Although it may sound contradictory, the fear of happiness exists and is known as cherophobia. It is an irrational fear that possibly has a lot to do with anxiety and prevents us from engaging in activities that bring us happiness.
If we stop to think carefully about it, we will realize that we have occasionally observed this phenomenon, either in others or in ourselves.
The term could have its origin in the Greek χαρά-happiness, joy, rejoicing-and φοβία-fear, dread-although it is difficult to trace the origin of the word since the disorder it designates is not found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Mental Disorders (DSM, for its acronym in English).
Who is afraid to be happy?
People suffering from kerophobia often reject situations in which the feeling of joy is implicit. This does not imply that they want to be unhappy or sad; On the contrary, people with querophobia reject happiness because sadness accompanies it, so it is not sad what they seek.
Either because happiness is not permanent or because exhibiting happiness can demonstrate to those around you that they are not happy by comparison, a cherophobe will frequently reject a social event in which he would feel happy or any situation that, somehow, awakens a feeling of well-being in him.
They also tend to get away and prevent any kind of positive change in their lives. In short, they tend to move away from any possibility that invites them to feel good, cheerful and with a certain well-being. Hence, some of his most common thoughts are:
“If I’m happy, something bad will happen to me later.”
“Proving to be happy is bad for both me and others.”
“Trying to be happy makes me waste my time and effort.”
In addition, it is common for these types of people to position themselves on the defensive and not allow themselves to be persuaded in interactions with other individuals. They tend to be insecure, as they do not control their emotions too much and are insecure. Thus, this cluster of negative emotions can lead to rejection of fun and, therefore, happiness.
Examples of events that would not be attended by a cherophobe
If you know someone with cherophobia, try to keep in mind that inviting you to certain social events can generate a discussion or annoyance on your part.
A clear example can be birthdays. In this type of celebrations, the center of attention is another person, but attendees are expected to have positive emotions and fun, something that a person with cherophobia is not willing to show. Similarly, a family meal will also be a source of stress for him.
Corporate dinners, friends’ meals or other social gatherings are also examples of situations rejected by a cherophobe. In short: all that occasion that orbits around the meeting of people.
However, although our tendency is not to invite that person or not attend an event that will attend to not feel worried, uncomfortable or not experience embarrassment, the solution is far from going through any of these two positions named .
How to overcome querophobia
Since it is not a clinically recognized disorder, there is no specific treatment for it. Despite this, it is advisable to go to a mental health specialist. A psychologist may recommend exercises that benefit the chemophobe, propose solutions to their problems or offer possible treatments.
Now, it is important, in the first instance, to accept that there is a problem. This is often the most complicated step in a therapeutic process and, therefore, it is normal that the patient may need external help before deciding.
1. Avoid isolation
Family and friends should be very aware in case a loved one begins to isolate himself in a worrying way. This would be the first sign of alarm.
It is important to complement the visits to the psychologist with a gradual adaptation to social life, urging the affected person to reintroduce himself in circles and social situations previously avoided.
This does not mean that you can change someone’s personality: you have to take into account the preferences of the person affected at the social level when configuring the therapeutic progression.
Throughout this process the affected person must be accompanied. This helps you
You will be more aware of the problem and get more benefits by getting more involved in your recovery.
2. Be patient
Changes as great as overcoming querophobia do not happen overnight. Both the chemophobe and the people who want to help him must have patience and accept that the process is slow.
Therefore, it is better not to set too high expectations, to avoid so that who suffers from cheropobia reach high levels of frustration.
3. Search for help
Occasionally, people affected by a psychological disorder are the only ones in their environment who are not aware that they need support for their recovery process.
This can occur either by denial of the problem or by shame when externalizing it. They are not able to take the step and request professional help.
In short, only a professional is able to manage the situation and give the keys to the patient to overcome, gradually, their problem. If we ourselves are in the role of the patient, it is important to listen to those who recommend us to seek professional support.
If we are part of the circle in which the cherophobe is related, it is important to assume a protective agent role. As we have said before, patience is fundamental, but also action: we can not remain alien to the problem, since we would also be harming the affected.