Paralyzed by fear

Why does this happen?

These days when we are yearning to learn about methods and practices in coping and making the best of our days, I am happy to introduce Paula Oleska. Paula and I share some clients, including one to be featured on The Learning Channel (TLC) in the near future. Paula is a lecturer ,author, and teacher in the pioneering discipline of developing intelligence through movement. She is founder and president of Natural Intelligence Systems, Inc. She maintains a private practice in New York City.

Why are some people paralyzed by fear, while others are motivated and push forward?

There are many reasons for that and each specialist will give you a different answer.  I am brain-optimizing expert, so my answer is: disorganized brain.

When people grow up without trauma, they can have a more balance and active approach to life. They may feel more motivated to achieve their goals.

On the other hand, it has been well documented that when individuals are exposed to trauma at an early age, their brains don’t develop in a balanced way. One of the centers that are overactive is called the amygdala, governing fight/flight response. Some people are more polarized toward “fight”. Despite the trauma, this may give them more energy to push forward. The individuals who respond more with ‘flight”, often remain fearful for the rest of their lives. They tend to withdraw, hide and avoid social interaction. I have seen many examples of this behavior among my clients.

A few years ago, I was teaching a workshop on working with emotions. Participants were all grownups who looked well-adjusted and fully functional. I asked them to list all the negative commands they heard about emotions when they were growing up. These commands ranged from “be a good girl” to “don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about” and others. When we had full chart of these commands, I asked my participants to pretend they were carefree children while I read the commands back to them. Within a few seconds, the mood and behavior in the room changed. Some participants withdrew to corners, and stayed there, almost crying. Others became visibly angry, started to shout things back and act out. They all regressed to their childhood trauma!

Of course I stopped after a couple of minutes and we proceeded with activities to heal the trauma. This experience showed me clearly that childhood trauma created permanent conditioning that affects people’s grownup behavior. It also demonstrated that conventional ways of dealing with trauma are not fully successful. Fortunatelly, I have new, more effective ways of helping people like that.

To summarize, the answer to why some people are paralyzed by fear, while others are motivated and push forward has to do with how people grow up and how their early conditioning shapes their brains.

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