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What Psychological Problems Does Belief in Superstition Show?

Misbah loves to read, research and write about paranormal activities and superstitious stuffs.

Superstitions show our fears, anxiety, insecurity, and what we don’t want to see.
While working, you have to see contrasting things, when people, who have achieved a lot in society, are very entrepreneurial, feel very insecure, experience a lot of fears. Sometimes it is very difficult to understand why such a person buys an amulet for 30 thousand and wears it. Just because someone told him to do so”, the psychoanalyst does not hide.

What Are Superstitions?

In a psychological sense, I would define prejudice as an irrational belief that would contradict what is logical. Superstition is a belief in certain magical signs, horoscopes, talismans, amulets, and anything that does not conform to what is logical or scientifically proven. Superstitions have originated in ancient times and adapt to specific situations. They are passed on by word of mouth and often turn into rules, ways of helping, or certain guarantors of success.

Belief or disbelief in superstitions depends very much on what country a person lives in, in what environment, he or she grew up in, how much his or her parents, relatives were superstitious. From a deeper point of view, I would say that superstition is one of the most striking reflections of subconscious activity. And while people have tried to justify certain events or understand certain things that have happened in their lives with various superstitions, superstitions are both consciously and unconsciously rooted and even passed down from generation to generation.

Is It Possible to Trace How Superstitions Arose?

The origins, I would say, can already be seen in the Middle Ages, and perhaps even deeper. For example, in the Middle Ages, there was a view that success is carried by God, and failure is determined by evil spirits.

People have long tried to understand what I don’t know or what can’t be felt. For example, a person has experienced multiple failures in a single period or a lot of painful things have happened in a year, so he is just trying to capture what happened and why to explain his failures through external factors - perhaps there were some external signs that led to those failures.

When black cats cross your way. It is said that something bad will happen to you, or it is considered to be unlucky. People who are superstitious believe to avoid those roads and areas where black cats live or wander. When we talk about superstitious beliefs, 2 things that come to our mind before anything is, the number 13 and black cats as many people are aware of this belief. No doubt there is much more than only this.

Superstition Versus Folk Wisdom

Perhaps the prejudices we believe in are the result of centuries of empirical observations. As I said, for some they can become rules, for others - ways of helping others - guarantees of success. On the other hand, it can be seen as an integral part of the cultural heritage, as superstitions differ from country to country.

Let’s say the Japanese and Chinese have very scary numbers four and nine because they mean death in their language. And a lot of sayings with the number three (both fairy tales and myths).

The number 13

The number 13

What Else Determines Faith in Superstitions?

I would say, superstitions are about defending oneself or protecting other people. People have always tried to create some kind of security that can be predicted. If it is possible to anticipate, plan everything that will happen, what will end up or what the reaction of others will be, somehow manage the situation, then a person can feel safe.

Belief in superstitions seems to give the impression that we are the masters of our own destiny, our control, we observe the environment, we can trust it, that by performing certain actions or rituals, we can attract success and lead to failure.

In my opinion, safety is the first need that parents should provide for a newborn child. Many theories talk about basic security and basic insecurity. Basic security lays the foundation for how later a person will be strong, mature. And if a child is insecure from an early age or the mother is very fearful, anxious, the child may no longer have some security foundation. So insecurity or fear is one of the factors why people start believing in certain external things.

What Other Reasons Might There Be?

Superstition can be believed by very curious people who want to know and understand everything. Therefore, some people move on to more dangerous things - they become interested in magic, occultism, because what I do not know attracts, entices, arouses curiosity.

I would also mention the need for power: we are driven by a desire to achieve results that we cannot achieve in simple ways, so by reaching out to some magician or psychic, we seem to find a way to become a little more powerful, perhaps more crooked, superior to others.

But I would agree with the saying that when a person is insecure or when faith is weakened, superstitions increase.

Interesting Observations of Superstitious People

At work, we see contrasting things, when people who have achieved a lot in society, are very entrepreneurial, feel very insecure, experience a lot of fears. Sometimes it is very difficult to understand why such a person buys an amulet for 30 thousand. And wears it because someone told him to. Or, say, he makes a ring and believes when he is told that if he wears that ring, he will succeed in business.

Imagine how much fear, anxiety, and tension a person feels if they forget the ring that morning or lose it. Although that amulet should protect, in reality, it is starting to cause discomfort and even greater tension.

In practice, you have to see patients appear to be very injured and very distrustful after a very innocent game, after certain innocent rituals, or after several encounters with so-called "bio" or "psycho" analysts. They are deceived, their failures are exploited, their misfortunes are laughed at, so there is a lot of work to be done until self-worth is restored.

In addition, sometimes it is not enough to turn to psychologists or psychiatrists alone - sometimes the help of clergy is needed, because the so-called higher and more powerful force begins to fight when a person strikes and can no longer work or communicate, distance himself from other important people a whirlpool from which it is then very difficult to get away.

So the line between superstition as a game, to the superstition that can lead to a certain ritual, perhaps to black magic, is very slippery, so it’s better not to play. If it is important to know why I believe in one or another superstition, why I do it, it is simply possible to reveal certain subconscious personal meanings - perhaps it would help to understand where it is from, why I have one or another fear. Because every superstition is always personal and in every superstition a person has a personal meaning and significance.


I will talk about certain psychological meanings. This superstition is more about self-reassurance: it is a failure that should have a happy ending. It seems that such a person is optimistic - he hopes that everything will go well. Imagine a person saying "combs bring happiness".

My Opinion - Maybe an Eternal Optimist Here

Yes, on the other hand, I would like to raise the question of whether that person is not inclined to underestimate failures - yes, everything is nothing, yes, here seriously. Such superstitions may be liked by people who tend to calm themselves down more.

Final Thoughts- Superstitions Are Like a Path to Our Fears?

I believe, yes, superstitions are path to our fears, anxiety, insecurity, certain parts that we do not want to see. Psychologists are interested in precisely those open, so-called personal, pieces: how to know and understand them and how to integrate them into what we can consciously understand. This is a very big inner job.

And yet if superstition helps? If I feel calmer after knocking them on the table three times or cutting them over the shoulder, why not? If a person knows how he calms and feels well.

In the end, I would like to emphasize a certain thing - if superstition remains just a thought, does not grow into a certain scheme, does not listen to feelings or restrain behavior (I thought, I forgot and I continue to live), everything is fine. But if a person thinks, does, and then thinks, maybe he did badly, maybe he didn’t knock on that tree, so maybe something else is needed, it says a lot more about himself and his fears.


The Psychology of Superstition

Very Superstitious

Superstitious Behavior

Superstition: Quirky Beliefs or Psychopathology?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Misbah Sheikh


Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on May 14, 2021:

Superstitions show our fears, anxiety, insecurity, and what we don’t want to see.

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