Quitting the Fear Factory, Part 2

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Remember Part 1 of Quitting The Fear Factory?  Click on the link to refresh your thinking – or enjoy it for the first time.

This is another dose!

In these traumatic days, when uncertainty needs to become a friend rather than an enemy, understanding HOW fear works might be useful, so here is part 2, in which we consider HOW those deep paralysing fears might get locked in.

Your Fear Factory is believed to be located in your amagdala, a part of your brain that operates the Fight Flight, Freeze and Faint (4F!)  mechanism of your life. It is a very powerful – and pretty crude – system that often misbehaves, causing you to fight, run away (or avoid in some other way) freeze up, and even faint, when you feel threatened deep within you. Like most things, its’s great to have it on your side and terrible to have it controlling you.

All of us experience fear (thank goodness, as it keeps us safe most of the time) but sometimes for most people, and constantly for some people, it works overtime, producing far more fear than you need. The secret is to control production in the factory.

Fear can be a very nasty invasive slave master, bringing a reign of tyranny into the life of anyone who submits to it.  Many people learn the power of fear at a very early age, perhaps by experiencing overwhelming fear, particularly in the early years (1-10), or living with a fearful person, or perhaps through some sort of traumatic experience. The owner of YOUR  fear factory is actually YOU, but if you don’t keep control of what goes on there, and allow it to run out of control, like a badly run explosives factory it may blow up in your face, – or terrify those who live near it. Before long the factory manager will turn against you and threaten you. It happens.

You may of course find yourself working in someone else’s fear factory, threatened by them.  Again, see Part 1.


The Fear Factory needs to keep its employees from rational THINKING, paralysing them with an overload of fear. ANY fear will do. It can grow into a monster. Usually that happens by piling in every possible reason to fear and multiplying it.  It has the effect of cramming dozens of people in a lift so tightly that no one can reach the UP, DOWN, or more importantly, the OPEN DOOR button.  When I’m working with clients to break the Fear Factory’s power over them, I don’t even TRY to get into the lift. I press the Open Door button on the outside, and everything tumbles out.

Reasons people give in to fear:

  • I do not want to wake a sleeping dog
  • I have experienced significant pain for not conforming to fear regimes. I can’t go through that again.
  • I do not believe I have the capacity to win or even succeed.
  • I have learnt that pain comes from resistance.
  • This is justice – I deserve it.
  • I want to be the same as everyone else.
  • Any alternative is worse.
  • I’m reasonably successful here – carved a comfortable niche.
  • I like the people – they are weak like me.
  • It’s not possible to escape.
  • I don’t have to think.
  • This is my (fatalistic) lot in life.
  • I don’t have any choice.
  • People have tried to escape before and failed.
  • My parents would be offended if I left.
  • All my friends/supporters are here.
  • It gives me the basics.
  • I don’t have the energy/motivation to get out.
  • I’ve got some status here.

There is absolutely no need to live in tyranny any longer. There is a way out.  Call the Powerchange office on 01903 744399, or visit the www.powerchange.com website. We’ll press the right button.

As a professional psychological coach, I suspect that fears like this are a result of a communication problem in the brain, with lots of sensory input INTO the amygdala (dentritic activity), and not much OUT into the neocortex to be properly and rationally considered (axonic and synaptic activity), but I’ll leave the official neuro-scientists to check that out.  If it proves to be a right hypothesis, remember you read it here first!

0 thoughts on “Quitting the Fear Factory, Part 2”

  1. Another superb exegesis on the origins of fear – with the added advantage of a neuro-scientific context in which to understand it. I hope that the academics and scientists respond to the challenge and substantiate the work here. It could make a fundamental difference to a frightened society right now..

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