It is likely you have lost control at some time in your past. When you took time to relive the experience and remember the response from others it can instill a fear of losing control again. Just the mere thought of losing control of ‘freaking out’ can cause some to move into a a fight or flight mentality. This fear is often called Agoraphobia, which is the same term used for the fear of embarrassment.
The primary meaning of Agoraphobia comes from Greek root words meaning the ‘fear of the marketplace’. Public gatherings can cause many to assume they are losing their sense of control over their environment.
What Causes the Fear of Losing Control
I alluded to a cause at the very beginning of this post. When an individual does something that is outside what they expect from themselves or what they may think others expect from them there may be a profound dread at the real or imagined loss of control.
We can all lose our temper from time to time or become less inhibited and say or do things we later regret. When we recognize these actions as a lack of control we may feel it is very important to always stay in control. The fear of losing control happens when we feel the pressure to never fail. This pressure runs counter to an inner belief that we will lose control at some point. That belief in turn causes intense fear that can’t be negotiated or bargained with.
This fear may also be related to an attachment disorder. What that means is that the individual may only feel comfortable in a place they determine to be a safe zone. Anxiety grows if they have to leave their ’safe’ environment. It is possible in some cases to have an individual who can function very well in a town they have known for a long time and consider safe. However, leaving that town for travel can create enormous stress and anxiety that may surprise others.
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Signs of the Fear of Losing Control
Most individuals who have this fear do not feel comfortable in large groups. As fearful as it may be to lose control of your emotions, physical body or even bodily functions when you are alone it becomes especially painful to consider something similar happening around others.
What some may view as shyness or even arrogance may actually be a protection mechanism against this fear.
Other signs include…
· Feeling of being trapped
· Can’t seem to get enough air
· Extremely irritable
· A desire to flee
· The urge to cry or scream
· Rapid heartbeat
· Panic attacks
· The feeling you are losing your mind
This is one of the more debilitating fears because those who have this fear do not trust themselves and so the fear cannot be avoided and the fear isn’t confined to a particular time of the day so there may not be a specific time frame when the fear naturally lessens.
How to Overcome the Fear of Losing Control
This fear has multiple treatment methods. One of the most popular interim therapies is through anti-depressant medications that help alleviate some of the anxiety. This is generally followed with a variety of therapies including cognitive therapy, relaxation, exposure treatment, hypnosis and eye movement desensitization and reprogramming (EMDR).
Self help support groups and online forums can also provide a safe environment to help discuss this fear and offer the encouragement needed to work though the fear.