Fear of Glass

At one moment glass establishes boundaries. It keeps the cold from coming in and keeps us from falling out. At another moment glass is fragile and can easily break with the shards causing a potential for personal harm. The fear of glass is known as Nelophobia.

A car is surrounded by glass, but a nelophobe can only think about the potential for harm should the vehicle come in contact with something that could cause the glass to shatter in on the passengers.

What Causes Nelophobia?

As with most fears therapists can often track this phobia to a traumatic event involving glass. This can be something that was personally observed, discussed among others or happened personally.

For instance if a person who lives with nelophobia saw someone fall through a window or was ejected through auto glass in an accident they may be understandably traumatized by the memory. That memory when entertained long enough translates to a full-blown fear of glass.

When a similar incident happens personally the fear is amplified and may be a fully vested fear almost immediately after the event takes place. Treatment of the fear early on may provide the best opportunity for a relatively quick reversal of the fear.

Symptoms of Nelophobia

Some who fear glass will have difficulty riding a glass-encased elevator. They may not fear elevators, but the overriding fear of glass may make it seem this is true. They may have trouble riding in vehicles or looking out windows. Again, it might be believed that they have a fear of windows, but the root cause may be glass.

Other Symptoms
  • A rise in body temperature
  • Air Hunger
  • Anger
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fainting
  • Loss of bodily functions in severe cases
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks

These symptoms can become more acute if the individual does not have someone close by to help them through it with empathy and compassion. When someone who has a phobia is made fun of during an episode it can be embarrassing, but it can also potentially enlarge the fear and symptomatic episodes to an even greater degree.

How to Overcome the Fear of Glass

The presence of a powerful phobia is becoming more pronounced in our culture. People will often make fun of what they don’t understand. This often intensifies the fear in many.

Overcoming fears can come from multiple sources.  In my own case I could be very fearful of windows. My wife and I were on the way to the hospital for the birth of our son when a hailstorm hit on our way there. It totaled our vehicle, but it also broke out windows and showered my wife and I with glass. This was a difficult experience for both of us, but we were able to talk about it and work through it together. Many who experience this fear may not believe anyone would understand. That can make overcoming the fear more difficult.

Recognizing the fear early and seeking help may be the best way to overcome this and most other fears. Sometimes a support group will provide enough help to get through the fear while other times a therapist may be a better option.

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