Have you ever been around someone that’s always thinking negative thoughts? Something is always too good to be true, or if anything good is happening to them, they become suspicious. You invite them out to social gatherings, parties, or even a concert and the answer is always NO!! As a person who loves doing these things, you don’t understand why it’s like pulling teeth when you ask them to go out. You just label them as being antisocial, but believe it or not, they may not be. In fact, that individual may have a phobia known as
Cherophobia. Cherophobia as defined by Health line is a phobia where a person has an irrational aversion to being happy. In layman’s terms, it is fear of happiness. Someone who has Cherophobia isn’t necessarily a dejected individual, but instead a person that avoids experiences in life that could lead to contentment. It’s not the activities that are frightening, but the fear of being buoyant makes them believe something sinister will happen.
Let’s say as a child you grew up with both your mother and your father present in your life, they are happily married, gifts are always being given to each other alongside kisses and hugs, everything in your world is all pink and fluffy in a magical place filled with unicorns and rainbows, one day you discover that your perfect world is a lie, your father has been beating on your mother, you learn that the man you thought was your uncle is actually your mother’s boyfriend and all the long amazing trips your parents planned were all a ploy to see who you liked better. Everyone reacts to things in different ways, to a person who has been blindsided thinking the love and happiness they received from their parents was genuine turns out to be just a game to them, can cause serious emotional trauma and they may begin to feel that being happy or someone making them happy will never be possible it is all part of an illusion of happiness. This individual will begin to put up a defense mechanism to guard their emotions from ever being hurt again. How can someone fear such an amazing emotion? Is this real? If so, what are the causes? The answer to that often stems from a past traumatic event often from childhood. The sudden loss of a family member or companion can contribute to the anxiety as well as an extreme measure of guilt and hatred against self and society. The fear is definitely real, so real a blogger by the name of Stephanie Yeboah (Gladwell) described in an interview how living with Cherophobia affects you from her personal standpoint, she writes, Ultimately, it’s a feeling of complete hopelessness, which leads to feeling anxious or wary of taking part in, or actively doing things, that promote happiness as you feel that it will not last. She goes on to explain how treating Cherophobia can sometimes be mistaken for treating feeling of depression, which she feels isn’t particularly helpful.
Although Cherophobia hasn’t been predominantly studied as its own separate disorder, many psychiatrists suggest treatments which include Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as hypnotherapy since there aren’t any medications approved by the FDA. Aaron Temkin Beck (Mcleod), a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania believes a person’s reaction to specific upsetting thoughts may contribute to abnormality and helping to identify and evaluate these thoughts led to individuals’ ability to think realistically, aid a person to feel better emotionally, and behave more functionally. Based on the idea that how we think, feel, and act all interact together, CBT aims to help people become aware of when they make negative interpretations, and of behavioral patterns. People see the word hypnotherapy and usually get the idea of the many things we see on TV; men and women getting hypnotized and barking like a dog or crying like a baby, but that is not true, it’s just entertainment. Hypnotherapy helps with a variety of problems, such as breaking bad habits or coping with stress. Exposing a person to happiness helps them slowly understand they have nothing to fear about being happy. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders doesn’t list Cherophobia as a disorder, according to Health line (Nall), some medical experts classify Cherophobia as a form of anxiety. Everyone that suffers from Cherophobia does not need treatment but if this condition is interfering with your overall value of life including your ability to maintain a job please seek the treatment available, change your core beliefs, and quiet the criticizing voice in your head, you can get through this.
Happiness involves finding meaning in life, while most people can choose to be happy there are people out there suffering in silence everyday against something that is so pleasurable to experience. Happiness will become ever more elusive to attain until the discovery of individual strength as well as reinforcing them in your life becomes an option. You do not have to change what you are or what you have, to be happy, but instead change the emotion you are expressing. If you begin to express love, then you are likely to experience happiness and its fulfillments. We often associate feeling happy with who we were with, what we had, or what we were doing. Those external things were not making us happy, it was the love we were expressing at the time that fulfilled us. Being aware of your anxiety is the first step in change. This step is very effective since it does not create the expression of self-rejection. Since change is solely up to you, you already have the key to your own happiness. What remains is for you to determine what you do with your key. The challenge is we often get lost or turned around on our path. We end up seeking many things believing they will bring us to the emotional state we desire. Individuals may get the things, but not the feeling we want. We have been conditioned to focus on external factors and have missed the most important element in determining our happiness. If you see a person rejecting opportunities that could lead to positive life changes, becoming very high-strung around a group of people you have invited them out to hang with, do not assume they are being standoffish or rude or even antisocial, rather learn what is troubling them and how you can help that individual cope with this issue. Develop communication and respect in your relationship with your friends and loved ones because they may have a much bigger issue then you understand.
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