We live by a complicated code of social behaviour. One aspect of it is that we should not give way to our feelings. With some people this is very important indeed. For instance, it is important for those in the armed services. The young soldier thinks, “If I am wounded, I hope I can take it like the others.” In another setting we see the same thing with the young woman about to have her first baby. Thoughtless friends and relatives had led her to expect pain—very severe pain. She keeps thinking to herself, “I must not make a fuss; I must not give way; whatever happens I must not call out.” In fact she fears that she will lose control. This fear of course increases her level of anxiety, increases her tension, and increases the pain.
Fear is also associated with pain in another and more significant way. We feel pain; and at the start we cope with it all right. But it goes on. We are not sure whether it is getting better or worse. We begin to think that it is more severe. Now fear begins to take over. What is going to happen to us? If it does not ease soon, something must happen. There is a feeling of loss of control, and impending disaster. Fear runs wild, and the pain is increased a hundredfold.