What is Syngenesophobia?
Syngenesophobia is the irrational and abnormal fear of family relatives. This fear may become focused on particular family groups in the manner of a feud, be expressed as a fear of any and all relatives, etc., in a highly individual manner. This fear may express as a singular fear of family gatherings or of meeting relatives for the first time.
Syngenesophobia is also spelled “Syngenescophobia”.
The Greek root words 'sy' plus 'gen' means 'same line of descent' or 'heredity' and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'
Symptoms of Syngenesophobia
Extreme Anxiety, Dread
- Shortness of Breath
- Rapid Breathing
- Heart Palpitations
- Excessive Sweating
- Dry Mouth
- Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
- Lack of Focus
- Feelings of Powerlessness
- Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
- Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
- Avoidance Behavior
Causes of Syngenesophobia
Syngenesophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated 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, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.
Syngenesophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.
Poor family relationships in the past are certainly key indicators, but are not required for this phobia to form. Specific problems with particular relatives are not required and broader, generalized factors such as “teenage rebellion” can be a root cause in the sense that a teen may want to escape adult scrutiny and judgment, etc.
Treatments for Syngenesophobia
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Habit Strategies To Relax
- Cognitive Therapy (CT)
- In Vivo Exposure
- Response Prevention
- Group Therapy
- Energy Psychology