Fear of Dependence on Others

Most parents want their children to learn how to become independent so that when they are on their own they have a better understanding of how to engage the world with confidence. There are those, however, who take independence to an extreme level. These individuals are not only self-reliant but also fearful of ever needing to rely on anyone else. Their fear is known as Soteriophobia.

If a child has taken to heart the idea that they are to live completely independent once they reach a certain age they can embrace the concept to such a degree that accepting help from others is something they may believe is not acceptable. These individuals can seem abrasive, but their reaction may be based in fear – not in a lack of gratitude for the generous offer of help.

What Causes Soteriophobia

A parent might stress the importance of living on your own. They may even go so far as to insist that you leave their home following graduation or a birthday. While this is often designed to be a tool to help you make choices for your future it can also mean the feeling that you are all alone on the world and that it is impossible to rely on others. In fact, this can advance quickly to fear because you may determine that you are the only one you can trust with your own future.

To rely on others might be thought of as a weakness or the result of an order disobeyed. Perhaps the greatest fear associated with Soteriophobia is the fear of failure. In order to refrain from failing many people will insist they can handle all pressures on their own.

Symptoms of Soteriophobia

An individual who has this fear may be more than reluctant to receive help – they will refuse the help and may become angry if there is an insistence in helping. They will attempt to do the most difficult tasks alone and will express no need for help of any kind. They will attempt to move from one location to the next on their own and they will work at managing home and car repair on their own.

Other symptoms may include…

  • Frustration
  • Trembling
  • Screaming
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Elevated heart rate

The term belligerent may be inappropriately assigned to a persona who lives with Soteriophobia. Their insistence that you do not help is not intended as an unkind gesture they are simply afraid of what might happen if they accept the help.

How to Overcome Soteriophobia

The truth is this may be one of the most difficult fears to treat because in order to get help you have to admit a need. For those who live with this fear they would rather do almost anything besides admit they have a need.

That being said, a therapist can help you determine why you have the fear and why the fear is based on a lie. No matter who you are there will always be a need for help from others. We are created for interdependence – relying on others while we work to reach our own personal goals.

The fear of dependence on others is also referred to as:

  • Dependence fear
  • Soteriophobia
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