Why do we ride roller coasters and go to haunted houses and horror movies? Being scared can be fun when there’s a certain level of safety also present. A part of our brain can be scared but another part knows we are safe throughout the ride or the movie so we don’t react from a fearful place, we laugh or scream and enjoy it.
A great tool against anxiety and worry is to take the courage we use in the face of fear in one place (i.e. a roller coaster) and use it in another place (public speaking) can be very helpful in managing anxiety and fear. However, those with complex developmental trauma sometimes can’t see or feel the safety that may be present. It’s all dangerous to them so they avoid it all. They can’t experience the fun and excitement because they can’t recognize the safety part of it.
- Amy Reamer, LMFT, RPT-S