The word Allodoxaphobia can be considered a derivative of doxophobia though both words have contradictory meanings. Where doxophobia stands for the fear of expressing opinions, Allodoxaphobia is the fear of hearing other people’s opinions. The word Allodoxaphobia comes from Greek ‘allo’ meaning different, ‘dox’ meaning opinion and ‘phobos’ which comes from the Greek God of fear.
People with fear of opinions phobia live in constant fear and anxiety of hearing people’s opinions about them. They often realize that their phobia is unfounded and irrational, yet they are unable to overcome it. As a result, they place many restrictions upon themselves. The fear of opinions phobia might strike at any age: not only adults, even young kids can be afraid of being on the receiving end of people’s opinions. As the fear becomes deeply imbibed in their consciousness, they tend to stop answering questions or participating in any activities as they are afraid of people’s judgment. Allodoxaphobia falls under the category rare and unusual social phobias. This phobia can isolate the sufferer greatly and can especially hamper one’s professional life.
Causes of Allodoxaphobia
While there are many Americans who fear not being able to voice their opinion, a small portion of the population just does not want to listen to other people’s opinions. The trigger for the opinion phobia is usually same as the triggers of other social phobias: negative or traumatic episodes in the past. Caregivers, teachers or parents are often responsible for triggering the phobia in a growing child. Words of caution or criticism constantly meted out to a child might lead to regular suppression. An abused or traumatized child is also more likely to develop Allodoxaphobia.
Usually, passive or sensitive people who fear criticism and reprisals are most likely to suffer from Allodoxaphobia. They might have experienced criticism in school or at work that causes a response triggered by the amygdala (a part of the brain). The mind then triggers the same response over and over when it deals with a similar stressful situation. It does this so as to protect the individual, who then, to prevent the response, tries to avoid hearing opinions about him.
Media can also trigger the fear of opinions phobia. Having access to materials in print, graphics on TV or social media etc can cause extreme panic in some anxious individuals.
Some other (intrinsic) causes of Allodoxaphobia include hereditary factors or genetic causes.
Symptoms of fear of opinions phobia
An Allodoxaphobic individual suffers from many symptoms, both physical and emotional. These folks are simply afraid of listening to feedback of any kind. It literally causes a full blown panic attack that includes:
- Sweaty palms
- Accelerated heart rate, rapid and shallow breathing
- Feeling sick, nauseated
- Feeling angry when an opinion is expressed-no matter good or bad
- Flight or fight response- trying to avoid all situations where an opinion might be expressed.
- Insecurity, lack of self esteem
Naturally, such people might become socially withdrawn, might be even depressed to an extent. They might avoid situations at work and in general miss out on many opportunities and promotions.
Overcoming and treating the fear of opinions
Once the root cause of Allodoxaphobia is known, a therapist can help the individual have a more controlled response to the triggering factors. This is usually done through therapies like talk therapy, Psychotherapeutic counseling, group therapy, systematic desensitization, hypnotherapy etc.
However, the hardest part of overcoming Allodoxaphobia is that the person might refuse to seek therapy in the first place. Family members play a crucial role in getting him/her to agree to it. The phobic should be encouraged to express his/her opinions while loved ones must exercise caution and express their opinions very gently. Small exercises may be undertaken to ensure that the person is able to handle opinions in small doses gradually increasing their onslaught until the person is ready and confident enough to handle them without having panic attacks.
Treatment for Allodoxaphobia often tends to be a long one. The sufferer and his/her family members must show high level of patience and remain hopeful throughout the duration of treatment. Therapies like meditation, Yoga and other alternative mind-body therapies must be included alongside conventional treatment to completely overcome the fear of opinions phobia once and for all.
I am pretty sure I have Allodoxaphobia. This is because, as stated above in the article, an abused or traumatized child may have this or have developed this in the early stages of development. I was always told never to get a B or below, or I would get scolded. I was always thrown around as a child, and if I didn’t do something right, I would be hit. Recently, I was cooking in one of my Home Economics classes. A girl named Lili was walking by as I cooked over-hard eggs, and I cracked the yolk. She gasped because the yolk had slid a bit in the pan, looked me dead in the eye, and said something like, “Uh oh.” I told her to go away, and I almost cried because her opinion made me very angry and upset. My friend came to me in my 7th hour and asked why I was angry. I told her why and she said my thought process on that was irrational, and so was my reaction. That made me even more upset, so I told her to go sit down. My little sister also teases me as if she is bullying me. So when she talks to me as if I am smaller than her, it makes me really upset, especially if someone sides with her on the teasing. I do talk back to her when she almost finishes talking because it makes me feel bigger than her. Many people may think the fear is irrelevant or irrational for me to have it, but I truly think it is not irrational. I also hate when my teachers tell me their opinions, especially their bad ones. I have even gone so far as to hide any C’s or below from everyone in my family to not get scolded or hit. Do I have this fear?
I think my husband has this. The thing is, I can’t do anything without him thinking an opinion is coming. It means he makes it look like I’ve been critical or about to be. He expects to be given an opinion that judges him – this comes from nowhere. For example – I ask him to look for something in the fridge while I cook. He sees a judgment coming if there aren’t any of the ingredients and then gets all high pitched and feels the need to defend his position that ‘he doesn’t know what I get for groceries and he didn’t get asked to buy any. A simple example, but it’s all the time. I didn’t care if there wasn’t any or expect that he’s responsible if not. I’m a nervous wreck trying to avoid this. I just want to do everything alone.
The big picture is that I run our entire lives. I think of every meal – he seems to state I’d not like his suggestion. He does nothing I don’t ask or leave a list for. He says that he expects I’ll tell him he’s wrong/rubbish or failed. I’m tired. My stomach is in knots, and I can’t make anything change. It’s exhausting awaiting him to make me make him right and me being cast as some sort of hypercritical loon.
