Metathesiophobia (Fear of Change) Makes One Maladaptive

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Metathesiophobia (Fear of Change) Makes One Maladaptive

fear of change can lessen an individual’s motivation to live/ Photo By traveliving via Shutterstock


Out of all the events that occur the most, change is the one that constantly happens. Even though people know that change is bound to happen as they progress in their life, they seldom expect it. Oftentimes, they may attempt to go against this change.

According to Stephanie Lyn, a life coach, humans are creatures of habit which is why most are resistant to change. Having a daily routine makes life more comfortable because the individual has an idea of what they will do and what will happen each day. However, when something unexpected disrupts their routine or when something unpredictable happens, this may induce fear in them.

Metathesiophobia or simply, the fear of change may go hand in hand with a person’s fear of the unknown.



Metathesiophobia is derived from three words which are “meta” meaning “change” in Greek,  “thes” meaning “setting” in Latin and “phobos” meaning “fear” in Greek, states It is identified as a specific phobia. says that the fear of change can lessen an individual’s motivation to live. People who suffer from this phobia may constantly feel as if they cannot manage their lives because of the frequent changes that keep happening. They may keep recounting their past and may also suffer from depression. Metathesiophobia makes them reluctant to move or change from the routine which they have eased themselves into.


Numerous reasons can cause a person to have an extreme and irrational fear of change.


Past / Blueprint

One of these reasons may be what they have experienced in their past or their blueprint in life. Having a specific way of experiencing life or learning reputation helps the person form a core belief. It is stated that core beliefs begin to be formed in a person’s childhood.

Since the brains of children are in the process of expanding and improving, it is easier to introduce ideas and beliefs to them. Conversely, since adults brains are fully developed, it makes it harder to teach them “new tricks”.

The way a person has lived their life from childhood to adulthood creates their blueprint. For example, if they have witnessed their father beating their mother and constantly barking orders at her during their childhood, this may lead them to believe that it is normal in relationships. This becomes their blueprint for relationships and marriage. Depending on their manner of living, they may either have a positive or negative blueprint.

When life contradicts a person’s blueprint or how they perceive things should be, they may feel depressed, stressed or afraid.


The brain is averse to uncertainty

A person’s brain often sticks to what it is familiar and acquainted with. When change becomes uncomfortable, it becomes difficult for the brain to accept it. It is mentioned that people may be prone to staying in unhealthy relationships or jobs because since they are so used to it, it has made them feel secure.


They have no trust in themselves

When a person feels as if they are just passively living and have no control over what happens to them, they become stuck with problems. This in turn makes them think negatively and makes them focus on the bitterness, stress and fear in life. This hinders them from starting over and making a new life for themselves.

Whether a sudden change is desired or has happened despite the person not wanting it to happen, they can decide how they react to this change. This can can either overwhelm them or help them see the bright side of the situation.


personal emotional distress may cause metathesiophobia/ Photo By file404 via Shutterstock


Other reasons

Heredity and genetics can be attributed to the development of this fear. Humans have been taught that they have to feel that they are always in control. The personal emotional distress associated with the major changes they had in their life may also cause them to be afraid of change. When an individual becomes afraid of getting acquainted with new people, being unable to adapt and having to deal with the changes in their environment, this can prevent them from being flexible. Lastly, they may fear change because it makes them feel guilty and insecure.



The signs that a person is affected by Metathesiophobia include:

1. Having panic or anxiety attacks at the thought of change or having to adjust to a new place

In the event that the person affected thinks about change they may experience extreme dread, have an increased heart rate, rapid or shallow breathing, shaking, sweating and may speak incomprehensible words.

2. Avoidance of change

The individual shows aversion for new things. They may be hesitant to leave the comfort zone which they have formed and will try to stop anyone from introducing new things to them.


psychotherapy could help people with metathesiophobia / Photo By Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley via Shutterstock


3. Going through great lengths to refrain from changing

In order to avoid the discomfort that comes with change, the person may try to come up with excuses, cut-off relationships or lie. Doing these things can impair their career as well as their personal and social life.

People who suffer from metathesiophobia know that their fear is irrational, but struggle with overcoming it.



Metathesiophobia patients are encouraged to try therapies such as counselling, psychotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming and hypnotherapy. They are also advised to write down their positive and negative thoughts linked to their fear of change to help them rationalize it.

It is also suggested that they find the root cause of their intense fear of change. After being able to recognize its root cause, they may try to gradually expose themselves to change. In the process, this will help them separate change, which is the stimulus and their response to it.

In order to conquer their fear of change, they must be able to learn little by little that it is inevitable in life. If fighting their fear of change becomes too difficult for them, they can always ask the assistance of a therapist or a clinician.



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