Kenya Foy
September 14, 2017 1:07 pm
Ben White / Unsplash

Struggling to make up your mind about which dress would look the cutest with your new fall boots is one thing, but if you suffer from decidophobia, or the fear of making decisions, the situation goes far beyond your typical bout with casual indecisiveness.

When you’re a highly sensitive person, you may take forever and a day to make a decision. Or when you’re unsure about what to you with your life, you might temporarily retreat into the wilderness to avoid making decisions. That’s not really what we’re talking about here. Those with a legitimate phobia simply cannot reach a conclusion on their own regardless of the circumstances.

According to Forbes, Princeton University philosopher Walter Kaufmann became the first to use the term “decideophobia” to describe the condition in his book Without Guilt and Justice. Unlike some other irrational fears, decidophobia is “isolated,” which means it has less to do with social factors and more to do with a general fear of failure or childhood trauma.

If you simply cannot make a choice and insist on having someone else do the decisive deed for you, it could be a sign that you have decidophobia.

1The mere thought of making decisions make you panic.

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The symptoms associated with decidophobia mimic those of other anxiety disorders. They can present as panic, avoidance, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, dry mouth, excessive sweating, and more. Yeah, it’s no joke.

2You allow other people to make decisions for you.

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Most people welcome input from family and friends they trust when it comes to making decisions, but they utilize external feedback in a way that doesn’t threaten their autonomy.

By contrast, if you have decidophobia, you can’t bear the thought of making a choice. As a result, you’re more likely to engage in co-dependent relationships where you willingly allowing others to take over and make the final call on decisions that should be in your hands, regardless of the potential outcome.

3You avoid even the simplest decisions.

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No matter how minor the choice may appear to be, you still become overwhelmingly anxious when faced with deciding on something. Even choosing an outfit or deciding what to eat can be an insurmountable task.

4Your quality of life suffers because you can’t decide.

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Perhaps you isolate yourself and neglect critical health, financial, and emotional issues due to the paralyzing fear of making the wrong choice.

5You don’t understand that refusing to make a decision is actually doing what you fear most.

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A Psychology Today article that expounds on how fear is holding you back explains, “Fear keeps many second-guessing themselves into avoiding decisions whenever they can. Of course, no decision at all becomes a decision!”

Choosing to give up your right to decide may feel like you’re handing the reigns over to someone else, when in reality, it is a decision within itself.

According to All About Counseling, there are several routes you could take to treat decidophobia that include medication to alleviate the effects of anxiety, exposure therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy in which a professional can help you learn to release the attachment to outcomes, while guiding you to reconstruct and improve your decision-making skills.

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