What is phobophobia?
When you’re phobophobic, i.e. when you’re scared of being scared, there’s no fear identified as thalassophobia (fear of sea beds). However, you anticipate sensations and symptoms experienced when you have a concrete phobia. There’s no external stimulus that symbolizes a real reason to trigger the fear. There’s anxious anticipation of the fear and of being confronted with a stressful situation.
A fear symbolized by anxiety
😨 In reality, the fear of being scared is actually a generalized anxiety disorder. The consequence? You feel the slightest sign associated with fear: palpitations, dizziness, trembling, cold sweats, feeling sick, etc. This may lead to panic attacks if the panic is not controlled.
Knowing if you have phobophobia
As we fear being scared, we avoid all stressful situations. We will always have little faith in our ability to act in difficult situations. So we prefer to stay back, which gives the impression that we lack willingness, but it’s just fear that paralyzes us.
😱 Up to 12.5% of the population can be considered phobophobic. If we already have a fear identified as agoraphobia, we will have stronger predispositions to feel a generalized fear.
➜ You are considered phobophobic when:
- the phobia lasts longer than 6 months;
- the fear is disproportionate to the actual situation;
- the fear interferes with your ability to function socially or professionally.
The origins of the fear of being scared
The fear of being scared doesn’t suddenly just appear. There are concrete origins that cause this generalized phobia.
Received education 👨👩👧
It usually originates in childhood, in particular because of the education given by the parents. Indeed, if our parents were overprotective during our childhood, we will have learned to be afraid of the slightest situation. Constant warnings about being wary of an event or an animal cause a state of anxiety and general fear.
A trauma 💥
Phobophobia may also be the result of a bad experience, an emotional shock or stress related to another fear. Indeed, if we’ve been confronted with one of our phobias without being prepared for it, your body may condition itself and set up a permanent alarm signal.
The solutions to detach yourself from the fear
Like all other phobias, you need to understand the origin of the fear. It’s important to treat it as soon as it appears. It’s essential to start psychological treatment, which is the best way to reduce the fear of being scared. There are several possible therapies for this:
- Psychotherapy (talking in order to understand the origin of the fear);
- Cognitive and behavioral therapies (otherwise known as CBT) ;
- Cybertherapy (which allows us to gradually expose ourselves to the cause of the phobophobia through virtual reality);
- The emotional freedom technique (otherwise known as EFT to free your emotions);
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
🧘♀️ As the fear of being scared is generalized anxiety, you need to learn techniques to relax and be able to detach yourself from this fear. This is a good way to optimize psychological support through therapy.
- mindfulness meditation (to free yourself of thoughts);
- yoga (to relax the body and mind);
- do breathing exercises (to relieve sudden stress);
- cardiac coherence (for the heart to calm the brain).
The fear of being scared is a real vicious cycle: symptoms trigger fear, which in turn leads to new symptoms that are further amplified. In reality, phobophobia acts as an amplifier of phobic symptoms over time.
⚠️ So in order to calm down as much as possible and not withdraw into yourself, it’s important to avoid certain behaviors:
- avoid stressful elements;
- don’t confront yourself with an identified phobia;
- do relaxation exercises;
- keep social contacts to avoid isolation;
- learn to dissociate fear from imaginary danger.
Editor’s note: Escaping the vicious cycle
There are many very effective therapies to break out of this vicious cycle and to stop the fear of being scared. This anxiety disorder is generally disabling in everyday life, prevents you from expressing your full potential, and deprives you of certain experiences. Don’t wait to make an appointment with one of our psychologists.
🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!
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