How blaming the wrong thing can contribute to anxiety and phobias

Because our brains are designed to protect us when we experience a traumatic event, we file our beliefs based on our perception of the event as a reference for the future just in case we find ourselves in similar circumstances.

For example, A car accident can be traumatic for those involved, so the thought process surrounding the incident is “If I get out of this situation, I must avoid things relating to it in the future” As a result, people blame the vehicle and attach their fight or flight response to it.

In future events when you are a passenger, driving or even out walking in the street, this fight or flight response triggers as the belief is “Because of a car, something bad happened” The body will then create an alert in the form of a panic attack when in fact it is actually a ‘Protection Attack‘.

When you look back at the event for what it was and not how it felt, the car acted as a protector and it was in fact the very thing that may have saved your life.

This shows how something innocent can be blamed if unchallenged.

Do you have a spider phobia because your friend threw a spider at you as a child? 

Have you considered that the spider didn’t do anything wrong and in fact was also the victim in this situation? Who was to blame?… It was your friend.

Did you see someone react in fear to something when you were a child? And you’ve always blamed what they were scared of? Was it the water, the neighbour’s dog, thunderstorms, travelling? 

Have you considered that the person that reacted was the one to blame for the fear? It was their fear and not yours.

Many people blame aeroplanes when they have experiences that cause false negative beliefs whilst flying. You may worry if you see someone working on the plane before take-off, if there is a delay or on hearing the word “maintenance” etc. Even when these are common protocols all are carried out by extremely experienced individuals with safety as paramount importance.

Consider that each time, the plane did an amazing job taking you to your destination and back safely! 

Did you ever have a bad experience at the dentist and now you refuse to go to any dentists? Do you blame all dentists?

Consider that there was only one individual to blame for that bad experience and there are so many amazing dentists out there.

It may even be that nothing went wrong in that experience, perhaps what you found painful as a child wouldn’t be remotely uncomfortable to you now as an adult. 

There are so many developments in dental care to make it comfortable and pain-free.

There are so many other procedures that are more painful and are widely sought after such as beauty treatments and body modifications!

This shows how unchallenged beliefs can lead to anxiety. When you look at negative past events, ask yourself what you are blaming? Why do you believe they are to blame?

Now, imagine you are in a courtroom and you are acting as a defence for the thing you are blaming. Highlight the evidence why that transport, those animals/creatures, medical professionals and other things you fear are all entirely innocent and how what you believed as a child, you now see clearly as an adult.

Living with anxiety or a phobia can be extremely challenging, however, you are not alone. Here at Trauma Research UK, our belief is, ‘it’s not what’s wrong with you, it’s what happened to you’. With this philosophy, we believe that everyone can successfully overcome their mental health issues if given the right help and support. Read more…

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