How to stop being afraid of the dark: advice from a psychologist for children and adults + my experience of getting rid of fear

Hello! Lyudmila Redkina, a practicing psychologist, is in touch. Do you know the feeling of fear in a dark room? Doesn't a chill run down your spine when you walk down a dark street alone? Have you ever wanted to close your eyes in an unfamiliar dark room or instantly find yourself in a brightly lit room? The fear of the dark is something that has haunted me since childhood. In this article I will share my experience of getting rid of it. We will figure out once and for all how to stop being afraid of the dark and what methods effectively remove this fear.

What Lies Behind the Fear of the Dark

Behind the fear of the dark lies something that we do not know and do not expect. Can be compared with our life. We don't know what will happen tomorrow, and everything can change at any second. Imagine you are alone in the dark and suddenly an image of what you are afraid of appears in front of you. What are your plans? Are you planning to die right away or are you still resisting?

But if you know and understand your fear very well and believe with complete confidence that all evil spirits are the inventions of science fiction writers, you will not be afraid. And with complete confidence you will walk through the dark forest completely alone.

I’ll say it again, it’s not the object itself that we’re afraid of, but the fact that it may appear suddenly and greatly frighten us. And it seems to me that any person will be afraid if he does not have experience interacting with various ghosts, spirits, aliens and so on, what we are afraid of.


Why are people afraid of the dark:

  1. Hereditary factor. At all times, night was considered the most dangerous time of the day. Our ancestors were also afraid of her; at this time they could be attacked by predatory animals and enemies. The instinct of self-preservation makes us afraid of the night. Crimes are most often committed at this time.
  2. Poor vision and imagination. All people see poorly in an unlit room, and people with poor vision see even worse. Vision is the basic sense of a person. Without it, we feel unprotected and weak.
  3. Childhood psychotrauma. Horror stories, punishment in the form of loneliness in a dark closet, forced loneliness at home at night - all this can cause fear. Scientists note that children from single-parent families are more likely to suffer from nyctophobia.
  4. Overprotective or authoritarian parenting style. In both cases, the child grows up anxious, unsure of himself, and lacking independence.
  5. Psychotrauma from adult life. The root cause of a phobia can be any incident that happens at night at home or on the street, in a dark room.
  6. Suspiciousness, suggestibility, superstition. In the dark, objects are distorted, strange things and shadows appear. A person who believes in mysticism or has watched enough thrillers and crime news is afraid of meeting otherworldly forces or robbers.
  7. Mental disorders. With some neuroses and disorders, the boundary between fantasy and reality is blurred. A person is afraid of his own fantasies and hallucinations.
  8. Fear of loneliness. At night, people who live alone feel loneliness especially acutely. During the day they communicate with colleagues and are in the general flow of people. And at night they are left alone with their thoughts and fears.
  9. Fear of death. Darkness and sleep are two key associations with the word “death.” This reason is especially common among those who are sick or whose loved one died in their sleep.
  10. Chronic fatigue. Due to stress, lack of sleep and exhaustion, cognitive abilities deteriorate. Weakened vision and attention, a tired brain can come up with things that do not exist: sounds, images, actions. Sometimes this is how subconscious anxieties come out (the subconscious tries to draw attention to itself, to point out a problem to a person).

It is important! Children's fears are associated with a lack of maternal love and care. Psychotrauma may not be associated with darkness itself, but with the emotional coldness and cruelty of the mother. Both of these cause feelings of insecurity.

Do you need to get rid of your fear of the dark?

Let me ask you a question: Are you so afraid of the dark that you even sleep with the light on? If the answer is yes, then you urgently need to work through your fear of the dark. If you just feel uncomfortable in the dark and different thoughts come into your head. Can you bear it? In the second case, I think you don’t have to worry too much.

But with the first example we need to do something. And do it gradually, and not immediately rush into battle. Once I was visiting a friend in the village, and his grandmother was very afraid of the dark. So, when there was no one at home, she slept only with the light on. As a child, she saw something and since then she has not been able to overcome her fear of the dark. And I understand her perfectly.

Which people are especially susceptible

Now, in our wonderful 21st century, without caves and wild animals on the street, we no longer need nyctophobia to survive. Today this fear only prevents us from living. Very often people with an excitable psyche and a well-developed imagination suffer from it. And children, of course.

Oh, and people with an excitable psyche are a dime a dozen: the information raid on the brain, the fast pace of life, the influence of gadgets, physical and psychological - all this makes our psyche terribly excitable. So we get people who are afraid to go into another room. Plus there are a lot of different psychological traumas in childhood associated with darkness, and even in adulthood there are plenty of them.

What can you do to stop being afraid of the dark?

I'm looking for 5 people who want to feel comfortable and confident in the dark.

Do you sleep with the lights on...

Are you afraid to spend the night alone in your apartment...

You are sleeping under the covers and it seems to you that someone is looking at you...

If you recognize yourself, sign up for a diagnostic consultation with a psychologist

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