Fear and Control
Hi, I’m Dr. Roger Hall and this is Rogers 2 Cents. Typically in these video blogs, I answer a question that somebody has sent me in a sealed envelope. Answer it and give you what’s off the top of my head. I am now on my back patio in Idaho. We’re in the middle of the coronavirus quarantine and I have not been out of my house except to go to the grocery store twice, haven’t been out of my house for 20 days, but I have been on the phone with lots and lots of my clients and I thought I would do a, a video series and try to get them out and in somewhat rapid succession to answer some of the common questions and to address some of the common issues that my clients have brought to me. So there are basically three parts that I want to talk about.
The first is fear and control that fear and control are inextricably linked. The second is fear and information gathering. And the third is what do you do when you’re working at home? So many people are working at home and they are having trouble staying happy and being productive with their families. So I’m going to do three brief sections one topic in each of these sections. So I hope this helps you as you are sitting at home in quarantine. So the first thing I want to talk about is fear and control. Fear and control are inextricably linked. When we’re afraid of something legitimate or not legitimate, we attempt to control it. That’s what micromanagers in workplaces do. They’re afraid of being embarrassed, they’re afraid of bad work product, whatever it is. And so they start to try to control the work of other people.
It’s a legitimate a response, not productive, but it’s certainly understandable but in all parts of our life, we seek to control the things we’re afraid of. I have a dog, his name is Connor. When I take him out for a walk, what do I always was take with me? I always take a leash. Why? Because I know my dog pretty well. And if he gets on a smell or if there’s a dog that he likes, he’s going to run off and then I’m going to have to go chase him down. If he sees a squirrel, he’s gone forever. If you knew anything about Idaho, if he hears a whistle pig it’s off to the races. So that’s why I have the leash. Well, there’s some dogs in our area that he doesn’t like, and there’s some times he’s, he’s a little nuts.
And if he sees a dog in the back of a pickup truck, he believes that the dog is being taken away by space aliens and he just goes nuts. So I have a legitimate fear that when a pickup drives past me there may be a dog in the back. And so what do I do with the leash while I tighten it up and some, so the more legitimate fear I have, the more control I exert over my dog. Now, the same is true if you’re a parent of young kids. If you’re afraid of them sticking a fork in an electrical outlet, what do you do? Well you, you put those little, those little covers on, on the tops of the electrical outlets so that your kid doesn’t stick a fork in and hurt him or herself. Fear and control are inextricably linked.
Now here’s the problem with the coronavirus. None of us control it. So you start to see people doing what appear to be really crazy things because we can’t control the disease. We can feel better by controlling other aspects of our lives and so we can control how much toilet paper we have. And so because people can’t control the disease, they see to control everything else they can. So they start hoarding things because they’re afraid. Now is, is there a logical relationship between toilet paper and the Corona virus? No, there isn’t, but it is a thing that people feel like they can control. Now, let me add onto this, especially with the toilet paper, is that human beings, when they don’t know what to do in a time of uncertainty, they look around to other people to see what they’re doing. And if somebody else is doing it, what human beings typically do is we imitate that other behavior.
So there you are a Costco, you’re, you know, you’re all set on toilet paper and then, you know, Billy Bob over there decides to put, you know, a carton full, you know, buys a pallet of toilet paper. What do you immediately think? Oh well this guy may be, you know, something, I don’t know, I should probably get myself a pallet of toilet paper. So you’ve got these two things going together. One, fear and control, trying to control things that are unrelated to the thing you’re afraid of. And the imitative behavior that we have of other people. So fear and control are inextricably linked. So we seek to control other kinds of things and people are walking around with masks and gloves and, and you know, doing full body disinfectant of themselves when they come back in the house. All of which is based out of fear.
Now, some of it’s legitimate, some of it’s not. Some of it’s well placed, some of it’s not. But recognize in yourself that if you start engaging in behavior that seems controlling, that it is fear that dominates this. So the management of your fear is incredibly important. How do you get over fear? Well, if we look at it at how people have dealt with fear in the past, there’s, there’s been imagined interactions. If you’re afraid of spiders and you imagine interactions with spiders then you become less afraid of it. Well, it doesn’t work super well to imagine it. You know, what helps people not be afraid. It’s actual exposure to spiders. So the more we’re exposed to the reality of the Corona virus, so anyone who’s ever been sick with it, if they have survived in most will, they’re no longer afraid of it.They know what they face, they know the danger. And so the more we practice and rehearse our interactions with whatever we’re afraid of, the less we become afraid of them. Now again, there are things to be afraid of. But, and it’s fine if you do that and it’s fine to control those things. But in ordinance fear, disproportionate fear or fear of things that can’t hurt you. Those are things to be aware of. The same is true, with what’s happening with the economy as a result of the government shutdowns. people are afraid for their businesses. So, what we see is people conserving cash. Okay, I understand that. Slow paying their, their creditors. I understand that because they’re trying to control the one thing they can control. Now there’s some legitimacy there and then there’s some freak out-ness us there. And so the better you are at recognizing, okay, I’m responding in fear. Is this a legitimate fear or is this an irrational fear? Those are the questions to ask you. So that’s the relationship between fear and control. The next segment, I’m going to talk about fear and information gathering.