Do you have Philophobia? Are you wondering what that is? Ask yourself these questions: Are you afraid of love? Making excuses not to get too close? Are you in and out, often pushing someone away? Do you tell yourself you’re satisfied with only casual sex? Did you know that if your fear of love is extreme, it can be a phobia? Philophobia – that’s what it’s called.
So, let’s sort this out. When is fear of love in the range of “normal” anxieties about meeting someone new, being worried it won’t work out, getting the jitters about whether he or she will love you back? Or when is your fear a full-blown phobia? And, what exactly is a phobia anyway?
What Is a Phobia?
A phobia is a major fear that is focused on something specific. In this instance, it’s falling in love. But it could be bugs, flying, elevators, horses, or the like.
And, you’ll go to great lengths not to get anywhere near what you’re afraid of. Like – take a train across the country or walk 14 flights of stairs.
If you can’t avoid what you’re afraid of, you panic. Sometimes, big time.
Yet, the root of your fear isn’t “the thing” itself. It seems like you’re afraid of love or letting someone get too close, but your real fear is of something else.
Before I go into that, let’s talk more about philophobia.
What Is Philophobia?
Philophobia comes from the Greek. Phili means love and phobos means fear. If you have philophobia, you might have some of these physical symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- fast heartbeat
- panic attacks
- extreme anxiety
- irrational fear
- chest pain
One interesting thing is that you can enjoy sex. That is, if the sex is casual, doesn’t involve anything too deep, and – for sure – has nothing to do with love.
As soon as there’s any talk of love, or any hint of feeling it – you run. The question is: Why?
Most Often, Childhood Trauma Causes Philophobia
A number of childhood losses can be at the bottom of your fears. Death of a parent. Being the child of divorce. A parent’s illness. Abandonment. Neglect. Abuse.
When there was no one to count on, of course, you’re scared. Somewhere inside, you want and need love. But you’ve been left too many times. So you seal yourself off.
You’re in a time loop of the past. All the things you felt then, you feel now. BUT you won’t let yourself. You learned long ago different ways to stop your feelings.
You’re terrified of being hurt, even if you don’t know that consciously. After all, you’ve got a lot of diffe4rent psychological self-protections in place, many different ways to “avoid.”
You Tell Yourself No One Matters
Someone did matter once or twice, or many more times than that. It hurt when they left. So, now, you tell yourself nothing matters. No one matters. No one will ever matter again.
You create a bubble around you, live in a sort of cave. No one can enter. If someone tries to, an alarm goes off inside: “Don’t come in.”
So, you remind yourself, no one can matter, remember? It’ll just be a little fling. That’s not too scary. But, what if your “nothing matters” mantra doesn’t work? So, you have to have other ways.
You Ignore All Your Feelings
This is what you do: you keep your feelings locked up as if they don’t exist.
And, you tell yourself – that feeling of love? “Don’t take it seriously.” And, maybe you drink too much to get control over what seems to be a threat.
Or, you find fault with the person who likes you and create a fight. You tell them you need space. That you’re “not ready.”
Really, you’re in one big fight inside yourself. You want love, and don’t. You pretend not to care. Or to need anyone at all.
But, it’s not true. Everyone has needs. And, when you ignore your needs; it makes you isolated and alone. Yes, having philophobia does that.
Plus, the problem is: ignoring your feelings makes you destined to repeat the past.
Ignore It & You’ll Repeat It
It’s true, ignore it and you’ll repeat it. In hurt after hurt. Or, in trying to be “just fine” with being alone. The past is a time loop if you run from your feelings.
All those old feelings and experiences still live inside you; as hard as you try to push them away. You can’t get rid of them just because you pretend that they aren’t there.
The question is, what’s really going on? Underneath all those determined self-protective maneuvers. And, being afraid of love? What is it that you’re really afraid of repeating?
Here’s “The Danger” If You Fall In Love …
It may well be that you’re running from not feeling wanted. Losing a mom when you’re little. Having no dad; being neglected or abused, those are things that scar you.
Those early experiences can make you misinterpret, and feel you did something wrong, that you weren’t important enough for someone to stay. Or that you weren’t wanted and never will be.
So, if you let yourself even think you might like someone, maybe could love them, you’re panicked. And you find yourself in a complicated dance. Trying to stay tough, without a care in the world, especially for him or her. It’s, of course, one big lie to yourself.
But all you can see is that person you could “maybe” love, leaving you if you aren’t careful. You try the “nothing matters, ignore it, I can survive without you,” kind of trick.
You’re afraid of being unwanted. Not as good as. Being rejected. Even of feeling jealous. All the ways you think you could lose love if you let yourself need it.
That’s your past talking. And, that’s the “why” of philophobia.
Getting Free of Philophobia
Anything can happen, even love that lasts. That is, if you don’t tell yourself, “Today, tomorrow, yesterday, it’s all the same.” Remember, that’s the voice of the past. That’s philophobia.
Sure, love is scary if love has hurt you. But if you don’t take the chance, you’ll stay stuck.
Getting unstuck means opening up. Admitting you’re scared, but trying anyway. You have to know that your mantras of “No one loves me. Everyone will leave,” aren’t really true.
If your fears are in the “normal” range, you might be able to open up on your own, especially with someone you like. Take it slow. Give love and trust a chance.
But, if it’s philophobia that is the cause and you keep running, it’s probably because you can’t shake the belief that no one will stay and that you aren’t good enough to make them want to.
It’s time for professional help.
Choose a therapist trained in childhood trauma. Therapy works. Especially when it seems like you’re risking your life if you even think about trying to love again. Truly, it can be that scary.
But getting over a phobia is about taking one step at a time, and having someone right by your side who knows how to do it. You can beat philophobia with the right help. Plus, the best result?
You just might find that someone you couldn’t imagine existed – and don’t want to live without.