Fear is a powerful emotion and if you are experiencing the extreme fear of success, then there is probably nothing holding you back more in life. While the fear of success phobia (Achievemephobia) may seem weird to many; it is actually a very real social phobia. It can make things difficult for the phobic: from getting hired, messing up one’s relationships to making him/her a prisoner in this situation.
The fear of success phobia is very much like the fear of failure: both prevent the sufferer from dreaming and achieving his goals. It might seem weird to fear success; after all what can be more appealing in life than it? However, a little bit of digging in the phobic’s mind shows that fearing success is natural to him, simply because he is not looking for any change. He is so comfortable in his current situation that he wants to continue to live the life despite hating it. Often, the individual might be afraid of success owing to the fear of inability to handle fame or wealth it brings.
It might surprise you to note that Many CEOs and presidents of banks have been known to have Achievemephobia.
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Causes of Achievemephobia
As stated above, several phobias can be linked with the fear of success phobia- it is closely related to fear of failure. One’s success is naturally bound to be displeasing to others around himr. Success has mixed results: it can bring fame and money but it comes at a cost such as envy, jealousy, hurt, notoriety, limelight etc. This knowledge can cause deep fear in the minds Achievemephobic. Other reasons include:
- Fearing getting what one wants and being unable to handle achieving this.
- The dread or deep fear of success is usually deep rooted. A person may be exceptionally talented yet s/he may have a long list of underachievement. This becomes a vicious circle in that; s/he refuses to set goals.
- Shy, introverted people or people who do not like limelight might suffer from Achievemephobia.
- Getting ahead of friends, colleagues, and close family members can be intimidating and threatening: one might fear breaking ties with these people.
- Parents unknowingly instill such fear in their children’s minds. Comments like: “Do not study so hard, you will tire yourself” or “Even if you do not get the first place, we will still love you” etc can also deter a child from setting goals. One fears feeling that losing the parents’ love and hence deliberately fails in order to get it.
- The fear of success phobia often stems from guilt or self doubt. Success comes with responsibilities which can lead to fear.
- A child who has always listened to comments like “You will not succeed” might carry the belief well into adulthood, undermining everything s/he does.
Symptoms of fear of success phobia
Fear of failure and fear of success phobia are often related and have the same anxiety symptoms. Achievemephobia is an unconscious phobia: often an individual is unaware that he has it.
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- People suffering from Achievemephobia are not able to handle success: they might go on a spate of self destructive behavior: drinking, drugs, sex etc and end up losing all that they have achieved.
- Many refuse to set goals in the first place.
- Often after getting success in a business, one closes it down or does something that is incompatible with one’s character or against one’s good sense.
- The need to escape self awareness can lead the phobic to drug use or alcoholism or even drive one to suicide in extreme cases.
Fear is natural. To overcome the fear of success phobia, one must first accept it; even consider the fear a gift. Writing down one’s thoughts and changing negative into positive ones can be a great self-help technique while dealing with this phobia. Positive visualizations, meditation and deep breathing upon facing an anxiety attack related to thoughts s associated with success are other self help remedies.
Hypnotherapy is another effective way of dealing with this phobia. It can help dig deeper into the mind of the phobic to pull out the imagination associated between success and failure.
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Behavioral therapies and medications can also be taken to deal with anxiety and depression accompanying Achievemephobia.