I realize that I’ve had almost a life-long fear of going groups, especially “women’s groups.”
Having bypassed “traditional therapy,” I’ve finally after years (no, decades) of self-analysis, I’ve come to realize that early rejection, by mostly women, having to do with the fact that I committed the mortal sin at the age of 17, of becoming a mother “out-of-wedlock” as they used to say “back in the day.”
The judgement and scrutiny was intense, much more intense than my fragile ego, shattered self-esteem and shy demeanor could handle at such a tender age.
My daughter and I bravely, and sometimes not-so-bravely, navigated her upbringing (at times, she taught me more than I taught her), but in it’s wake, I was left with some phobias and insecurities.
I found during that time that it was usually women who were the most judgemental; members of my own family (sadly), teachers, employers, friends and yes, groups of women.
So, I avoided friendships (still do to an extent), walked away from groups before they could throw me out, and suffered classic phobia symptoms, such as shaking, panic attacks–all the usual.
I like Woody Allen’s quote (I do not, however, like Woody Allen’s behavior): I won’
I wish I had known earlier to be braver, more out-spoken, more unapologetic and yes, a better friend.
My daughter is all of these things, and I would not trade one second of my life with her (or my 2nd daughter).
So, if there is not a name for “fear of women in groups,” it might be “Gynophobia is an intense and irrational fear of women. The disorder differs from misogyny, which is hatred and prejudice toward women that people learn through social environments.” This is an actual fear, with this specific name.
I tend to believe the phobia is probably more common in men, but there you have it.
I’ve got that. I’m trying to overcome it.