Do you spend a lot of time worrying that your partner is lying to you? Or do you find it very difficult to trust people around you? Do you often feel that people are being unfaithful to you and jump to sudden conclusions? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are probably suffering from fear of trusting people. This is also known as pistanthrophobia.
Living with pistanthrophobia is not a pleasant feeling. You may suffer from constant jealousy if your partner made any contact with a person from the other gender. Every time they are late from work or for a date, you would be inclined to imagine the worst case. You would feel that they are lying to you or cheating on you. You might even want a breakup.
People suffering from pistanthrophobia always seem to ruin their current relationship. This is because they harbor all the negative experiences of their previous ones. They are also are incapable of showing love and trust in their present partner.
What is Pistanthrophobia?
As mentioned above, pistanthrophobia is a condition that makes it extremely difficult for the person suffering from it to trust anyone. Expressed more intensely in romantic relationships, these people develop pistanthrophobia as a result of a negative experience in the past with a previous partner. Because their trust has been broken before and they were hurt, they find it impossible to entrust anybody with their trust.
In most cases, people with pistanthrophobia suffer through the problem due to bad experiences with prior partners or even friends and family members. These awful past memories keep haunting you for a really long time, ultimately resulting in trust issues.
The anxiety surrounding this irrational fear of trusting another person around you can cause serious damage to your future relationships, not only with a romantic partner but also at home and work. You are inclined towards feeling that everyone around you, at some point or the other, will either betray or disappoint you. This makes it extremely difficult for you to trust another person. And, you always live in panic of the past experiences being repeated.
“I will never be happy”, “I can never trust anyone but myself”, and “I will forever be alone” are some of the thoughts that will run through your mind at all times.
While these are some of the common traits of those who suffer from pistanthrophobia, how do you if you or someone you know is living with the anxiety of trusting people?
Let’s take a look.
7 Character Traits of Pistanthrophobia
Everyone suffers from some level of trust issues now and then in life. But it becomes serious if they suffer from it day in and day out, to the point that it affects their mental health and prevents them from being able to trust anyone. So, how can you tell if you or somebody close to you has pistanthrophobia?
Here are some common symptoms and behavioral traits of those suffering from pistanthrophobia:
1. Fear of trust
If you have been hurt or betrayed in the past, there is a very high chance that you developed a fear of trusting anybody again. This makes you think that every single person around you is out there to get you. You keep imagining the worst-case scenarios every time something good happens, and you assume that every time you chose to give your heart to someone, they are going to hurt you.
Such behavior, if not treated soon, can result in a chronic pattern of cold conduct towards everyone you ever come across in your life. In the long run, it will not only restrict you from getting close to others, but it will also prevent others from making contact with you.
2. Feeling jealous always
If you are dealing with pistanthrophobia, finding love could be a big challenge. And, even if you could look past the initial challenges of being with someone you love, you will keep worrying about your partner cheating on you.
This persistent need to check on him and watch your back won’t allow you to love your life to the fullest. Instead, it is going to result in paranoia and friction between you and your loved one.
People with these issues tend to often breach their partner’s privacy unintentionally. Snooping around their emails and phones is as intrusive as invading someone’s physical space. Avoid doing that as it may show your partner your lack of trust in them, and in turn, leave them feeling mistrusted.
3. Getting attached too much too soon
Contrary to popular belief, people with this phobia aren’t incapable of romance. In fact, they are quite the opposite in the sense that they live in a fantasy world, believing in fairy tale love stories, and wishing for them to come true.
However, as well all know, life isn’t a fairy tale. Human relationships are more practical than what we see in movies. So, unless you take an extra step towards making your love story a perfect one, it won’t happen.
That being said, the fear of rejection or anxiety of trusting people can often lead you to get too attached over a short period of time and require constant assurance and reminders from your partner that they love you. You expect them to be your lover, your best friend, your soul mate all at once without being rational that all of it takes time.
4. Overthinking everything
Is he really stuck in traffic or having a drink with someone? Is she really talking to her mother or is that a guy on the other end of the call? Overthinking every situation is a common trait for people with this condition. Even if you try and love someone with your heart and soul, this tenacious habit of over-analyzing everything will jeopardize your relationship.
