difficulties;
– difficulty swallowing, feeling of a lump in the throat;
– nausea;
– perspiration;
– trembling in the body, of the hands, excessive sweating of the hands;
– upset stomach and more.

*Fear makes the wolf bigger than it is.* (German proverb)

There are natural fears that we are born with. And there are conditioned fears, because we are taught in the family, in society to be afraid of some things that we are told by others, since we are small, that they are negative things.

Or we fear the things we don’t understand.

*Birds that were born in a cage are especially afraid of the sky.* (Rabindranath Tagore)

*I believe that God is the true name and the true source of the collective unconscious and therefore is the supreme moral authority in the universe.* (Stephen Covey)

It is quite possible to fear a thing even if we have not interacted with it, just because we have picked up certain beliefs about it from others. This kind of fear is the fear of authorities; this is how it can start.

Especially if we were taught from a young age to fear parents, teachers, religion, the boss at work and everything that can mean authority.

*Fear begets fear.* (Queen Anne)

*To me, the worst thing in a school seems to be mainly the application of methods based on fear, force and artificial authority. Such treatment destroys the student’s genuine feelings, sincerity and confidence.* (Albert Einstein)

Most people who fear authority feel like a child in front of a parent. Because fear is something we feel frequently, since childhood.

Fear, anxiety, doubt, worry, fear, panic are all derived and connected to each other.

Some parents use parenting strategies that do not allow the child to have their own voice and independent sense of self. And he grows in fear. If our parents raised us in an authoritarian way, we learn to fear authority. We fear punishment like children, and we do not have the courage to be small ourselves. Of course, many parents choose such an authoritarian style due to the environment, culture, nationality in which they themselves were born and raised. It is important to understand this mechanism, to know where the fear of authority comes from in those who have it. Of course we have to learn some rules from the family about what is good and what is bad in life, we have to set some limits, but they have to be healthy and not exaggerated.

Otherwise, we can end up feeling that any person invested with a certain control that can be exercised over us blocks our reaction, development, creativity, or we become restless or reactive, not knowing how to manage a conflict that may arise in a healthy and correct way.

Just because we haven’t learned how to manage such situations in a healthy way in our family, it can lead us to feel the need to argue with the boss, to feel the need to rebel when it’s not appropriate. It is important to learn to manage such sensations and life situations.

For if we feel in conflict with the people invested with authority, we come to fear their evaluations and any criticism that may come from this direction, and not distinguish when it is constructive criticism or not, because we have not properly learned to we distinguish what is good and what is not for us.

If you somehow feel that you cannot manage your feelings and reactions, you can seek the help of a therapist; you will feel the long-term benefits of this mature decision.

*Courage is resistance to fear, the art of mastering fear, and not the absence of fear. *(Mark Twain)

We must learn to take into account first our needs and of course also those around us, there must be a balance between the two. As John Stuart Mill said – *Your freedom ends where another’s freedom begins.*

Persoana care are stilul de a respinge autoritatea poate juca unul din cele două roluri  în relația cu autoritatea, fie poate deveni agresor (atunci când chiar el poate deține autoritatea), fie poate avea mentalitate de victimă, este o personalitate submisivă, fără puterea de a avea păreri și dorințe proprii(și de obicei se află într-o poziție de subordonare față de autoritate) . Modelul acesta poate fi întâlnit și în anumite familii, unde cel care deține mai mulți bani în relație își însușește și puterea și autoritatea în relații cu ceilalți.  

*Dragostea este ceva cu care ne naștem, frica o învățăm după aceea.*(Marianne Williamson)

*Too many of us don’t live our dreams because we live our fears.*(Les Brown)

This topic is a vast and complex one and everyone needs to do their own personal analysis and know themselves and this phenomenon in order to make better personal decisions and raise the quality of our everyday life.

I wish you all the best,
Psychologist Oana Lis.

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