Fear Of Changing Things (Metathesiophobia): Stages, Characteristics, Causes, Symptoms, Tips

The fear of changing things is called metastasisio phobia. It is often related to trophobia, which is the fear of moving. The origin of the word Metathesiophobia comes from the Greek ‘meta’ which means change and phobos which means fear.


Although many self-proclaimed “change agents” think that there is something inherently irrational, even pathological, about the fear of change, there are very good reasons why it has survived the incessant pruning of natural selection. All authentic change goes through four stages:

1.- Anticipation

2.- Regression

3.- Great advance

4.- Consolidation

  • Anticipation is the exciting stage of change in which we anticipate benefits and make our transformation plans.
  • Regression is when things get worse before they get better.
  • A breakthrough is when we finally see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
  • Consolidation is when we turn the benefits of the change into business as usual.


Terror is in the regression phase

  • Our fear is that this regressive stage will become permanent.
  • When we quit a high-paying job to start a business, we anticipate that having our own business will mean more fun and more money.
  • However, we must be prepared for a regressive stage in which we initially earn less money and have less fun than at our old job.
  • Our greatest fear is that if the business fails, this regressive stage will become permanent.
  • We ended up with the worst of both worlds; out of work and out of business.

It’s not change that people fear

  • We fear that the regressive stage of change is permanent.
  • As a result, we try to highlight risk by looking for a model of evolutionary and incremental change that skips the regressive stage.
  • However this is like waiting to change your golf swing without getting worse before you get better.
  • Stepping back to advance two is an essential aspect of change.
  • All authentic change is revolutionary, not evolutionary.


The fear of change is evolutionary in humans

  • Since time immemorial, man has liked routine. Our internal predispositions (heredity and genetics) teach us to resist change, mainly to “always feel in control.”
  • But the normal fear of change turns into a total phobia when it is irrational, persistent and very intense.
  • Personal emotional distress caused by many life changes can trigger such fear of change.
  • A child who has experienced moving multiple times in short periods of time or the death of a family member or loved one may also have experienced financial or lifestyle changes due to these changes.
  • This can lead you to resist any kind of change, even in adulthood.
  • Fear of being unable to adapt, fear of meeting new people, or fear of environmental changes can also discourage adaptability. Insecurity and guilt are other common emotions behind Metathesiophobia.

Symptoms of fear of change

As already mentioned, fear of change is a natural survival instinct ingrained in human beings. It doesn’t make us mentally ill, it just makes us more human. However, with extreme metastasis, life can become very difficult. It can have a negative impact on a person’s professional and / or personal life. Like many other phobias , metastasisiophobia is also accompanied by psychological and physical symptoms:

Thinking about changing or adapting to a new environment can lead to a panic or anxiety attack .

The phobia may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or gastrointestinal upset
  • Inability to form words.
  • Dry mouth
  • Thoughts of death, suffocation, and extreme fear.

Avoiding change is another symptom

  • The person who suffers rejects everything new. You create your “comfort zone” and you are not willing to step out of it.
  • Avoid introducing anything new to achieve this goal.
  • To avoid change, he / she may go to great lengths, break ties, tell lies, or make excuses.
  • This can affect your social, personal and professional life.
  • Often the phobic is aware that his fear of change is irrational.
  • However, he is unable to overcome it.

Tips to overcome the fear of change

  • Consciously relearning new behaviors to overcome the “change is bad” association is effective, though difficult.
  • The root of metastasisiophobia is deeply ingrained in the psyche.
  • To trace the roots, one can undergo hypnotherapy sessions .
  • This can help the individual face the source of their anxiety and relearn or erase the negative thoughts associated with it.
  • Once the roots of anxiety have been traced, gradual exposure to changes can also be used: this can slowly help to break the association between the change (stimulus) and the reaction to it (response).
  • Gradual desensitization of this type is very effective in making the individual feel more in control when faced with change.
  • Neuro-linguistic programming and behavioral therapies can also help overcome metastasistrophobia.

Group therapy, talk therapy, negative and positive thought writing, etc., are other techniques that can be used to rationalize fear.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.