Spectrophobia: The Fear of Mirrors

A phobia is an extreme fear of something that poses no real threat. The range varies from little things like insects to elevators. The person will fear anything that reminds them of the phobia. Even listening to a nose that can be related to the phobia can trigger severe fear responses. In phobias, the person’s fight or flight response is overly displayed for a specific situation or thing.

mirror phobia

Spectrophobia is a fear of mirrors or spectres. The fear may not be of the mirrors themselves, but what they represent and reflect. Many times, this fear can be tied to religious beliefs or superstitions. In many urban legends, the mirror serves as a portal for souls. It’s been said that ghost can appear from them. These people are most often scared of the ghosts that may appear from the mirrors.

In some cases, people of spectrophobia are afraid of their reflection. However, it shouldn’t be confused with eisoptrophobia, which is the fear of one’s reflection. In the case of spectrophobia, the person is not afraid of their reflection. They’re afraid of their image being reflected in the mirror probably due to a superstition. Some believe that mirrors can trap their souls. Many people believe that breaking a mirror can cause seven years of bad luck.


Phobias are often caused by a traumatic event. The aftertaste of the event remains inside the person’s mind, and they live with constant fear of being exposed to it again. Every time they’re exposed to something remotely close, their flight or fight response kicks in, and they start having symptoms of extreme fear like sweating, heaving breathing and shaking.

The fear is individualized and may depend on many factors. A person’s cultural background can have a large impact on what they fear or like. Some people fear mirrors because of their culture. They may fear the undead or ghosts accessing them through the mirrors. Some people are more afraid of the unknown. Mirrors do have large possibilities, so certain people fear there are too much unknown by looking at a mirror. If they’re afraid of their reflections, it may be due to self-esteem issues. Some people do hate mirror because they fear that it reflects their souls. If they dislike themselves and believe their souls to be evil or ugly, they will avoid seeing it.

Some studies suggest that there may be a genetic factor. The gene will not dictate the phobia that the person will develop. However, this gene may make a person more susceptible to phobias. The gene can be inherited. It may not pass on the same phobia because it will depend on what traumatic event triggers it. However, they will be more likely to develop a phobia than most other people. In other cases, the phobia is gained by environmental factors. Some people learn phobias from their friends and family. If you spend too much time with someone with a specific phobia, you may find yourself developing it, too, especially if you were exposed to the person at a young age.


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People with spectrophobia will avoid mirrors and anything that reflects at all cost. It may negatively impact their social life. One can control mirrors in their own home, but once you’re out, you have to go through extreme tactics to avoid seeing one. These people may have symptoms simply upon the mention of a mirror. They will not use anything that is made of glass.

People who are afraid of the apparitions in the mirrors will also fear ghost movies and shows like Poltergeist or The Haunting.

When they find themselves in a room with a mirror, or they see what appears the reflection from a mirror, they will experience all the symptoms of anxiety. Their heart rate and blood pressure will increase. They may become nauseous or dizzy. Many will have the instinct to flee the scene immediately. It can trigger panic attacks if it becomes too severe.


The main treatment plan is therapy. In therapy, the person may be prescribed medication to lower the anxiety levels and the symptoms. Most often, they will also undergo exposure therapy. In exposure therapy, the person is exposed to their phobia in a controlled and safe environment. The exposure happens gradually and at the consent of the patient so that they eventually conquer their fear.

There are many types of phobias in the world. You are not weird or weak for having one. The most important thing is to seek help from a therapist because phobias can become too much and severely affect your life.

Theresa Smith

Theresa Smith is a relationship expert with over 20 years of experience. She has worked in different areas including clinical work, and more recently a writer. She has a passion for happy relationships and feels that it’s an attainable goal for everyone.

Theresa has several professional credentials centered around mental health, psychology, dating, relationships, and addiction treatment. She has written thousands of articles and many e-books on many facets of dating and relationships.