He may have been subject to excessive/harsh criticism during his formative years, forever leaving him with a feeling of necessary defensiveness. An overriding need to avoid further censure would explain any traits of passivity: he’s so busy defending himself (or preparing to be attacked by anyone, at any time) that he has no time to think about much else.
It has nothing to do with you, nor does it excuse any mistreatment/neglect he may show towards others.
Hello. I’m not sure if I have it. The thought of anyone thinking bad about me scares me and does so I can barely do anything. In public, I’m scared to look at an item I’m considering buying because of what people might think of me, and I’m scared to do so many things that might be normal to do in public. And around people, I don’t do many things that others might do, like watch things with audio in the middle of class, talk about what I like, etc. Basically, doing anything but sitting alone with headphones or in my room watching something can scare me. Even commenting on a video or a stream can scare me and make me worried about what people will think of me, even just liking a video. Do I have this phobia, or is it something else?
Same as me, but right now, I am aware of it. So yeah, we have that problem, and we are going to solve it.
I don’t really know if I have this phobia or not. When someone’s opinion is really critical, mean and rude, especially when it’s towards my loved one’s or the things that I love, I start to get angry (I also have anger management issues). I start to shake and it ruins my whole day and I start to overthink it. It mostly gets better when time passes but it still bothers me. Do I have allodoxaphobia?
I am 20 years old now and I am still suffering from allodoxaphobia. This has caused me many problems like I am a shut out neet who is afraid of people’s opinion on me. I have lost my confidence. The burning passion that I had when I was younger has completely been destroyed. I cleared high school and I didn’t even join a college. I am jobless right now. I don’t know when I will be getting back on my knees? With head held high I want to be proud of myself and I want to have my confidence back. Alas, it’s so hard to change yourself.
Hey mate, I hope you have gotten some needed help to cure it, please stay safe.
Go to the gym and work out! Or join a team sport club. Sport is a confidence booster. DO IT
I was unsure if I had this at first, but you just described my exact situation to me.
Mohammad Rasel says
I think sometimes expressing something on a public platform makes me afraid. Anyway, since I could not let it ruin my life, I came up with a strategy for myself. First, I ask myself some questions. And those are: Why should I do it? What would be the worst situation if I did that task disregarding people’s opinions? And what would be the best situation if I do that? And then compare both of the answers. I hope it will get better soon. Best of luck.
You’re just 20 years old. Pray for it. You will be fine.
Charles Cockington says
I was in a lengthy relationship with someone who may have been affected by this. She was literally paralyzed by fear of confronting anyone who may have a dissenting opinion of her, or getting into any situation where someone may have a disagreeable opinion. She was a constant people pleaser, perfectionist, overachiever, and usually had very low self esteem. She talked negatively about herself very often and that is what came between us.
It is like having someone verbally attack your loved one all the time, except they are doing the attacking themself. It’s next to impossible to combat that.
Even though there was plenty of evidence to the contrary of her negative stories and narratives, she would not accept any of it. I looked this up after thinking how much this reminded me of the type of irrational behavior of a friend I grew up with who had a similar phobia.
I am a very open, opinionated, problem solver who is not afraid of confrontation or getting problems into the open, and I think this became a nightmare for her. I am sharing in case it helps someone else.
Thank you for sharing this. It has given me insight to my son’s problem. He hasn’t been diagnosed but what you said fits perfectly. He even stays off work for lengthy periods. I appreciate your sharing. Thank you
Hmm! Everything said tilts towards me. The cause mostly is when one is being caged when you are small. No exposure whatsoever and you will grow up with that experience and you can’t have a discussion with peers. Making presentations becomes a challenge, analyzing a scenario calls for shaky hands. I am looking for a quick way of getting out of this cause it’s impeding on my professional career. I feel so handicapped when I want to analyze something and I cannot. Although once in a while I can communicate without hindrance but most times it’s the other way around.
I’m a 17 year old female and I didn’t know this was a thing. Everything that I read was a fact for me and on point. I feel like I developed this because of my traumatic past. My family always controlled me at a young age. Some for reasons and some for really no reason. As I was already going through harsh stuff at a young age I felt like I couldn’t be my own person and experience anything. Everything they ask or say I just obey and say okay. I’m scared to say no. I’m scared to have an opinion on something or anything. That’s why I give up and just stay quiet because of what they might think and it’s bad communication when I do that. With my parents it’s that or if I try being “myself” I feel like I’m not being obedient and I act like the person they want me to be. I feel like I have no control. I get sad, I’m just lost. I’m scared to have friends and being in a relationship because I’m scared of simply being judged being me. Opinions give me nausea and anxiety and that I’m being controlled because I can’t say anything. I’m trapped in my own head.
This is so true. I just realised I had this now. I knew I’m not being normal because opinions bother me too much. The panic attack is true. I get really high/irregular heartbeat rates as if I have done a cardio, but doesn’t feel that good at all. Plus it feels like my mind is going to explode by rethinking it over and over till I can’t sleep or focus on anything else. That’s why I’ve started to meditate and exercise so that I don’t waste my time pondering over social media comment/feed I didn’t like.
I have a question.. When I hear people arguing or angry, I become sad and think that I must hurt myself. Sometimes, I cry. When I hear teachers or family nagging, I’ll become sad too. Is it a phobia??
It could be Angrophobia – the fear of anger
Jannah Vincent says
I have a question. is this the same as stagefright? Because, I have stagefright, and I keep feeling people are silently judging me. Like, is that the same?
No, not at all. Allodoxaphobia is so severe that you could literally start having a panic attack at just the thought of someone’s opinion. The fear of being on stage is glossophobia.
I’m exactly the same