Unnerving Human Like Figures
Have you ever entered a mall or passed by a clothing shops display window and turned away after being startled by the mannequins, your eyes closed tightly, wishing you had never gone that way?
Did you dash out of the department store, just as you took out your credit card to pay for the pink silk scarf your mother had mentioned she liked?
Even the sight of figurines on a cake may have stirred indescribable feelings that made you cringe, and you didn’t know why you felt that way.
Living under a constant shadow that threatens to tear you apart is nerve-wracking. Not to be able to explain what upset you when you were out with your friends and couldn’t accompany them through the museums sculptures area. Mannequins, figurines and even art sculptures put a deep fear in you!
Undeniably, your fear is real, but you can overcome it. You ask how? The answer is simple, first, you must understand it. After that you face it.
What is it All About this deep fear of mannequins or other human like figures.?
What Causes Automatonophobia?
Now when you look back, it must be hard for you to pinpoint where it all began. It could have been a scary movie that you saw when you were young. Or, it could have been a nasty prank your friends played with a doll or another human-shaped object when you were playing the Dark Room.
You’re not alone. Don’t worry. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety and phobia. Just like other phobias, this fear could have taken hold of you out of the blue. Maybe you felt uncomfortable around people with expressionless faces or those who, glassy-eyed, stared blankly into space. You could have perceived them to be inanimate, lifeless people, as they didn’t act ‘normally.’ That could’ve led to you developing this fear.
Everything you need to know about Automatonophobia
Had you merely disliked the sight of mannequins, dolls, or other human-like figures, that would not be a phobia. It is a phobia when your fear of mannequins and other such objects becomes so overpowering that you feel your systems are shutting down, you are anxious, and have difficulty breathing—that is Automatonophobia. That also includes the fear of statues, especially the fear of large statues. Fear of dolls, Pediphobia, is a related phobia.
The word, Automatonophobia’ comes from the Greek word ‘Automatos’ or ‘Autos’, meaning ‘self-acting’, and ‘Phobos’ refers to ‘aversion or deep fear’. So a deep fear of anything that resembles a human shape, like a ventriloquist’s dummies, would spark extreme agitation, even an increased heart rate.
Some people who suffer from this develop the fear that objects that move on their own can turn out to be harmful – for example, ‘I, Robot’ could cause the fear of animatronics.
Therefore, when you find that you are restless, cannot focus on what’s happening around you, feel nauseous and dizzy, that is your body responding to something it finds threatening. It’s your body’s way of defending itself.
Symptoms of Automatonophobia
Not all people are afraid of figures that resemble humans. Some may fear robots but may not get scared of dolls at all. Others are normal around mannequins but come to a wax figure, made to look exactly like a human being, and they would be disoriented as if someone had scared the daylights out of them.
If you suffer from Automatonophobia, you may experience various symptoms, either physical or psychological or both.
● Crying, running out of breath
● Racing heartbeats
● Dizziness, nausea
● Feeling of choking
● Hot or cold flushes (the feeling after running a lot)
● Sweaty palms
● Chest pain
● The feeling of living in another world
● Thoughts of dying
● You feel as if you’re being chased
● Panic attacks
● Anxiety attacks
● Living in constant fear
Autonomatonophobia can cause different symptoms in different people. Some would get panic attacks even just thinking about an incident. Your symptoms can even make you embarrassed about it. You may not feel like you can control it – which is only human. You cannot avoid seeing these humanoids (human-looking things) when you’re outside. So the best thing is to deal with these fears – and slay them.
When you get a fever, you take prescribed medicine to bring it down. When it gets worse, you go to the doctor, don’t you? Similarly, when you are afraid of something so much that it takes you over, you must try to help yourself– before it gets more serious.
Before getting professional help, analyze whether it is required. Ask yourself, “Can I eliminate this phobia, myself?”
Don’t give up. Keep asking yourself, “Are those non-living creatures going to hurt me?”
Try to distinguish reality from your thoughts. The more you think about it, the more you’ll believe it. So think that they’re harmful, useless pieces of marble, stone, wax, or metal.
Write Down Your Thoughts
Writing down your feelings in your journal takes half the pain away. What you want to do is for those anxious thoughts to come out in some form. And, when you write things down, you’re also hearing yourself out. With every word, you’ll end up asking yourself, ‘Is this possible?’ With time, you realize that it’s bigger in your mind than in reality.
Every time you face something unwanted, take deep breaths. It always helps. Deep inhalation sends greater amounts of oxygen inside and clears out the clutter. You’ll feel less shaky. Meditate by thinking of happy thoughts, your happy place to be, your favorite person, food, smells. Try thinking of a life without fear.
If you have someone you can trust, share your fears with them. Your mother, your sibling, or someone else you’re close to. Go to who you think understands you, first. The only thing that matters is that you conquer the fear, one way or another.
You can also consult your family doctor, who will guide you on what to do. They can suggest a therapist you can consult to go to. A professional would understand the science behind your fears, and even help you find out exactly how to deal with them.
They will use cognitive-behavioral therapy – this therapy helps you replace destructive or disturbing thoughts with more positive and realistic ones. The process has many goals that you need to fulfill, and the therapist will be actively involved in helping you reach your goals. That means you get homework to do between your sessions with them.
You may also go through systematic desensitization – where you have to come to terms with the cause of your fear. That replaces the fear response of your phobia and substitutes a more relaxed response instead. In the end, it teaches you to increase your control over your responses.
How To Overcome Automatonophobia?
Learning to Cope
Getting professional help will improve your phobia to a great extent, but then too, there are chances it may not go away completely. When that happens, you must continue to help yourself. Talking to yourself, writing down your feelings, or talking to a loved one can make sure that you’re in constant touch with how you feel. Even if you have gone down from having extreme anxiety to just mild annoyance looking at those objects, you’ve come a long, long way from your phobia. And that, my friend, deserves a pat on the back.
You should not put yourself under so much pressure. Appreciate all the great things about you, and what life has given you. The very fact that you’re here, reading about what you fear, is proof that you want to do something about it. And that’s very brave indeed.
Getting rid of this phobia is a long journey. And what do we do on long journeys? We remain patient and stay focused on our destination. That being, a happy life with no fears, no pain, and lots of confidence! The next time you enter a museum on a school trip or enter a toy store, you must be able to walk out with a smile on your face and memories to cherish.