5 Tips To Overcome Your Fear Of Clowns / Coulrophobia

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Painted faces, bright colors and big eyes…

Horror clowns in movies or at horror parties give you an overwhelming sense of fear and can terrify you.

If you still experience the same fear of seeing a clown, you probably have coulrophobia.

Coulrophobia is a morbid fear of clowns.

Not only children, but also teenagers and adults can have an extreme fear of clowns.

Are you also afraid of clowns and do you recognize the typical symptoms?

Then in this article you will find 5 simple tips on how to overcome coulrophobia.

Purpose of this blog:  You will learn what exactly coulrophobia is, what its causes can be and how to recognize coulrophobia. You will also learn how to overcome your fear of clowns in this article.

What is coulrophobia?

Coulrophobia or also called clown phobia is a panicked fear of clowns.

If you suffer from coulrophobia, you are not only afraid of being confronted with clowns in real life, but you often also feel anxious when you see pictures or dolls of clowns or when you watch a movie that features clowns.

As a kid, it was probably the circus clown you liked the most. With his painted face and his colorful clothes he made one joke after another until you couldn’t stop laughing.

Or…maybe not.

Maybe his unreal painted face scared you?

If you suffer from coulrophobia then you probably realize that your fear of clowns is actually irrational.

Perhaps when you see a clown you immediately think of someone who is afraid to show his true face or someone who is purposefully dressing up because he has strange habits or is up to something.

Whatever the reason for your coulrophobia, you probably want to know where this fear comes from.


What Causes Fear of Clowns?

Want to know more about extreme fear of clowns and how to overcome it? Then read on.

Cause 1: Negative childhood experiences

Very often, negative childhood experiences are at the root of your fear of clowns.

Clowns are supposed to make people laugh, not just with their looks, but with their jokes as well.

Many children consider the performance of a clown to be one of the highlights of the circus. However, some children don’t like clowns at all.

The jokes that clowns make can seem quite dramatic to children. For example, a clown holding another clown’s head under water for a while can really frighten a child.

Another reason is the view of clowns. Sigmund Freud also cited this theory .

He stated that well-known human facial features that are emphasized with make-up – such as a smiling face, for example – can be very confusing and can make us feel uncomfortable.

If you had bad experiences with clowns as a child, didn’t like them at all or were afraid of them, this can lead to coulrophobia later in life.


Cause 2: hidden facial expressions

A person’s facial expression tells a lot: you can tell whether this person is happy or sad, but also whether they are sincere or false.

Dr.  Dina Rabinowitz , psychiatrist specializing in behavioral therapy and founder of Cognitive Behavioral Psychology of New York, states that the amount of make-up (or the mask a clown sometimes wears) can make you feel insecure about the person’s true state of mind or intentions. . This of course leads to fear!


Cause 3: indecent and shameless behavior

Another major cause of coulrophobia is the shameless behavior of clowns.

Characteristic of clowns is that they like to scare people. A fairly harmless example is a flower on their coat that suddenly sprays water over you.

Still, not all clown jokes are so harmless. A clown who keeps chasing you or a shameless clown who doesn’t mince words can make you quite insecure and anxious.


Cause 4: the phenomenon of ‘horror clowns’

As if regular clowns weren’t bad enough, there are also horror clowns.

These horror clowns are based on various films in which clowns play a role, such as ‘ It Chapter I ‘ and ‘It Chapter II ‘ by writer Stephen King .

Watching such films undoubtedly encourages coulrophobia.

If you suffer from coulrophobia, not only are you afraid of seeing a clown at a party or on the street, but also pictures or dolls of clowns can upset you quite a bit.

Watching a movie or a series in which clowns appear – even if these are fairly innocent clowns – you consider a real horror.

Your fear of clowns is always present and the symptoms you experience can trigger real panic attacks.


Symptoms of coulrophobia

Symptom 1: Unwanted Thoughts of Clowns

If you suffer from coulrophobia, the very thought of clowns makes you feel extremely anxious.

People with coulrophobia often avoid performances or neighborhood parties where children are entertained.

