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Commitment Phobia

Some people are too conscientious in their words and deeds -excess of gentleness is also bad. They attach too much importance even to their casual remarks and commitments and become overly conscious after making them.

The term commitmentphobia—with no space or hyphen - was first coined by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol in the year 1987 in their New York Times Bestseller, Men who Can’t Love. The phrase 'commitmentphobia' gained currency and popularity in American jargon in just one year. As a result, the subtitle of the book was changed to include the word "commitmentphobic."

As the title of the book suggests, the term was coined primarily in the context of making and redeeming commitment in keeping dates, or maintaining long term relationships in love, marriage or otherwise.

The fear of commitment refers to the lack of confidence in maintaining a long term romantic relationship. The lack of confidence converts into avoidance and finally into phobia. The irony of the commitment phobia is that the subjects crave for what they fear most: love and connection.  The more they wish to meet and love the person, the more confused, diffident and fearful they become of successfully executing their meeting plans. They get trapped in a web of confusion and indecision, which in turn, generates a self-destructive pattern of seduction and rejection. The whole experience is emotionally exhausting and devastative. A majority of victims of this malady consists of males who wish to maintain a façade of bravado, charm and manliness in presence of their female friends, but imagine themselves inadequate enough to rise to the occasion when the moment comes. The problem, according to documented evidence, is widely visible in their female counterparts as well. The fear of maintaining a commitment is not confined to romantic relationships only. It is often much more pervasive and can extend to any area of human interaction and relationships.

The fear of commitment is rooted in the consciousness of lost options or poor decisions. The commitment phobics take even their normal and casual remarks and commitments very seriously and are always apprehensive of their consequences. This is the reason why they find it very difficult to arrive at a decision fearing it may prove wrong or that they may not be able to stick to it or implement it. The commitment phobia generates two conflicting feelings.  The subjects, on the one hand, avoid their  obligations, duties, responsibilities, relationships and connections with certain persons and on the other hand they may also secretly crave for their intimate company, want to rise to  the occasion in a particular situation, or take advantage of the decision.

When they are driven to the extreme in this conflict between two emotions, it is the commitment phobic’s fears that win out. Commitment phobics want freedom from responsibilities above everything else. They keep fantasizing over the reality. Commitment phobics want to achieve results without performing their obligations.

Though not considered a debilitating fear, commitment phobia extends over almost all areas of life. Sometimes the commitment phobia becomes so overpowering and pervasive that it affects the simple everyday decision-making process of the subject. It interferes with their ability to manage and maintain the regular flow of life.

Another cause of the commitment phobia may be a deep seated inferiority complex. The affected persons resort to escapist fantasization and building castles in the air. They become prone to self-destructive behaviour. Both these tendencies are called active and passive commitment phobias. They suffer from the pushes and pulls of both the tendencies. They continue postponing their decisions on one excuse or another. When forced to make a choice they almost freeze in panic

Personality wise the commitment phobics usually are enneagram types 7s, 6s or 4s which implies that they tend to be involved in pull push behaviour. According to this scale the 7s tend to be more "active" phobics while 4's tend to be more "passive."  

 

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Quotes from the team at Phobias:

There are two steps in solving a problem.  Believing you can solve the problem and solving the problem.  Once you have established belief you are more than half way there.

You may not always find happiness from your actions, but you will never find happiness from inaction.

 

 

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