Fear Of Being Ridiculed

The fear of being ridiculed is known as Catagelophobia. Few people get through life without being mocked or teased, but most are confident enough to cope with it: for those with this phobia, being laughed at is one of the worst things that can happen to them.

Are Your Afraid Of Being Teased?

The fear of being ridiculed may begin in the formative years, when exposure to harsh criticism or abuse can wound a developing psyche. Children who don’t get the affirmations and love they need to build self-esteem will often retreat into themselves.

Ridicule Can Warp The Personality

Sometimes, malignant personality disorders, such as narcissism, can form in a child’s mind, leaving a lasting legacy that often “dies with the host”. Not all children who are belittled become narcissistic, but there is a connection between personality disorders and improper parenting and guidance during childhood.

Some Bullied Children Develop Narcissism

With narcissism, the child seeks control of their environment through malignant self-love, which is comprised of grandiose, haughty behaviors that act as a defense mechanism, cloaking a malformed and fragile ego. Fantasies of ideal romantic relationships, unlimited success, fame, and recognition will take the place of realistic attachments and achievements.

Sadly, the narcissist can become a “user”, and will be quite devoid of empathy, since they experienced so little of it in childhood. Many killers and criminals have narcissistic personality disorder, which often coexists with Borderline Personality Disorder, and/or Antisocial Personality Disorder. This clumping of disorders can produce a dangerous human being who enjoys hurting others, or taking advantage of people. They will not have a developed conscience, but they can mimic those who do…very cleverly.

Humiliation Can Become A Malignant Force

Serial killer Ted Bundy grew up with many gifts, such as good looks, intelligence, and charm. However, during childhood, he discovered that the woman he thought was his sister was actually his mother.

He viewed this discovery as deeply humiliating, and he felt it was a betrayal of his trust. While his mother was kind and loving, she grew up in a time when there was harsh judgment regarding getting pregnant out of wedlock, and so the deception, done out of love, continued.

This sense of being humiliated seemed to mark Bundy’s psyche, coloring his attitude towards the female sex. Later, when a girlfriend dumped him, he began a horrific series of brutal, animalistic killings that seemed fueled by his feelings about the opposite sex. Ted Bundy was likely an antisocial personality, a narcissist, and totally devoid of remorse regarding his victims.

Other People May Withdraw From Cruelty

Some children who grow up feeling ridiculed do not become cruel. Rather, they shrink from cruelty and seek to avoid it. Bullying and ridicule leave scars on the inside. Children, or adults, who suffer from these may be prone to other psychological disorders, such as avoidant personality disorder.

Ridicule And Avoidance

People who become avoidant will do so because they fear others. Bad experiences with other people will cause them to become hypersensitive and alert to slights that may even be imaginary. With compassionate therapy, a lot of progress can be made, but first, the person with this phobia must be willing to reach out. However, the avoidant personality type finds it very difficult to take those first steps.

Dealing With This Phobia

If you feel frightened of ridicule, for valid reasons such as bullying, you should reach out to someone you can trust. Rather than bottling up sadness and even anger, you should find a safe outlet for your feelings. Try to remember that you are not alone. Some of society’s best and brightest have suffered through all manner of teasing and ridicule, and they have gone on to successful, creative lives. Taking the first steps through confiding in a parent, friend, or counsellor can really provide some perspective, and you may be able to find ways to improve the situation.

We all deserve respect and kindness. When we don’t get this, our personalities may change. It’s important to understand that you are exactly as you should be, and that some people are simply hardwired to inflict cruelty on other people. Try not to blame yourself for the shortcomings of bullies.

Help Is Available – Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out

If you are young, consider calling a kid’s helpline or talking to a teacher. If you are older, work on your own self-esteem, through therapy, exercise, creative hobbies, and relationships. Remember, life often changes in an instant, and the pain you feel when you are ridiculed may someday soon become only an uncomfortable memory.

Here is an example of a free Kid’s Helpline in Buffalo, NY, which provides help to children who feel bullied or abused: 1-877-KIDS-400

Look for other numbers in your area, or just call this number if you need help.

The fear of being ridiculed is also referred to as:

  • ridicule phobia
  • ridicule fear
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