Feelings and physical reactions to fear can begin in the womb. “Oh, don’t be ridiculous,” you might say, but this is truth.
A pregnant mother’s frightening experiences make the body produce larger than normal amounts of adrenaline, nor-Adrenaline and/or Cortisol. These chemicals flow through the umbilical cord to the child in the womb, creating a fear response. Mother’s experiences such as a poor or abusive marriage, abandonment, an accident or whatever creates fear in her, sends the same chemicals to the baby. Repeated incidents of this can impact the Reticular Activating System which collects info from the brain’s sensory organs and creates a set-point for the tension of the baby’s muscles. As life progresses, experiences increase or decrease the set point of tension. It is easy to increase the set point, but not easy to decrease it.
Fears come from:
- Natural inborn, such as loud noises, fear of falling, etc.
- Frightening experiences in the womb (Mother’s ill-health or relationship with father, accidents, etc.
- Mother’s fears transferred to the child.
- Reality – frightening experiences of life (loss, injury, illness, pain, etc.)
- Faulty conclusions – drawn about the world and its relation to us.
- Modeling – of caregiver’s fears
- Thoughts – created from past memories.
- Perceptions – usually subtle associations from past experiences.
- Body sensations – the language of the body telling us that arousal is occurring.
- Loss and Grief – the loss of persons or pets or objects that we treasure.