What happens when an individual survives a life-threatening situation? Such a person is going to be in the ‘Covert Hostility’ stage.
This stage on the Emotions Scale is where you plot against whatever it is that caused you to harm or hurt you.
Some people whose feelings are constantly around this stage try to show affection when deep down they don’t really like you.
From our past posts, Jerry was almost attacked by a fox but his life was saved and he eventually continued his journey down the mountain. He is still at the ‘Covert Hostility’ stage so his emotions show it.
He feels disgusted for the mountain and what he experienced but he doesn’t openly acknowledge or display it. His plunging down to the ‘Covert Hostility’ stage is only as a result of the stimulus and what he experienced with the fox so he is in deep thought.
While he is going down the mountain, he is kicking trees, throwing stones and very upset that what started as a seemingly wonderful day had ended with him being humiliated by a fox.
He sees another hiker walking up the mountain and rather than keep to himself, he blurted out with hostility, “Watch out this mountain stinks!”
Now a hiker who knows nothing about his experience has a different perception of the mountain and may now be on alert for foul smells. Because he is in the covert hostility stage, he doesn’t say about the fox which would have been a better warning.
As he keeps walking down the mountain, he starts seeing his home from afar, where he is standing. He is already bored and tired and he has gone through a long and exhausting day. All he desires at that point is a fine meal and a quiet rest.
The Aftermath of Survival
Jerry just survived something that was a threat to his existence. He is nearing home but is still bothered by something.
Jerry wonders what will happen if he goes into the house and his family questions him and wants to know all about his hike. He might become upset because their questions may give rise to unpleasant thoughts about his experience.
Lying to them, Covert Hostility style may be the most reasonable way of hiding his shame about what happened to him at the mountain. It is possible that he might feel safe when he is close to them and narrates all that had happened, maybe shed some tears when he remembers the intense fear that had gripped him. He may eventually find a sofa or chair to recline on incomplete apathy because he is not able to say anything or react. He may still be haunted by the things and trauma that he had gone through earlier in the day.
After that phase has passed, he may get better within a few days and Jerry will return to his normal activities and routine. He might continue his interest and happiness with his family life as before. However, there might be a little problem when his sister or any other member of his family eventually suggests that they go on a walk up the mountain. They will find it difficult trying to get him to show enthusiasm about having another hike.
From all the events that have happened to Jerry, it is easier to now put up a Scale of Existence and Emotions. This scale will show a person’s emotions changing, as he starts to rise from the bottom at a state of ‘near-death’ to the top, Serenity of Being.
The various level of the scale has been assigned numbers already.
When a person is faced with traumatic life-threatening events, fear and anxiety take over and there is no sense of control. Your beliefs about everything will be questioned and you will become easily startled and jittery. You become incredibly alert over things.
In the case of Jerry, when he is asked to go on another hike, he’ll begin to have negative thoughts and feelings about it. He feels unsafe and may not really refuse the request outrightly but may give a lot of excuses as to why hiking is not such a good idea.
He begins to associate it with everything dangerous. Because he probably didn’t narrate his experience, he’d also have a hard time convincing his relations not to go.
Our thoughts and perceptions influence our feelings and in Jerry’s case, experience.
His fear and anxiety about hiking may be that he may be attacked again, and maybe he wouldn’t be so lucky next time. When a person feels bad, it can even lead to worse feelings and a person who has experienced something unpleasant about a particular place may not want to be seen there again. That’s the Aftermath of Survival. Having escaped a threat to your existence, you will no longer want to repeat the action that put you on the spot.