Tyrants and Those Who Fear Them
Do you feel like something bad will happen to you if you interact with someone cruel or oppressive? Have you ever felt uncomfortable when watching movies or reading books that involve authoritative tyrants?
Do you worry that our leader or leaders will move towards or become tyrannical?
If the thought of being around someone tyrannical triggers your fight or flight response, then you may have what is known as tyrannophobia — a fear of tyrants.
It can be hard to explain why demands from authority figures, families, or partners put you in a defensive state. But this phobia may cause you to feel constantly on edge when you’re around someone you view as tyrannical.
However, you don’t have to lose hope. You can work to gradually overcome your fear of tyrannical figures. And a major part of dealing with tyrannophobia is understanding where this fear stems from and its symptoms, so you’ll be better equipped to overcome it.
What Is Tyrannophobia?
Like other phobias, tyrannophobia is a phobia based on irrational fears and thought patterns. But this fear of tyranny or dictatorship has some real and tangible basis. It can be an all-too-real fear depending on the socio-political environment a person is living in.
A tyrant is essentially someone who is cruel and oppressive and holds excessive power while disregarding the comfort, well-being, and rights of others. It’s natural to be wary of such a person, but when that turns into intense fear or disdain, it can become a problem.
Besides, given the current political and social unrest, it only makes sense if your natural caution about tyrannical figures has worsened to a point of becoming a phobia.
So, while understandable, tyrannophobia can still be stressful and difficult to live with.
And since tyrannophobia doesn’t land too high on the list of phobias, it can be a bit tricky to diagnose.
The causes of this fear can vary from genetic to environmental. More often than not, phobias are rooted in childhood experiences.
Did you have a strict teacher or a cruel parental figure who treated you badly if you didn’t adhere to their demands? Perhaps you had a tyrannical boss at your first job who left you feeling defeated. Your tyrannophobia may be rooted in any of these situations.
Meeting tyrannical people, undergoing traumatic experiences, or even just learning about tyranny throughout history can all lead to a development of fear of tyranny. It can create a deep-rooted distrust in authority figures, whereby you may feel threatened, anxious, panicked, or helpless, even when they are not a direct threat to you. When these feelings intensify to a point where you feel paralyzed by fear, it can be considered a phobia.
Symptoms of Tyrannophobia
The symptoms of tyrannophobia can vary from one person to another and generally include both psychological and physical symptoms.
- Feeling helpless or not in control
- Uncomfortable or defensive when asked to follow instructions
- Intrusive thoughts connected to tyrants
- Hot flashes
- Racing pulse
Self-Help Tyrannophobia Treatment
Self-help strategies can be very effective for managing tyrannophobia. They will not only help your anxiety resulting from the fear but also help you feel more in control of yourself and your reactions to situations.
Meditation, yoga, positive visualization, and deep breathing can all help regulate your nervous system, which can be beneficial in managing tyrannophobia. These relaxation techniques can help manage your stress and anxiety response by reducing muscular tension.
These methods also help reduce the psychological symptoms of tyrannophobia by alleviating stress. You will be more grounded and in control of your body and mind, allowing you to feel confident when facing a tyrannical figure.
Professional Help to Cope with Tyrannophobia
Self-help techniques can be effective, but they can only do so much if your tyrannophobia is severe. In such cases, you might have to consult a mental health professional to learn ways to better cope with tyrannophobia.
A mental health professional will typically help you develop healthy coping mechanisms that allow you to control and manage your phobia. This will reduce how severely you are impacted by a triggering situation and enable you to regulate yourself better. Therapists often use different strategies to improve your resilience, reduce your fear, and encourage you to alter your perception of tyrants.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common approach used to treat phobias. The therapist will guide you to identify and challenge the negative thought patterns and beliefs associated with tyrannical figures. It can help you realize that you are in control of a given situation and that an authoritative individual may not actually have any power over you.
Exposure therapy can be an effective option when performed under the guidance of an experienced professional. It involves gradually increased exposure to your fear triggers — in this case, a tyrant — until you develop resilience. This form of therapy will slowly increase your tolerance while your discomfort, fear, and anxiety surrounding a tyrant will reduce. Your phobia will eventually become more manageable as you are slowly exposed to it more.
You can also try mindfulness meditation or hypnotherapy to better cope with your tyrannophobia.
When coupled with self-help, professional therapy can go a long way in reducing the overall impact that tyrannophobia has on your life and your mental health.
Coping with Tyrannophobia
If your tyrannophobia fear becomes severe, it can impact your overall quality of life. Thus, it is always better to seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid letting it get out of hand.
You may not be able to completely avoid situations or individuals that trigger you, but you can minimize your exposure and reduce the risk of making your tyrannophobia too problematic.
This includes limiting exposure to social media or news that triggers your stress and anxiety, avoiding confrontations with authoritarian figures, and seeking supportive and positive relationships with encouraging individuals.
Self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and getting restful sleep can also be helpful for managing stress. You can also try to set firmer boundaries and learn to say no to individuals that make you feel triggered.
Tyrannophobia can gravely impact your life. If you perceive your boss, professors, parents, or other authority figures as tyrants, it could cause problems in the workplace or while pursuing your education.
However, as is the case with all phobias, it is possible to manage and cope with tyrannophobia over time. With patience and care, you can overcome your fears and live a happy, fulfilling life!