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Cherophobia: when happiness is scary

Cherophobia: when happiness is scary

“Even if every now and then I complain, his heart said, I do it because I am the heart of a man and the hearts of men are like this: they are afraid of realizing the greatest dreams, because they think they do not deserve it  or they cannot reach them. We, the hearts, are terrified at the mere thought of loves that have ended forever, of moments that could have been beautiful and have not been, of treasures that could have been discovered and remained forever hidden in the sand. Because when this happens, we suffer intensely. ” – The alchemist, Paolo Coelho

There are those who fear happiness because they believe they do not deserve it

And for hearts that are afraid of happiness, how can this be done?
Fear of happiness seems impossible. We all spend our lives wishing and looking for it, but in reality the so-called ” Cherophobia ” or “phobia of happiness” exists and has important implications in people’s lives .

In reality what is feared is not happiness, but the suffering resulting from the transition from a state of happiness to one of loss (considered consequent and inevitable).

This is not a disorder recognized by DSM 5 (for now!), But a set of events that appear when you are faced with pleasant situations .

The mind has settled on the belief that suffering inevitably follows fun. For a sort of balance, if I’m experiencing a beautiful thing, a bad one will surely follow.

We can trace this phobia to an anxious manifestation . It is an acquired form whereby, as in colors who have suffered from panic attacks and are afraid of finding themselves in the situation in which the symptoms occurred, here we fear the happy event considered the antechamber of the subsequent malaise.

Thus, there is a tendency to avoid activities, meetings and moments that can give well-being and pleasure and, when this is not possible, phobic symptoms develop.

In this way, an exhausting attempt is made to control and protect one’s emotional life from jolts and sudden movements.

It is as if the person allowed himself to experience only emotions with soft hues, he is never happy but not desperate either. She chooses a limbo of non-well-being and non-malaise in which to feel less vulnerable and believes that she lives protected since she chooses what to expose and what to withdraw from.

What are the causes of kerophobia

How did it originate? According to the literature, it is possible that it is the result of a conditioning. Following a happy event, an inauspicious one happened. We begin to create connections and to relate the two things as if they were the logical consequence of the other.

Thus there is the risk of a progressive social withdrawal, a withdrawal from the “beautiful” to avoid its consequences.

It is also related to the concept of punishment: as if being too happy, too authentic made you feel too exposed and vulnerable , running the risk of being “punished” by events or, as it actually happens, by a much more ferocious internal judge than any external event.

As in a self-fulfilling prophecy, every action is expected that if something pleasant has happened, something bad will inevitably happen . All events are thus interpreted in this sense and if nothing external happens, the emotional malaise arrives punctually to strengthen the belief that happiness will inevitably lead to suffering.

In this way one gets used to moving in the absence of stimuli, suffocating impulses of joy and happiness in the bud. They also tend to turn people away from this comfort zone and make them experience “too” vital and joyful feelings. Friendships and love distance each other.

How can you get out of it?

It is a disorder not officially recognized, therefore it is difficult for those who suffer from it to know about it. It can be confused with mood disorders, with which it can actually be associated, but it is important to go to work on the wrong connection that has been created.

In other words, an unconscious and deep-rooted conviction must be made explicit and work to modify it. In doing this work, a path of psychotherapy or EMDR can be of great help to work on the associations that everyone has internalized.

It is appropriate that the person manages to develop a strong enough identity to be able to tolerate experiencing the full range of emotions . It is normal and healthy to try to move away from alarming and unpleasant situations, but only a life lived in its entirety can allow you to develop authentic happiness.

This conduct will not make us safe forever from the difficult or delicate moments that everyone will face in their own path, but will guarantee that they can live fully, without constantly having the handbrake engaged.

“Why can’t I ever achieve happiness, Lloyd?”
“Maybe he should change training, sir”
“I mean, Lloyd?”
“Happiness is not for those who chase it, but for those who know how to keep up with it”
“Matter of lungs, Lloyd?”
“Matter of heart, sir”