It is important to remember that just because someone in the past broke your trust and perhaps cheated on you, it is not appropriate to judge everyone else who came after on the same parameters.
You must understand that your past does not equate to your future. And, that, if you relaxed a little and tried to trust people, life will be simpler.
Every time your mind starts to wander in a negative direction, pull it back by assuring yourself that your partner deserves a chance to be trusted. Believe them when they say they are occupied at work or have a certain emergency. Not everyone is trying to hurt you.
5. Assuming the worst out of everyone
Because of extreme trust issues and insecurities, you firmly believe that every partner you have will cheat on you. Your intimate relationships are filled with doubt and negative thoughts, which portray you as a people-hater or an isolationist to others.
Your past trauma obviously made a huge impact on how you see people and what you think of a romantic partner and life doesn’t feel simple anymore. You constantly have people stepping away, not because they want to break your trust but because it is tiring to live around so much negativity all the time.
At the same time, you find it challenging to meet new people or be at social gatherings. You feel that everyone, especially anybody you are romantically inclined towards, may take you for granted and leave you heartbroken.
6. Harboring self-doubt
Irrespective of why your previous partner cheated or hurt you, you have developed a habit of second-guessing yourself. Though it is not an immediate reaction, this trait develops if you have been deceived more than once.
You may feel that you are not good enough for your partner. You will be conscious of how you look, what you say, and how you act. If you see your partner talking to someone else, you would feel that they are more attractive than you are. And, you must also believe that your partner is going to cheat on you with someone who is better than you, leaving you all alone.
7. Not finding real love
Since you aren’t the one to trust someone easily, you already build a perception that no one is going to value you or love you the way they should. You find it impossible to imagine that real love exists, which makes it difficult for you to commit to a person or a relationship.
At any point, even when you are in a perfect relationship with your current partner, if they give you any reason to mistrust them, you tend to not give them another chance whatsoever. Everything you think or decide is based on your past traumatic experience, and that will drive even your closest folks away.
5 Way to Overcoming Pistanthrophobia
For those suffering with pistanthrophobia, it’s important to remember that it can be cured. Though it may take time, there is a way to deal with your trust issues and prevent them from adversely affecting your life.
1. Acknowledge your triggers
Everyone has that one thing that triggers these negative thoughts in them. Try to find out what they are and work towards eradicating them gradually.
2. Heal Yourself
Jumping from one bad relationship to another may often leave you drained and broken. Give yourself time to heal. Overcoming a trauma that is deep-rooted in your consciousness is a step by step procedure.
3. Seek therapy
Therapists often help you get to the bottom of your problems and offer you insights and tools you need to overcome your trust issues. They may even encourage you to sign up for a dating app and meet new people when you are ready.
4. Get rid of your baggage
Leave the past behind and start your new relationship with an open heart. Remind yourself that one bad experience doesn’t have the power to dictate your entire life.
5. Instill positivity
If it’s difficult trusting people due to past trauma, it is imperative that you change your thought patterns and adapt positivity. It may seem hard at first, but this is something you have to work on every day. Once you set yourself free from negativity, life would feel simpler and better.
Some of these issues are more serious than they seem and can result in peculiar, anti-social behavior. Such patterns can leave you with nobody. Such isolation is worse than feeling cheated and can cause serious emotional damage.
Anxiety, trust issues, and negativity are some of the common results of past traumatic experiences, especially romantic relationships. However, they should not be allowed to take control of your lives. Work towards your mental and emotional well-being every day and keep affirming yourself that it is a good life.
Namrata Singh is a dentist turned writer and clinical researcher. Eager to learn about anything and everything, she is what you would call a jack of all trades and master of none. With a zeal for reading novels, books and anything she could get her hands on ever since she was little, she embarked into a writing career purely out of luck. After indulging in a freelancing career for nearly two years, she can now write on anything - from dentistry to decor, travel to technology, medicine to management - but psychology remains her first love. Having dealt with mental health issues in the past, she hopes to raise awareness for the same and help people with her work in association with The MindFool team