“I'm ashamed that I'm afraid”

The fear of flying is nearly always caused by reasons unrelated to airplanes, no matter how paradoxical it may sound. One of the reasons is shame.

“I'm ashamed that I'm afraid”.

Where does it root from and what to do about it? Today we will talk about a widespread type of fear of flying. This type is called “I’m ashamed to behave like this”.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter of an anxious flyer:

“I think what worries me the most is how I will behave and how terrified I will be if the plane begins falling”

Can you see the error of thinking in these words? The vast majority of people NOT prone to fear of flying see it immediately. Their NON-phobic reaction is “what goddamn difference does it make how you behave, if that’s the end”? Many fearful flyers whose disorder has somewhat different roots, will react the same way.

However, for many people with fear of flying, such thinking is understandable and acceptable. Why?

The thing is that normally the phobia roots back to deep childhood. The parents who were suspicious and, as a consequence, fixated on how they look in the eyes of others, “what will people say”, etc. have conveyed a fallacious understanding of the importance of this to their children.

With phobia, this error manifests itself in a hypertrophied form. Children grow up and being already adult see the utmost importance in full and constant control over themselves, their behavior, their emotions.

Their subconscious keeps parents’ reproaches “Look how you behave, I’m ashamed of you”. Their psyche knows that the parents’ love (and safety) is given when you “behave well” and “they are not ashamed of you”. Therefore, when you “behave in a wrong way” — they are “ashamed of you” — there’s no safety.

And if there is no safety, there is fear. If there is fear — it’s a shame. “I shouldn't be afraid, look, everyone around is not afraid”. We have a vicious circle here.

We receive a lot of calls and emails every day. People write us “I won’t go to your courses, what new can you tell me that I don’t already know? That airplanes are the safest type of transport? How do they fly? I already know all this, it doesn’t help me”. As you can see from today’s topic, which, by the way, has nothing to do with airplanes, the knowledge about aviation and aerodynamics is just a tiny speck of what we work with in our courses.