We all want to be understood. We want others to be able to identify with us – perhaps even develop a friendship with us. We use words to communicate our similarities and talk through our differences. For most, language is a great equalizer and allows us to connect with others on a daily basis. Using our voice gives hope that understanding will follow. However, there are those who fear the act of speaking. This phobia has been named Laliophobia.
An individual with this fear may not fear the act of communication, but may only be fearful of actually using their voice to accomplish the act.
What Causes the Fear of Speaking?
This fear can originate when an individual has been ignored. If the individual feels no one will listen they may conclude it is to their advantage to simply remain silent. When this becomes normal it can become a fearful thing to actually speak. This same scenario can be true if the individual was made fun of because of ideas they expressed through words.
A trusted adult who feared speaking can also be a model for the fear in adult children. It can become much easier to simply listen and not be responsible to participate in a conversation.
Some who have this fear may actually grow to fear what their own voice sounds like. They may obsess about it for so long that when they do use their voice it sounds strange. It may even sound to the phobic as if it is not even their own voice, which may further heighten the fear.
What are the Symptoms of the Fear of Speaking?
An individual with this fear will avoid speaking altogether. In their trusted circle of friends they may feel comfortable writing their responses or composing a response on the computer. Because this is a sensitive issue for the phobic individual they may have a secondary social phobia because they may be afraid of being in a place where they might be expected to respond verbally. Ironically they may thrive in communicating via the Internet where voice is not a consideration.
Other symptoms may also include…
- Air hunger
- Elevated heart rate
- Control loss
- Urge to flee
The role of fear in our responses should never be minimized. These responses can be a telling signal of a problem we may be incapable of dealing with on our own.
How to Overcome Laliophobia
Sometimes this fear starts as an obsession and then grows because our own voice sounds foreign to us. A therapist can help us understand why we fear, where the fear comes from and how we can determine the way in which we respond.
Because communication is so vital to life it is important to be able to reestablish your ability to speak to others comfortably. The longer you wait the greater the fear can grow. Additionally that fear can blossom into additional fears that can leave you frustrated in a world in which communication is difficult.
The fear of speaking is also referred to as:
- Speaking fear