Firstly, let me introduce myself to all those who signed up to the May Monster Madness meme who might stop by, and who have not been here before.
I’m Shah Wharton and I enjoy reading and writing speculative fiction, including darker story elements like monsters. My stories feature all sorts of monsters, from zombies and alien supernaturals, to hybrid freaks. I love me some monster madness!
So, hello and welcome.
Right, now I need to pop up the lovely meme badge: Ain’t it pretty?!
Follow my posts between 11th and 17th May for interesting posts about monsters.
Few of you may know that I studied psychology many moons ago, at university. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was especially thrilled by the psychology of fear.
A monster in itself!
I thought I’d let you in on a few secrets and see how they apply to you, because if you’re up for this meme, one assumes you like monsters, and if you like monsters, one assumes you like to be scared.
Fear can be both terrifying and addictive. Horror lovers generally like to feel fear, to some extent, albeit from the safe confines of safety. 🙂
But then, we know what assume did… it made an ass out of u and me. 😛 So, if I’m wrong, you might find this post a bit useless. But those of you who do enjoy the stomach flip fear of scary movies, the creepy feeling running down your spine as you turn each page of a horror novel, might find it interesting. And those who do not enjoy those fears, but would like to know a little bit about those fears, you still might find this post of interest.
Read on… I dare ya!
The Psychology of Fear: five basic fears
One definition of fear is:
n 1.a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
Research suggests that the anxiety we experience when we’re afraid is a standardised biological reaction. These are the same set of biological signals, whether we’re afraid of getting savaged by a wolf, getting replaced by a lover, or getting fired from our jobs. Fear, like any other emotion, is essentially the source of information that tells us about our psychobiological status.
Contrary to popular belief, there are in fact only five basic fears (from which all other’s manifest). They often overlap.
1. ExtinctionClick for source: By ba1969
Fear of extermination; of ceasing to exist. Or more commonly, the “fear of death”. This is a primary existential anxiety. Think of that jumpy sensation you get when you glance over the edge of a tall building.
* I don’t fear heights, but my husband – who’s a pilot btw (and most of his family) do. Fear is often a learned behaviour.
You can track anything like fear of heights, of drowning, of germs, of flying, or even of the unknown, back to this.
Fear of losing any part of our body; or of having our body’s boundaries invaded. The fear of animals, such as insects, spiders, snakes, and perhaps, monsters under the bed, begin with the primary fear of mutilation.
* I’m thinking zombie flesh-eaters. 🙂
You can track anything like a fear of dogs, of cats, of spiders, of guns or knives, back to this.
3. Loss of Autonomy
Fear of immobilisation, paralysis, confinement, or being overwhelmed, held captive, suffocated, or controlled by situations or persons. More commonly, this is known as claustrophobia, but can also extend to social interactions and relationships.
* This is my area of daily fear. I can read about monsters all day, but shove a story of being buried alive or trapped in a lift and I’m squirming. And as for social phobia – don’t get me started! We actually rely on this profound fear to control the behaviour of society, by threatening to remove their autonomy (imprisonment) if they don’t abide by our laws.
You can track anything like the inability to commit to a relationship, or even a mortgage, or a fear of being buried alive (which used to happen – eek!), back to this.
Fear of abandonment, rejection, and of aloneness. Anyone who’s published a book knows the fear of rejection, and anyone who’s fallen in love knows the fear of abandonment. And anyone who’s felt the earth-shattering blow of losing a loved one knows the fear of aloneness.
* This is another big fear of mine. My gosh, I’m one neurotic chic!
You can track anything like being too clingy, jealous, possessive, or dependent, back to this.Click for source: By ColinBrough
Fear of humiliation, embarrassment, loss of peer respect, or such like. The fear that our self-image, the image constructed and projected to the world around us, will somehow be shattered.
* I think everyone fears this to some extent, but having been bullied though school and being blessed with bipolar disorder – along with half my family – this ship has sailed. But then, I do fear humiliation every time I share my writing. But that’s a given.
You can track anything like shame or guilt, or even arrogance, back to this.
That’s all – just those five.
Yeah, but where’s the monsters, right?
Well, what are monsters if not a more creative way to represent our fears? They were created throughout history and by different cultures to illustrate some form of fear arising from a true danger.
Romero’s zombies appeared at the height of the Cold War, when global fears and paranoia gripped us earlier this century. Coincidence?
And…[source] In the heyday of monster movies, the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Japanese monster, Godzilla, was recognized as a manifestation of our fears of nuclear annihilation. Godzilla was unstoppably destructive and razed most of Tokyo to the ground (repeatedly, in sequels.) Godzilla was our nightmares become real.
The zeitgeist of our reality informs which monster takes precedence in media, and in creation. Monsters can only hold on so tightly to our psyche because of the primal fear they trigger within us.
Fear is always the power behind the monster
I’m going to do a post or two on this subject for this meme, too. 🙂 So come back! No really!
*Please refer to this LINK for source.
Do you suffer these fears? Which one most bothers you? Are you participating in this meme?