Let go of fear & live free: checklists & self-assessment

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Text comes from: Endlich Angstfrei: Begegne deinem inneren Kind und besiege deine Angst (2017) by Marie-France & Emmanuel Ballet de Coquereaumont, published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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How can you overcome fear and dread that many face daily in the light of media reports and the uncertainties of life?

Let go of fear & live free: checklists & self-assessment

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Marie-France & Emmanuel Ballet de Coquereaumont Marie-France & Emmanuel Ballet de Coquereaumont

Marie-France and Emmanuel Ballet de Coquereaumont are psychotherapists.


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Put fear into words

The first step in overcoming fear, anxiety, or stress is to determine the nature of these reactions. Before researching the causes, it is important to put the experience of fear into words. Man is a linguistic being. Sensations, emotions, thoughts and words structure this language. Fear is also a central affect, a biological mechanism that unfolds in the body to transform itself into multi-layered components.

Psychiatrist and co-founder of Gestalt therapy Fritz Perls said: "There is only a deep breath between fear and arousal." Any fear can be turned into a wish, a movement, and an opportunity for fulfillment if you breathe fully through it. Fear is not an enemy. Life without fear shows a way to tame this strange ally, the fear. However, you should self-assess your fears and take stock of your relationship with your inner child.

Recognize your own fears - some meaningful experience reports

In the following you will find some typical fear situations and descriptions of real people:

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Karine: »In the morning I wake up with fear in my stomach. I curl up in my bed and can't get up. I have a nausea. I'm used to it. Sometimes I even say to myself that I love this state. «

Patrick: »In certain professional situations I want to run away, run far away and scream. I don't understand why. When I let myself go, I collapse. My hands are shaking. And then I become the cold and distant professional in dealing with my colleagues. It's the only way I've found to catch myself. ”

Géraldine: »I ponder too much. I imagine hair-raising scenarios: that I get bad news, lose a loved one or a valuable item, or that I am faced with an unpredictable reaction from my counterpart… ”

Florence: »I always feel the same inability. I keep repeating to myself that I will not be able to do this or that! This fear haunts me the most. "Alain:" I often have a lump in my throat. It tightens my throat like a vise, sometimes down to my stomach. My emotions are blocked. I'm sad or angry without really knowing why, but nothing comes off. «

The different faces of fear

Fear manifests itself in very different ways: • There is diffuse and strong unfounded fear. It generally acts as a fear of "something" that could happen, and is expressed in intense tension. Often it cannot even be named. The victim has the impression of being directly threatened with death. The sensation factor predominates here (feeling of trepidation and tightness in the body). Such an anxiety attack consists of several symptoms that replace each other in a short time (about ten minutes).

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Anxiety is an anticipated fear: "It is experienced in connection with anticipation, foreboding or an approaching danger." It is a preliminary stage of diffuse fear. It can be chronic in the form of permanent restlessness and be accompanied by a strong physiological component. Phobia is a fear triggered by a precise object or a specific situation, which is directly connected with a supposed danger. The psychological and behavioral components are very present. Stress, once persistent, is a disturbing fear. Here the psychological and sensitive characteristics are pronounced. Stress is the result of distorted perceptions and assessments of a situation.

Subliminal fears: 5 types

Subliminal fears * are very numerous. They hide behind diffuse fear, worry, phobia and stress. Because they remain hidden, they paralyze a large part of the creative life energy. Below is a typology of subliminal fears:

  1. Blocking fears like fear of losing control
  2. Fears of adaptation like the fear of making a fool of yourself.
  3. Childhood fears like the fear of the dark
  4. Relationship fears like the fear of being rejected.
  5. Basic fears like separation anxiety

In contrast to healthy fears that are related to survival and caution, subliminal fears are phantasmatic. The automatic, unconscious brain Latest research has shown that the brain works 100% of its capacity day and night, from birth to death. What's even more incredible: only 1 percent of this brain activity takes place consciously! This conscious activity is designed for cognitive and motor skills (thinking, seeing, feeling, remembering, moving, deciding, acting ...).

With the remaining 99 percent energy, "unconscious brain activity consolidates, reinforces, confirms, corrects or reforms the neural networks". Everyone has a vision of themselves and the world that is completely filtered and interpreted by an unconscious brain activity. Working on subliminal fears gives you the opportunity to rethink your beliefs, change your perceptions, and act differently. Your brain is neuroplastic. Without you knowing it, it is the seat of constant change. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to appease your fears.

