What do I mean by fear of fear?

Fear is a fact of life, but our relationship to it is something different. Life brings defeats – we have to learn to live with the fear of defeat, but there is also defeating fear.

Perhaps this is the ‘mother of all defeats,’ as it creates the danger that your whole life will turn into defeat: the fear of fear forces us into surrender. Defeat against fear is often associated with a demonstrative emergence of power in the familiar space of relationships. Fear-Fear People are involuntary tyrants. Order fanatics, obsessed with the idea of having to educate, discipline and control their human environment. That is why these people sometimes seem so strong when you meet them where they know their way around. In truth, they are weakened and embittered and feel like failures. Your self-esteem is shaken, nagging doubts about the meaning of life rob you of sleep. The paradoxical experience arises that by running away from fear, that which is to be nipped in the bud becomes more and more inflated: fear.

From: Henning Koehler, ‹Vom Rätsel der Angst›, chapter: ‹Vom Innere Konsissen›, Stuttgart 1992.

Graphic: Sofia Lismont

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