The Story of “S”, A Victim of Philophobia
S is a woman with prior trauma. As a child, she often witnessed violence in the household and a father who was repeatedly involved in affairs. In comparison, her mother was weak and powerless to do anything. As she carried these experiences into adulthood, she experienced difficulties in establishing interpersonal relationships with the opposite sex. S had romantic feelings for the opposite sex but was always haunted by overwhelming fear. The need to be loved and cared for is at odds with the pain from her past, causing her to always restrain and distance herself.
The condition that S is experiencing disrupts her studies, because she has developed a liking towards a man. When S hears the voice of the man, she starts to break out in cold sweat, experience difficulty swallowing, and abdominal pain. She realizes that her experience is unreasonable and irritating because she desires to have a family one day. S really wants to change but she is uncertain as to what can be done to overcome her condition.
Getting to Know Philophobia
What S is experiencing is a disorder called “philophobia”. In medicine, philophobia is defined as the irrational fear for being in love. Philophobia is one of the psychological/mental issues experienced by an individual characterized by the fear of falling in love or developing intimate feelings with another person. Although philophobia can occur to men and women, the condition is more often found among women.
Causes of Philophobia
In general, this disorder is experienced by a person who had been in love but experienced great disappointment from the relationship, causing them to fear the feeling of falling in love. Additionally, childhood trauma, such as being raised in a non-harmonious household can also contribute to philophobia. Emotional trauma experienced from a non-harmonious situation can cause a person to prevent themselves from falling in love to avoid a similar situation. This is also one of the causes of philophobia for S.
Impact of Philophobia
The experience of this disorder is similar to other phobias – that is the fear of thinking about anything related to love and relationships with the opposite sex, always distancing and avoiding from being in relationships or situations that suggests the possibility of romance. In certain conditions, the patient will experience difficulty controlling their emotions. They will become nervous, anxious, experience shortness of breath and even feelings of aversion towards falling in love.
A person with philophobia will experience exaggerated fear towards falling in love. A number of psychosomatic symptoms may occur, including shortness of breath and nausea. If philophobia is not properly managed, it can lead to anxiety disorders, depression, even social isolation.
So, what can be done by S or anyone experiencing symptoms of philophobia? If the main cause is a trauma, this can be resolved with cognitive behavioral therapy to alter negative thoughts and the phobia experienced. To do this, professional guidance is necessary. This is essential, especially if it has disrupted your daily life, KALMers!
If any of you KALMers are seeking professional counselling, you can use our KALM mobile application (link here) where you will be matched with one of our 200+ counsellors and professional psychologists who can help you overcome the issues you are experiencing. You can find out more about KALM here.
For S herself, a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) was very helpful for her to get our from her fear and trauma, even though she is not fully recovered yet. She still experience some insecurities but it is now on an acceptable level. The process was not short either, it takes up to one year. However, with a strong intent and commitment Se slowly able to overcome her phobia. S finally found the courage to fall in love and by the time this article is written is currently engaged.
If you are not yet ready or not yet able to receive counselling, there are a few things you can try in our following KALM article on philophobia.
Writer: Kalmselor Dwi Surya Purwanti, M. Psi., Psikolog (Kalmselor’s Code: DWI-888)
Note: You can counsel with Kalmselor Dwi through KALM by using Kalmselor’s Code: DWI-888
Editor: Lukas Limanjaya
Translator: Jessie Yunus
Atkinson, dkk. (2005). Pengantar Psikologi. Jakarta: Erlangga.
Meva Nareza. (2020). Terapi Kognitif Perilaku untuk Menangani Berbagai Masalah Psikologis. Di akses pada hari Kamis pada tanggal 10 Desember 2020 dari https://www.alodokter.com/terapi-kognitif-perilaku-untuk-menangani-berbagai-masalah.
Yan Nurindra. (2013). Forgiveness Therapy : Teknik Yang Dapat Diterapkan Di Berbagai Kasus. Di akses pada hari Kamis pada tanggal 10 Desember 2020 dari https://www.hipnotis.net/forgiveness-therapy-teknik-yang-dapat-diterapkan-di berbagaikasus/#:~:text=Forgiveness%20Therapy%20dapat%20diartikan%20sebagai%20terapi%20pengampunan.&text=Pengampunan%20terhadap%20pihak%2Dpihak%20yang,berbuat%20kesalahan%20terhadap%20diri%20klien.