The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry has an intriguing article on a Japanese psychiatric diagnosis that doesn’t seem to have a Western equivalent: ‘fear of one’s own glance’ or jiko-shisen-kyofu.
On the basis of the Japanese diagnostic system, phobia of one’s own glance is characterized by a fear of one’s own glance, which they believe assumes an offensive nature and is uncontrollably directed at persons near them. Individuals with phobia of one’s own glance believe that their glance brings others discomfort, and people with this diagnosis convince themselves of the accuracy of their belief by interpreting the trivial behaviour of others (e.g. coughing, laughing, sniffing, sneezing, head turning, etc.) as evidence for this belief. Such patients feel deeply ashamed, demeaned, and unaccepted, and many eventually avoid social situations. A diagnosis of phobia of one’s own glance is not contingent upon whether or not a patient considers his or her thoughts to be excessive; therefore, neither the presence nor a lack of insight is essential for the diagnosis.
The paper gives several case studies that include people who are concerned that their glance made other people feel uncomfortable, was a nuisance or was socially harmful to others, or made the patient themselves feel uncomfortable.
Link to PubMed entry for study.