What is Mastigaphobia?
Mastigaphobia, also known as poinephobia, is the irrational and abnormal fear of punishment, and is classed as a specific phobia. Childhood normally includes the concept of punishment, from parents or teachers, etc., but the phobic develops an extreme fear of punishment well beyond a "healthy respect for authority" etc. While avoiding bad consequences is entirely normal, the mastigaphobe will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid and consequences that mnight be interpreted as "punishment". Simply put, the idea of “pleasure and pain” will push people towards pleasure and away from pain. Mastigaphobia often begins in childhood following extreme or repeated parental interventions, etc. This phobia might be linked to learning disabilities as well, in the sense that failures in school may lead to acting out and consequences. Mastigaphobia it is also spelled “mastigophobia". The origin of the name is the Greek word "mastigo" meaning "to whip or flog".

Symptoms of Mastigaphobia

  • extreme anxiety, dread
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • heart palpitation
  • excessive sweating
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • confusion / inability to articulate clearly
  • lack of focus
  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • shaking
  • feelings of powerlessness
  • obsession with the subject of the phobia
  • fear or feelings of losing control
  • avoidance behavior
  • headaches

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Causes of Mastigaphobia
Mastigaphobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Such phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance. Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.) It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.) By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”. In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies. Mastigaphobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias

Treatment for Mastigaphobia

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Habit strategies to relax
  • Cognitive therapy (CT)
  • In vivo exposure
  • Response prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments

Book Shelf

The list of books below are hand picked by the staff at Massive Phobia. It's a mixture of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Strategies, Trauma Healing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhist Knowledge and Somatic Study. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.