Fear of Bums and Beggars

Individuals who are down on their luck financially are often referred to as bums and beggars. These may not be flattering terms or even entirely accurate, but it does cause many to have a perception of the individual. Some will feel a sense of compassion and empathy. Others will ignore the individual or avoid them entirely. Signs read, “Will work for food” and some will eye the individual with suspicion. There is also another emotion that can be linked to these individuals – Fear. This fear is known as Hobophobia and in a down economy the fear can escalate.

In some countries the sight of panhandlers is very common. The same is true in many American cities. The homeless population rises when jobs are hard to come by.

What Causes Hobophobia?

On the greatest instigators of fear in this case may be stereotypes. You may have had parents that by example taught you to avoid contact with ‘those people’. You may never have been sure what was wrong with them, but a fear seed may have been planted when you were very young.

Added to this might have been a personal encounter with a bum or beggar. In their destitute state you may have seen them steal from others or rob a home – perhaps your own.

You may see pictures or documentaries about homeless people and obsess about what it might be like to be that poor. You may gain a fear of this segment of the population simply because you wonder if you get too close to them if their plight might become your own. You may also believe that they may rob or pick your pocket if you come in contact with them.

Symptoms of Hobophobia

As with most fears the hobophobe will go out of their way to avoid any potential contact with an individual they consider a bum or beggar. They believe the individuals to be a threat to their existence and find it difficult to empathize with them.

Other symptoms may also include:

  • Elevated heart rates
  • Air hunger
  • Temporary, but elevated body temperature
  • Crying
  • Screaming
  • Running away
  • Trembling
  • Fainting
  • Nausea

The hobophobe may agree the plight of the homeless is a terrible thing. They may even supply cash through an organization to help, but their fear makes it virtually impossible to engage these individuals on a personal level.

How to Overcome Hobophobia

This fear may respond well to gaining an emotional picture of what homeless people have to live through. The loss of many things in their life along with the humiliation of having to ask for help can be difficult. By understanding the homeless a person may be better equipped to gain feelings other than fear for this segment of the population.

Therapy may provide another benefit in that you can begin to learn why you experience the fear in the first place. You can learn what is was in your past that has allowed you to feel the fear today.

The fear of bums and beggars is also referred to as:

  • Bum fear
  • Beggar fear
  • Hobophobia
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