The fear of ruins, or ruin, is known by the Latin term, Atephobia: people with this phobia will exhibit intense and persistent anxiety when faced with old buildings or ancient ruins, such as those found in Rome (the Parthenon, etc.). This phobia can also deal with the fear of ruin, from a more personal perspective.
Reasons For Atephobia
We will examine both components of this common phobia here, beginning with the fear of ruins.
When someone develops a phobia about old, crumbling buildings, etc., they may perceive some danger to their personal safety. Ancient or dilapidated structures will seem like death traps. The person with Atephobia will take pains to avoid entering buildings they perceive as unsafe or too old.
Some examples of buildings and ruins that will be avoided will include the Parthenon, a temple built to honor the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, Athena. This ancient Greek temple is visited by tourists in great numbers, but its slightly shabby beauty and imposing (yet crumbling) columns will evoke fear in those with Atephobia.
Ruins Can Be A Reminder Of Mortality
For those with Atephobia, ruins like these can be symbols of death, and painful reminders of the fragility of human life. The panorama of history is one reason why people visit the ruined city. For Atephobics, this overview into destruction and natural disaster may be a potent trigger for their most intense fears.
The fear of ruins is rooted in fear of death. Mortality is impossible to ignore when faced with stone that has been ravaged by time. All things eventually erode and decay, and this truth can be difficult for the Atephobic to face. Usually, the feeling of being unsafe around ancient ruins also contains some element of tension about the fleeting nature of human existence.
The Other Side Of Atephobia
Those who fear ruin on a more personal level are also thought to suffer from Atephobia. They may obsess over their reputations, and their financial security, fearing reversals that leave them destitute and at the bottom of society’s pecking order.
In our present economy, the fear of financial ruin is all too common. Many people have suffered immense financial setbacks due to foreclosures, bankruptcies, and the tighter rein on credit that currently exists in American and world markets.
People with Atephobia will be reluctant to take financial risks that might backfire, such as investing in mutual funds, playing the stock market, or other forms of financial speculation. They will feel safer when their savings are close at hand.
Secrets And Double Lives Can Act As Triggers
From the standpoint of reputation, people who fear ruin will be very worried about the effects of their own conduct – in the workplace and their personal lives. They may have secrets, or live a double life that makes them paranoid about negative exposure. Some people may have sexual habits that are outside the mainstream, practice infidelity, illegal substance abuse, or some other secret habits that make them fearful.
Therapy will help the person who fears ruin, or ruins, to look within, and find ways to relieve stress when triggers arise. It will be easy for the person who fears ruins to avoid ancient buildings, etc., but it can still be helpful to speak to a qualified mental health care professional about the fears they have. For those who are afraid of personal ruin, some proactive steps can be taken to soothe anxiety. Financial planning, rehab, paying attention to sexual health, etc., can be excellent ways to regain control over Atephobia.