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My new friend is 56 and never been more than 50 miles away from home. He is terrified. Why?

By Anonymous May 13, 2010 - 5:28am
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He is also terrified of spiders. We like each other a lot, but there is no way I could ever plan a future with someone who won't travel. He wants to go, but the fear is deeply ingrained.

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Welcome to EmpowHer, and thank you for your question!

Fear can be caused by different things. People have phobias -- fear of heights (acrophobia), for instance, or fear of being trapped (claustrophobia). Fear of spiders is a common one, called arachnophobia.

In terms of your friend's fear of travel, though, it could be more complicated. Do you know why he has this fear? Has he been able to tell you why he thinks it is there? Did he have a bad experience earlier in his life?

Does your friend have a full life otherwise? Does he work, go out of the home, enjoy himself at activities?

Your friend's fear could be related to agoraphobia, which can mean a person is afraid to leave their home or their "safe place," whatever that is. There's also hodophobia, which is a more direct fear of actually traveling, often caused by a traumatic event in the past. People affected with this may fear losing their way, losing control or that something bad will happen while they are traveling.

The good news is that many, many people can overcome -- or at least learn to manage -- their anxieties or phobias. You mentioned that your friend wants to travel, but is just scared to. Has he ever sought therapy for help with this?

May 13, 2010 - 10:07am
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