Will I grow out of the balloon popping phobia ?

The short answer is NO... some effort is usually involved.

There are a few circumstances where a phobia may moderate with time, but normally these circumstances are those which replicate one of the forms of therapy which would have been used anyway. For example, someone who has is phobic about balloons popping but also has a generalized form of the phobia where any loud and sudden noises have a significant effect, may find themselves asked to go and work in a noisy environment, and they may start to get used to sudden loud noise to the extent that phobias with aggravating sound as their basis may begin to abate.

It is always better to tackle a phobia and find a cure rather than waiting to see if it will go away on its own - after all, the phobia may get worse if it is left untreated.

This page is probably a good place to talk about - expectations - and here I will describe a couple of my own experiences - I am not phobic about loud and sudden noises - so these accounts describe the 'normal' reactions to noise - but it also serves to show how our expectations can play a part.

I was about to walk past a military vehicle and, having seen the driver get into it a few moments before, I was expecting the vehicle's engines to start. I knew that this particular type of vehicle had two engines - a small three litre for electricity generation, and a twenty-seven litre for motivation, and it was normal to fire up the small engine first - so that is what I was EXPECTING. But the driver had other ideas - he turned over the large engine without bothering with the small one, and it backfired just as I was level with the exhaust stack - I was only about two feet from the end of the pipe... and I jumped so violently that my feet left the ground completely - much to the amusement of a couple of onlookers. So there was an enormous difference between what I was expecting and what actually happened - and what actually happened was much more violent than what I had been expecting - so it was quite a shock. Now if I had been EXPECTING a backfire then I would have remained calm whether it had happened or not.

At one time I was involved with testing high power audio systems - some with power output in kilowatts - and occasionally an engineer would play a trick on one of his colleagues - he would see another guy about to walk past one of the loudspeakers and just as he was right next to the speaker he would suddenly feed full power into it and see how much the guy would jump. On one occasion I was about to walk past some loudspeakers but out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a movement which suggested to me that I was about to be blasted with sound as I got level with the column - so I was completely prepared for it - and sure enough the whole world shook with sound as I simply sauntered past the speakers without showing any reaction at all - so the joke was on the joker, but only because I had a moment or two to prepare myself for what would normally have been an extreme shock - I was EXPECTING it, so it was not a surprise when it happened.


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