3 thoughts on “What Are the Differences Between Fear and Anxiety?

  • February 23, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    I found this article informative, but I do disagree with the gray area of cues only being linked to fear. I’ve been in counseling for months now to help heal and deal with an abusive pattern of relationships, with one of them leading to a restraining order to protect myself and my son. While in these relationships I experienced both fear and anxiety. The anxiety, oddly enough, was often triggered by silent treatment and the end-cycle of the relationships (these were break-up/make-up cycles). The fear was present within the relationship, and though sometimes there was an obvious cue, oftentimes there was not. But it was most often fear, not always anxiety that I felt. I was afraid of the anger, the “at any time his mood could shift” daily living that did not provide an actual cue to fear, but fear was nonetheless soaking my brain and kicking me in to flight or fight. I never knew what might trigger them, so just breathing and being alive was a cue, but not in the sense described here. Still, for me, it was a cue. There was never a time when I wasn’t “on alert”. I was always on alert. I was on alert when seemingly happy, seemingly relaxed. I was always on alert. I was always careful, weighing my words (or whether I should even speak at all). I was always prepared for the shift to their anger. –I won’t be repeating this pattern of relationship anymore, but for the decades that I have, I know that I lived with both fear and anxiety, sans a traditional cue for the fear. Maybe you would label the whole of what I experienced as anxiety, but I can tell you it was both. I felt both.

    • February 23, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Hi MB. Sorry to hear about your relationship difficulties.

      As for the fear vs. anxiety debate, it seems that your views are more in agreement with behaviorists, then, who believe that just like fear, anxiety also has cues.

      You also seem to be describing a state of hypervigilance, that state of being “on alert” all the time. Hypervigilance can occur in abusive relationships. One is either frightened in the present or anxious about fearful possibilities in the future. It is an exhausting place to be in. Hopefully you are in a better situation now. Thank you for your comment.

      • February 24, 2018 at 6:46 pm

        Ah, excellent word to describe the feeling. Yes, hypervigilance. It is not a good way to live when there is a choice in how to live. I’m making better choices now and have been getting counseling specific for domestic abuse. Life is a journey and I walked down the wrong path. I don’t intend to walk down that path again. Thank you. And thank you for publishing your article. As I said I did find it very informative.


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