15/07 Fear of flying and internal conflicts
Several days ago I had a therapy session with one educated and brilliant woman at the age of 42 years, very successful in almost every aspect of the life. By the way, most other people with the fear of flying are smart and successful personalities.
During the diagnostic, as it always happens, I’ve found out that the woman had no understanding of aviation, even the very basic one.
Here are some samples of the way this wisest person thinks:
— «Nobody does realize that something may break on a plane, which will lead to the crash. But I do realize it, that’s why I’m scared.»
— «There is always an opportunity to survive if something happens while being on the ground. Those who die on the ground – they just didn’t want to escape…»
— «I’m continually controlling everything that takes place on the ground, everything always depends only on me, but while being on a plane – I lose the control.»
— «There is emptiness below a plane, and it can fly only due to the engines that keep it in the air. But I do recognize that engines might fail, so this risk is unacceptable.»
Generally speaking, every person can understand the groundlessness and falseness of such beliefs. In a case of shortage of knowledge in some matter (for example – how does a plane fly and what keeps it in the air), there is always a possibility to find and learn tons of information.
However, this woman preferred to keep thinking in this way, without calling her beliefs in doubt and finding the information about something she didn’t know before.
The question is WHY? I mean – as regards the other aspects of life, her inquisitive mind always calls everything in doubt, explores and learns the new information. Then why as soon as an issue concerns a fear of flying, all skills of thinking just come to naught?
To gain a greater understanding of this matter, I’ll tell you a one-week-old story, which happened when my family and I spent a holiday in a hotel.
A father and his little daughter, at the age of about five years, are entering a restaurant. The girl’s eye is swollen, probably because a bee bit her… The dialogue between them:
— Dad, my eye hurts.
— Don’t be capricious! Want some bread?
— It hurts terribly!
— Stop whimpering! Let me cut a slice of bread for you!
— I can’t see with my eye!
— You pay too much attention to it.
— Will I be able to see with it later?
— Stop whimpering! Eat some bread!
And so on, for about 10 minutes. Such situation for the child – is a psychic trauma for the rest of the life. Obviously, there is an inner conflict between the girl’s need for caress and assistance of her father and his «weird» reaction.
The father is like the whole world for this girl, and it’s his support, sympathy, and caress she needs. And she does not get it. «Short circuit» occurs in her mind. It is being recorded in the subconscious: «Rely only on yourself. Don’t trust anybody. Don’t wait for any help from anyone». And after that, the subconscious tries to forget about this conflict like a nightmare. That is because those memories are painful.
When this girl grows up, most likely she’ll become an anxious, suspicious perfectionist, always counting only on herself. She’s the one who can provide her with wellbeing and physical security.
And as to physical security on a plane – it is ensured only by a system. That one can not trust. And there is no way to escape. Panic!
Let’s go back to the beginning of the article. So, why does this wisest woman, make no attempts to think accurate regarding aviation and her fears? Why didn’t she find time for reading about how does a plane fly?
Queerly? Not a bit. It happens because if a high-level thinking exists, a conflict arises between «how SHOULD I feel myself on a plane» and «how do I feel myself IN REALITY».
And such conflicts make deep childhood conflicts come back, that the subconscious tries to forget forever. They are too much painful for the person.
That way, it’s much easier to think of different causes in excuse of our condition to ourselves. «I have no phobia; it’s just a poor maintenance of airplanes today that scares me » — at least, such self-deluding doesn’t lead to inner conflicts.
And now, the wisest person thinks awful thoughts like «if something happens – I can always escape from anywhere, except plane». It’s better than reopen old wounds.
The phobia is not associated with risks, their existence or lack. It is a psychological type that in its turn is a result of genetics, upbringing and phrases such as «stop crying and eat some bread» instead of «come to me, I’ll kiss you, my love».
On numerous occasions, through getting rid of flight phobia, some other significant changes occur in life – it concerns the attitude to ourselves and relationships with others, first of all. Owing to understanding «where something is coming from» we learn how to neutralize the influence of our past on the present life.
Want to know more about fear of flying and its treatment? Visit my website www.www.phobia.aero .