Just imagine that a clown act is being performed or that clowns just walk among the visitors.

Watching TV is also often quite a challenge for some people with coulrophobia. What if a clown suddenly appears on the screen?

It is therefore not surprising that people with coulrophobia often keep the remote control at hand so that they can immediately change channels when a clown appears.


Symptom 2: Clown nightmares

While you sleep, your brain processes the emotions of the past day.

This is done through various processes, one of which is dreaming. If you have been very conscious about something during the day, these things can come back in your dreams.

It is therefore not surprising that if you have coulrophobia, you often dream about clowns and have real nightmares about them. This, of course, perpetuates your fear.

If you are already afraid of clowns in your daily life and they also appear in your dreams, then this makes you even more afraid.


Symptom 3: physical and psychological signs

If you suffer from coulrophobia and yet are confronted with the image of a clown or with a clown in everyday life, you may experience symptoms similar to those of a panic attack:

  • Your heart beats faster and you break out in a sweat of fear.
  • You get the feeling that you are short of breath and you can hyperventilate.
  • You get a tingling sensation in your limbs and you feel that you are no longer strong on your legs.
  • You think that everyone notices that you are anxious, which can intensify these symptoms, make you feel like you can’t control yourself anymore and that you will pass out.
  • Dizziness and a tendency to burst into tears are also common when seeing a clown.
  • Although your fear of clowns can make you feel paralyzed, when you see a clown you immediately think of fleeing.

These symptoms can be very intense and if you suffer from coulrophobia you want to get rid of these symptoms for good.

Overcoming coulrophobia is really easier than it seems and I am convinced that you will certainly succeed with the tips below.


Get over your fear of clowns? 5 tips

If you have coulrophobia, you can be extremely afraid that a clown might just appear out of nowhere.

The feeling of being constantly on guard can be very exhausting.

You therefore prefer to stay at home often to feel safe. To limit this anxious feeling and to prevent you from having a panic attack when confronted with a clown, I give you 5 tips.

Tip 1: talk about your coulrophobia

Clowns evoke unpleasant feelings in more people.

As mentioned before, clowns like to scare people and their true facial expression is hidden by make-up or by a mask. This makes many people feel secure.

However, not everyone who feels insecure around clowns suffers from coulrophobia.

If you do experience an extreme fear of clowns, try to bring it up with people you trust. Talking is always a relief and allows you to see things from a distance.

By the way, once you share your story with others, you will notice that you are not the only one who is afraid of clowns.


Tip 2: what is the chance that you will be confronted with clowns?

If you have an extreme fear of clowns, ask yourself in a rational way how big the chance is that you will be confronted with clowns in daily life. These certainly don’t run in bushes through the city!

Also, ask yourself what a clown can do to you. Remember that a clown is an ordinary person who has dressed up.

Not all clowns – and in fact most of them at all – are bad for others. Clowns may look strange, but this doesn’t mean the person behind the clown is strange.


Tip 3: EMDR therapy

If you are having a particularly difficult time with your coulrophobia and the above tips do not help, EMDR therapy can offer a solution.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing .

This therapy developed by Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist in the 1980s, helps to overcome coulrophobia when it resulted from a traumatic experience with clowns.

During this therapy, you tell the therapist about your first negative experience with a clown. While you tell your story, the therapist distracts you by means of all kinds of stimuli – for example movements or sounds – so that your story disappears into the background, as it were.

After each set of movements, the therapist evaluates your feelings and thoughts. After a while, you’ll find yourself experiencing these differently,lessening your initial fear of something—in this case, clowns.


Tip 4: Exposure therapy

Another commonly used form of therapy in coulrophobia is exposure therapy . Under the guidance of a therapist you will be exposed to clowns step by step.

For example, he might start with pictures of friendly-looking clowns, slowly move on to some creepier pictures of clowns, and eventually confront you with a real-life clown.

Although this can be very confrontational at first, it is precisely this confrontation that can make the symptoms that you normally experience when seeing clowns disappear completely into the background.

As the symptoms subside, your anxiety will gradually subside, allowing you to get rid of your coulrophobia completely over time.

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