Weird Phobias email

Weird Phobias email

The following is an email correspondence between myself and “Marie”, a listener who messaged me via Facebook.   She gave me her permission to post this.

Marie
Please have a show about weird phobias. I have a fear of answering the telephone  along with a lot of other anxiety and depression.
Paul
I will keep that in mind. Can you tell me more about your phone phobia? Is it related to some trauma or uncomfortable moments from the past around the phone?
Marie
I think my phone phobia started in the 4th grade. I was a very shy child and had a teacher who made each child get up in front of the class and pretend to talk on the phone to practice phone etiquette. My relationship with my dad was like yours with your mother. I always had an uncomfortable feeling with him from a young age though his behavior never really crossed the line. He did things like always kissing me on the mouth or rubbing my legs saying how pretty they were. I remember once he called me and my sister into the bathroom ( I was in the 4th grade then also) and said look what I can do. He had a wash cloth over his penis and raised the wash cloth up over his erection. Moving ahead he and my mother divorced in my teens and my siblings and myself had to take care of my mother emotionally. He would call frequently and I would be afraid to answer the phone because I knew my mother would give me the 3rd degree about what he was saying to me. When he would come to visit us kids I would take a book and my dog, and hide in the woods because there was always a confrontation between he and my mom. Moving to college, he started calling my dorm room almost daily. I always made my roommates answer and give an excuse for me. To this day when the phone rings I have a panic attack, heart racing, sweating. I have Cymbalta and Xanax prescribed by my family doctor. Sometimes I have to take double Xanax to make a phone call. I know in my head that this fear is irrational, but I can’t stop myself. I have given you a real cliff note version here of my issues. My mother also did a number I me growing up. I went to a counselor twice in college and came out so sad and crying so much I couldn’t bear to go back. I know I need to give it another try. Thanks for all you do to bring light to mental illness. Oh. I also have agoraphobia and can see myself becoming a recluse.
Paul
Marie,
I’m so so sorry you had to experience those things. They are clearly over the line and sexually abusive. Your phone phobia makes perfect sense to me. I really encourage you to get back into therapy. What happened to you is every bit as serious as a child who experienced fondling or penetration by their father. You were degraded, objectified and subliminally told that you don’t matter. You are an incest survivor whether you want to call it that or not. OF COURSE the world is terrifying to you. The person who was supposed to protect you was the very person who abused you.

Hug,

Paul