Fear of dolls – Pediophobia. Pedophobia is the unwarranted, irrational, and persistent fear or worry of the dolls. It is a specific phobia that belongs to “automaton-phobia.” This is a type of phobia in which the individual is afraid of all humanoid or “human-like but not quite” objects, including mannequins, puppets, ventriloquist dummies, wax figures, cheerleader or robotic figures, etc.
The word Pediophobia originates from ‘Paidion,’ which means ‘little child’ in Greek, and ‘Phobos,’ which means deep fear or dread. Many adults with pedophobia are known to fear young children as well.
Some pedophiles are afraid of all types of dolls, while others are only afraid of specific types, such as dolls that talk or walk, china dolls, stuffed dolls, etc.
Dolls are children’s toys. Little girls are primarily known for loving dolls and pretending to play with them, which can help foster imagination and creativity. Naturally, it is a matter of great concern to parents when their young daughter starts screaming at the sight of dolls. Although most cases of childhood pediophobia disappear once the child has grown, in some cases, however, this fear can persist even into adulthood.
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Causes of Pediophobia or fear of dolls
Like any other phobia, pedophobia can also be triggered by an intensely negative or traumatic incident in the past or childhood of a remotely connected person to the dolls. The young mind forever associates dolls with trauma and remembers the negative feelings then experienced.
Dolls, especially voodoo dolls, are associated with witchcraft. Burning voodoo dolls to bring misfortune to an individual was a common practice in the past. For a person already suffering from disorders nervous or anxiety, all the dolls represent evil.
The dolls have fixed eyes. Some dolls also have button eyes that appear as “soulless pools without any corpse-like emotion.” This can make younger children especially afraid of them.
The dolls have been portrayed in a negative light in pop culture. Many horror movies (Chucky in Child’s Play) and novels (Althea, Stone Dead, etc.) have portrayed dolls as evil or vile characters that come to life to cause harm to humans. This can induce fear in young or overly nervous minds.
Naughty older siblings or friends etc., can also unknowingly instill fear of dolls in the minds of younger children, telling stories of beauties that come to life at night.
Symptoms of Pediophobia
Whatever the cause of the fear of doll phobia, there may be intense emotional upheaval and turmoil in the mind of the person suffering from it. Some people may experience a panic attack when they see a doll. And others live in constant fear of dolls. The following physical and psychological symptoms may be present in the phobia:
- Fast breathing
- Elevated heartbeat
- Dry mouth. A feeling of being suffocated to death
- Shaking, shaking
- Freezing in situ
- Cry, scream, try to run away, etc.
Some phobics experience a total anxiety attack in the presence of dolls, including store mannequins. This can be pretty embarrassing and debilitating enough to affect the normal functioning of the individual.
Treat and overcome the fear of dolls.
Hypnosis and desensitization therapies are the two most popular ways to overcome the fear of doll phobia.
Desensitization or gradual exposure therapy consists of slow exposure to doll phobia. They can start by looking at pictures of dolls, reading books, watching movies about dolls, etc., until they can remain calm in the presence of beauties without having an anxiety attack. A therapist usually does this, or it can be done at home with the help of close friends and loved ones.
Hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy, and behavior therapy aim to reprogram the child to help him rationalize fearful thoughts about the dolls and turn them into positive reviews.
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.