Discover the inner child

How did the concept of the inner child come about? In 1990 we created the French group Cœur d'enfant (in German: Kinderherz) to accompany everyone in getting back in touch with their inner child. At that time, this approach was mostly met with a lack of understanding. Most people thought the child's thought was silly or, worse, infantile and regressive. Today, the importance and effectiveness of this psychotherapeutic approach are validated by neuroscientific work. Certain neural networks of the human brain function emotionally, intuitively, symbolically, inventively and detached from time and space.

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The metaphor of the inner child * mobilizes them and helps to reintegrate numerous features of the lost potential from childhood. The concept of the inner child is based on the work of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung on the "divine child". This guiding principle of the collective unconscious symbolizes the promise that the self * will be fulfilled. Jung assured that the small child in a person was the source of grace. His successor, the Italian neuropsychiatrist Roberto Assagioli in the principles of psychosynthesis, recalled that the inner child is the heart of the ego. In the 1960s and 1970s, the term developed in the United States.

The importance of transaction analysis

With the transactional analysis, the American psychiatrist Eric Berne established a theory of personality and communication based on the three "I states": adult I, parent I and child I. In 1979 the Swiss doctor Alice Miller, doctor of psychology, took over with her fundamental work The Drama of the Gifted Child to defend what she experienced as a child. In all of her works, she developed important theories to take account of the injured inner child. In the 1980s, the work of the American psychotherapists Hal and Sidra Stone about the sub-personalities brought the inner child closer to the general public.

In 1990, the famous American psychologist John Bradshaw became one of the fathers of the concept of the inner child. His work on the family, the harmful effects of shame and the different ages of the inner child are fundamental. Today, in our research and practice, we clearly differentiate the adapted child * from the inner child. This distinction makes the mental healing process much more efficient.

What is the relationship with your inner child like?

The adapted child is a false self * that infects the adult. The creative inner child invites everyone to live out their natural qualities such as creativity, love, spontaneity, joy, freedom, play, free expression of emotions etc. The injured inner child is the small, fragile and frightened being who lives in exile in the heart of every human being. It warns adults to become empathetic and compassionate towards him. Most subliminal fears belong to the adapted child, which takes up too much space and suppresses the inner child.

Take stock of the relationship with your inner child. Answer the following statements spontaneously with yes or no. Do not hesitate, but choose the answer that comes first:

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  • I feel fear or fear of something new.
  • I try to please others.
  • I regularly have conflicts with other people.
  • I avoid conflicts - as best I can.
  • I keep everything and don't throw anything away at home.
  • I am a fanatic of order and cleanliness.
  • I rarely feel up to the challenge.

The components of fear: self-assessment

The following self-assessment will help you identify the main components of your fears. Based on the selected symptoms listed below, you can define one or more components of your anxiety. Check the symptoms you know about yourself and then assess their strength: weak, medium or strong.

Physiological component

weak - medium - strong I feel physically:

  • laced throat
  • wet hands
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • hot flashes
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • Muscle tension
  • dry mouth
  • abdominal discomfort
  • exhaustion
  • Chills
  • giddiness
  • Tremble
  • Other:

Feeling component

weak - medium - strong. I feel:

  • dizziness
  • Instability
  • impatience
  • Eile
  • Fainting
  • Trepidation
  • unreality
  • Loss of personality
  • Emptiness in the head
  • loss of control
  • Getting crazy
  • Others: …

Behavioral component

weak - medium - strong My behavior is as follows:

  • I avoid the person, the object or the situation
  • I am unable to speak (or only with great difficulty)
  • I cry or flinch without being able to control it
  • I am aggressive in words and / or actions
  • I postpone it until the next day (procrastination)
  • I move a lot (hands, arms, legs, body movements)
  • I cannot move (or only with great difficulty)
  • I collect a lot and stuff my living space
  • I am crushed or stunned
  • I am scared
  • I'm panicking
  • I am irritable
  • Others: …

Physiological component

weak - medium - strong I have recurring thoughts and feelings

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  • I am ashamed
  • I'm shy
  • I imagine troubling situations
  • I imagine my reactions to a person or situation
  • I always focus my fear on the same object, the same situation, the same thing
  • I'm waiting for the others' permission or approval
  • I have manias or there are objects that I cannot separate from
  • I have self-doubt
  • I feel like a zero, incapable or incompetent
  • It's hard for me to choose
  • Others: …

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