I’m afraid to really feel happy
Do you find yourself avoiding social commitments, parties or events where you might have “fun” out of the fear that if you get too happy, it would be followed by an unpleasant unhappy moment?
This is what people with a fear of happiness or Cherophobia experience in their life. They have this thought process due to a variety of reasons. The traumatic events, physical and emotional can have such a strong effect that it can overshadow other important but powerful events. Individuals tend to make false associations between the unpleasant event and the “happy” situation that preceded it. The unpleasant event may have been so traumatizing in nature that they blame it on the “fun” they had before it happened. For e.g.: A child soon after his 8th birthday fractured his leg while riding his bicycle. The experience was impactful enough for him to notice how he lost his wallet the same day he won a scholar award in high school.
This faulty association between being happy and punishment makes the individual fear happiness. A person with Cherophobia isn’t constantly sad but participating in new events or events where he/she will be celebrating a success makes the individual feel uneasy.
What a person needs to overcome this fear is to learn to gain insight and change perspective about their past. Through psychotherapy, one can understand the causes and hope to unlearn the negative associations between happiness and pain/punishment.