I’M AFRAID OF FALLING IN LOVE!!!
Our topic for today is on PHILOPHOBIA, I know, sounds like a strange word. To help those of you struggling to pronounce it, it is pronounced (PHILOPHOBIA – Fi-lo-fo-bia).
So what is philophobia? This literally means the abnormal, persistent and unwarranted fear of falling in love or the fear of being in love. It is also known as the fear of being loved and the fear of loving someone. This anxiety disorder can affect a person’s emotional and social life. In severe cases, a philophobic may not just avoid potential lovers, but anyone they may have an emotional connection to such as family, friends, co-workers and neighbours.
As strange as it may sound, Yes! Some people do fear love. So, where does this phobia come from? There are different opinions on the causes of philophobia. However, the debate is still out there as to what exactly causes this phobia. Some psychologist and psychiatrists believe that this disorder often starts out of fear of forming attachment with a potential romantic partner. It is also often triggered by intense, unresolved feelings surrounding a failed past relationship, scared by a painful divorce, separation, or early experience of breakup.
The bitter experiences of the past may be a crucial reason why people suffering from this phobia, they do not want to get into a relationship again. Fear of rejection and the embarrassment that comes with this can also deter people from getting involved with anyone. As mentioned before, this fear of forming attachment can make the person start avoiding his friends, families, neighbours, co-workers etc. How do I know I have this phobia?
There are some symptoms associated with philophobia. However, they are very irregular and vary from person to person. These symptoms can affect the social and the emotional life of the person who suffers from this type of anxiety disorder. Part of falling in love is being able to make a connection with another person. This simple act of connecting with another person can become a source of fear for a philophobic. Symptoms also include sweating, nausea, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, feelings of dread and extreme fear of not being able to live up to promises, restless feeling of being betrayed, feeling emotionally insecure with life in general, this eventually affects the quality of life and pushes away any form of commitment.
The worst things about having a fear of being in love and falling in love or having someone love you is that it keeps you apart from your loved ones and drives you to a painful loneliness… although you feel alone, any time a situation comes up for commitment, you get panic attacks or anxiety attacks and run from it. Regardless of what some people may think, there is no way to “just get over” severe phobias like this. It is not that simple. Even though the quest for love is an essential part of human life, people who develop this phobia often need professional help to be able to engage in normal relationships. After all, the majority of humans thrive for a happy love life. How can I overcome it?
There is several medical evidence to suggest that this condition can be treated successfully.
1. Systematic desensitization therapy: This approach involves exposing the patient to the situation that he or she fears. Some therapists now use VIRTUAL REALITY. In the case of philophobia, a patient could engage in various “date” scenarios practicing their relationship skills with a computerized person before going on a date with a real person.
2. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This form of therapy educates the patient about the cycle of negative thought patterns, and teaches them techniques to change these thought patterns. One simple well-known CBT technique is simply to say “Stop!” aloud or mentally when negative thoughts emerge.
3. Antidepressant medications. Drugs such as selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) may be helpful in some cases of phobia to reduce severe physical and emotional symptoms.
4. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): Although controversial, several therapist still use this treatment. It has been as to be an alternative therapy based on educating people in self-awareness and communication to change their emotional behaviors.
Nevertheless, if you or someone you know is afraid of falling in love, being loved or loving someone. You are not alone and there is help out there for you. Wouldn’t you like a deeper, loving relationship?