“It is hard to fail but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Everyone wants to be happy, right?

You’re constantly wishing and/or praying that whatever problems you have in life go away, right? And yet, there’s a feeling, an emotion, that what if you achieve what you want and you fail at maintaining or preserving it?

The medical term for that feeling is cherophobia. In layman’s terms, it means “fear of being happy.”

Cherophobia, of course, does not stem from a love of misery. It may appear that way sometimes because pain is often romanticized in works of literature. The poetry of the jilted lover, the death of Romeo and Juliet, etc. is all good for a classic tragedy.

However, that’s not what cherophobia is. Cherophobia certainly does not equate to someone who revels in their own distress. Rather, it’s a form of pessimism and/or a reaction to moments in your life that should have been of utmost joy but ended up leaving you more traumatized than before.

One of the most common elements related to that is relationships gone sour. Most people don’t go into a relationship, especially a romantic one, thinking it’ll go bad. But as we all know, separations, divorce rates, the statistics of “broken” homes all keep going higher and higher.

Maybe at one point, when you were younger, you met who you felt at the time was the love of your life and eagerly got together with them. But either slowly or quickly, that relationship became toxic.

Now, it’s not that you don’t crave for companionship. It’s not necessarily that you cherish solitude above everything else. It’s just that each time you see sparks flying with someone, your mind drifts back to the toxic relationship. You fear that this will end up the same way too.

Perhaps you’re a writer and you submit your work to be considered for publication. If the first few responses were all rejection letters, you might be tempted to never submit again because you think you can’t handle any more rejection.

In short, cherophobia leads you to believe that you’d rather be in your current unhappy state than to get good news only to find out you’ve been misled. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t.

So how can it be treated?

There are several methods. First and foremost, many psychologists agree that exercises of mindfulness can be very beneficial. Mindfulness, of course, is learning to be in the present moment. Doing so can help minimize the fears of the future or the traumas of the past. For more on mindfulness techniques, check out my article exclusively on this subject here.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is another recommended practice. CBT helps you identify specific thinking patterns that may be bringing you down and help reduce their influence on you. According to an article on http://www.PositivePyschology.com, CBT involves a treatment known as Exposure Therapy which helps people confront their fears rather than avoid them.

Other proven treatments according to the said website are journaling and physical exercise.

There are two important factors that are crucial to keep in mind if you have cherophobia:

Firstly, you’re definitely not alone. The term itself is not alluded to very often simply because it’s not considered a clinical phobia as of this writing. But the symptoms of it are very common, especially in people who are battling mental health issues.

And secondly, cherophobia doesn’t have to keep you from being happy ever again. It can be, and has been, treated successfully. Never lose hope. It’s the only thing that keeps us going during difficult times.

Have you ever suffered from cherophobia? Have you ever neglected an endeavor just because you thought it would lead to failure? Do you know anyone who has cherophobia? What do personally think can be done to overcome it? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below on our secure servers.

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Hi, I'm Neel! I'm a writer (fiction and poetry), a journalist and currently working in the advertising business. I'm also a mental health advocate, having been diagnosed with clinical depression a few years ago.
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