Once bitten by a snake, you’re scared of a lizard. After 10-plus Tinder dates, I understand the phobia of men. This is what you need to know about androphobia.
There’s a reason why I’ve been single for so long. I haven’t had a legitimate boyfriend in years. I want to say it’s because of men, which it is, but it’s also because of my own developed fear of men. Also called androphobia.
I don’t fear them in that I think they’d physically hurt me. I fear that they’ll mentally or emotionally hurt me. And of course, whenever I’m about to put my guard down, this makes me wary.
Androphobia: Your guide to understanding your phobia of men
However, my fear gradually developed in my twenties, unlike other women or men who’ve feared men from childhood. This fear comes from viewing men as a potential threat.
Though many people outgrow this fear and end up in healthy relationships, many also experience it into their adult years. While different for everyone, here are some of the main factors of androphobia. But remember, everyone is scared of something.
#1 It’s Greek. “Andras” is the Greek for man and of course “phobia” means fear. Androphobia essentially is the exaggerated and unreasonable fear of men. People with androphobia see mostly all men as dangerous.
#2 This fear doesn’t come from nothing. Fears do not just come out of thin air. If you’re scared of the dark, when you were a child maybe someone scared you while you were sleeping. Now, you always sleep with a light on. You probably don’t even notice it, but this is a fear developed from a traumatic event.
There are a few ways to develop androphobia:
–Caused by trauma. Sometimes when we experience something traumatic, it’s left in our system. What happens is that parts of the brain such as the amygdala and hypothalamus “learn” to re-make the response of the fear, for when it happens again.
So, for example, if you see a spider for the first time and you scream and run away, the brain learns that this is the way to respond when you see another spider. This works the same for androphobia. Usually, women who have this fear have been sexually assaulted or raped. Thus, the negative experience they had with a man develops this fear.
-Learned behavior. If a woman lives in a male dominant and aggressive environment, this could also contribute to her fear of men. Since men are both physically stronger and dominant in society, this could have a negative impact on a woman, instilling fear.
-Genetically inherited. Surprisingly, the fear of men could also be inherited from parents or close family members. If someone in the family has a history of anxiety or phobia, then this is easily transferred to children, thus, developing a fear of men as well.
#3 How do you know someone has androphobia? Of course, they’re not going to be wearing a huge sign that says, “I’m terrified of men.” In some cases, you won’t even notice that they act oddly around men. If they have this fear for a while, many learn to adapt and cope when they have to be around men. [Read: Dating anxiety: 7 stages of first date panic and how to calm them]
-Physical signs. Physically, the signs of androphobia are similar to those who suffer from anxiety. They may show signs of sweating, increased breathing, pain in the chest, fainting, and nausea. You may not be able to identify it right away as androphobia, instead, they look like they have a panic attack.
-Mental signs. These mental indicators may be easier to connect with androphobia. Or if you think you have androphobia, here are the mental signs you need to look out for.
a. You imagine terrifying situations with men frequently.
b. You can’t control your thoughts about men.
c. You feel deep fear of men.
d. You’re scared of being around men.
-Emotional signs. When you encounter a man or placed in a situation where you must speak to a man, how do you emotionally feel both during and after the encounter? If you experience these feelings, you may have androphobia.
a. You want to run away when you’re in a situation involving men.
b. You have a feeling of being unsafe and scared when you encounter a man.
c. You constantly think of the worst possible scenario when you talk to a man or think about men.
#5 Androphobia prevents you from developing. Your fear of men is more serious than you think. Androphobia prevents you from progressing in your life, meeting a man, having children, etc.
Many women with a serious case of androphobia end up unmarried and without children, not because they don’t want this but because their fear overcomes them. [Read: Understand the fear of trusting someone]
#6 It leads to depression. Androphobia very much leads to depression and a lost feeling. This fear ruins your daily activities such as sleeping, eating, socializing. What happens is that with androphobia, you revert back into yourself and stay away from the outside world.
#7 You can get help. You don’t want this to take over your life. So, if you notice your behavior changing or someone you know that has it, it can be stopped. Therapy is the best way to overcome androphobia.
There is no drug to cure this fear because it is a mental issue. It needs to be deeply examined and discussed with someone who’s highly trained. There are various types of therapies for androphobia such as exposure therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, neuro-linguistic programming, and hypnotherapy. [Read: Emotionally stable: How to find your zone of perfect calmness]
#8 Be patient. See which form of therapy works the best for you. Don’t get discouraged if you tried exposure therapy and it didn’t work. Everyone heals differently. Be patient, it takes time, but it’ll be well worth it.