Pistanthrophobia: What It Is and How to Get Past It

A woman who learned what is pistanthrophobia, sitting in her bed alone thinking about the phobia.

Do you constantly worry what your partner is doing and who they’re with? Do you often assume they’re being unfaithful and find yourself jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst case scenario? Do you naturally doubt potential dates in general and believe people are virtually incapable of being trustworthy anymore? If you’ve answered yes to the above, then chances are you might have pistanthrophobia.

Pistanthrophobia is defined as the, “fear of trusting people due to past experience and relationships gone wrong.”

You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, no kidding,” because if you’ve ever suffered from a broken heart then it makes sense that you might be gun shy when entering a new relationship. While it’s normal and healthy to be a little cautious when getting to know someone, pistanthrophobia brings mistrust to a whole different level, and can possibly interfere, and also sabotage, your relationships.

Pistanthrophobia replaces caution with obsession and an insane amount of distrust, which incites insecurity, jealousy, and an exaggerated sense of cynicism. From demanding commitment too quickly in relationships to assuming people are out to hurt you, pistantrophobia makes it practically impossible to have a healthy and happy relationship.

If you think you have pistanthrophobia, or can relate to the mistrust behind it, here are some suggestions on how you can overcome it.

1. Start each connection with a fresh mindset.
It’s important to remember that not everyone is like your ex. While it’s easy to bring in past baggage and issues into new connections, if you’re looking to start fresh with someone new then you really must do exactly that. If you’ve been hurt by one person, or a number of people, assuming you’ll encounter the same result is a programmed knee-jerk reaction that probably feels safe to you. If you keep thinking someone will ultimately hurt you, then you can’t really be hurt, right? But that mentality doesn’t serve you or any potential new relationship. Projections only end up poisoning relationships. Your new connection deserves to be given a chance to prove themselves to you. Close the book on your past, and allow this new person to show up for you.

2. Change your patterning.
In order to allow someone to show up for you, it’s key to change your patterning. For example, if you tend to think of the worst case scenario, like, “My boyfriend didn’t text back because he’s lost interest in me,” switch that with a positive thought, like, “My boyfriend didn’t text back because he’s busy at work. I’m sure he’ll text back when he can.”

Reprogramming your mindset is hard, but it’s worth it. Not only does it breathe new and positive energy into your relationship but it also lessens your own anxiety. At the end of the day, people are going to do what they’re going to do anyway. While you can’t control others, you can control your own responses. Allowing yourself to feel peaceful and positive about your relationship allows you to put more energy into yourself than your partner, which is always a good thing.

3. Learn your lessons.
Often when we’re betrayed by others there were a number of red flags that popped up that we chose to ignore. While it’s easy to blame the other party for their transgressions, it serves you to take responsibility for your part in the breakdown of the relationship.

Looking back, was there something that you would’ve done differently? Was it trusting your instincts? Communicating your needs or desires to your partner? Asking more questions? Take those lessons and move forward with them so you can make better decisions in your new relationship.

4. Give yourself time to heal.
After a traumatic breakup, it’s important to take a timeout from dating and heal from your pain. Otherwise you run the risk of rushing into a new relationship and causing more pain, and then more distrust. Everyone’s processing timeline is different. Honor yours and start dating again when you feel like you’ve arrived at the place where you’re ready to meet and accept someone new.

5. Go to therapy.
If you still feel like trusting another person is an impossible feat, then you might want to seek therapy. Therapy can help you get to the root of the issue and provide you with tools and insights on how to overcome what’s hindering you from trusting someone.

After a bad breakup, the natural reaction is to put up barriers and try to protect yourself from ever opening up to someone new again and trusting them with your precious heart. But in doing so you could miss out on the bliss of spending your life with someone who’s not only amazing, but who would never misuse your trust. Don’t let the ghosts of your past prevent you from finding love again. They might’ve disrupted your trust, but they don’t have to disrupt your happy ending.

Brianne Hogan

Freelance Writer

Brianne is a Canadian freelance writer who’s been writing about dating and relationships longer than any of her relationships. She applies a “do what I say, not do what I do” approach to her articles, and believes you can find Your Person mostly when you aren’t looking. So enjoy your life, and eat lots of cheese (at least that’s her motto). Her byline’s been featured on Thrillist, The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, Elle Canada, Flare, Awesomeness TV, among others.

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