Fear! Relax, it’s a totally normal emotion, nothing more than a little brain bell which rings, gently warning us that we may very well be in grave danger, and we should start running in the complete opposite direction of everything, otherwise the world may end. Back in the prehistoric days when humans used to ride dinosaurs, these fear-triggers were imperative to our survival. They ensured we stayed one step ahead of very real threats, such as wild forest animals who wanted to eat us, or when we started playing around with fire and that’s how Shere Khan got that scar.
As we’ve evolved and become more developed, the legitimate deadly peril of everyday survival has minimized substantially, and yet our neurosis has skyrocketed, birthing a whole array of silly things to be afraid of that are basically a result of our neurons malfunctioning. A large majority of people alive today are crippled by anxiety from the very thought of such simple things as elevators, harmless germs, or even peeing in front of strangers. Thankfully, we also live in a time where doctors will give us drugs to just about shut off anything, so go see a specialist if your entire existence revolves around torment, and then find some relief in the knowledge that there are always those worse off than you. Like everyone referred to on this list, for example.
15. Chaetophobia – Fear of Hair
Whether terrified of dirty hair, or choking to death on a hair, or perhaps having an awkward conversation with a hairy person, there are multiple exciting variations of phobias one may develop when hair is involved. Trichophobia, for example, is the fear of loose hair, while trichopathophobia includes the fear of any hair disease, leading us onto hypertrichophobia, which is more associated with the fear of hair color and growth. Chaetophobia, however, is the king card above all of the other hair fears. The details of said hair makes no difference to chaetophobiacs, whether human or animal or a hairy sandwich, it’s all unacceptable, to the point that those who suffer from the disorder have been known to pluck their own bodies clean just to free themselves from their own homegrown nightmare. Apparently if you lock these people in a hairdressers they completely lose it, so please don’t do that.
14. Trypophobia – Fear of Clusters of Small Holes
Although not officially recognized as a mental disorder, this phobia does have its own Wikipedia page, which means it must be true. Simple put, if you notice a large collection of little gaps or lumps on something, and it makes you want to pass out forever, then you may have this fear. What’s more, it actually makes some evolutionary sense, as people with trypophobia are more susceptible to notice fruit or vegetables that have already been attacked by worms or flies. This fear can help prevent you from eating food infested with eggs, which is the safest defense against baby creatures hatching within your belly and feeding off of your intestines. Furthermore, this heightened perception even extends as a warning against visibly contagious diseases such as leprosy, smallpox, or measles. Little bumps! Run away!
13. Phobophobia – Fear of Phobias
One phobia to rule them all! There is nothing to fear but fear itself, and that’s exactly what phobophobiacs do. They fear fear itself. It’s the casual worry about nothing in particular, simply walking around in pure terror, that any moment now something scary might happen. As ridiculous as this sounds, the truth of the matter is that almost every phobia in existence has some undercurrent of phobophobia feeding into it, keeping it alive. Many studies claim that it’s the anxiety of having a panic attack which often triggers the panic attack in the first place, because who needs real enemies when we have our own nervous systems persistently firing unnecessarily, just a bunch of over-developed monkeys, neurotic and borderline insane. It’s impressive we don’t just explode from the stress sometimes.
12. Papaphobia – Fear of the Pope
This may sound like one of those made up phobias which some clever Reddit troll decided would be funny, but no, this is a legitimate fear. The reasons why this phobia may strike an individual are widely debated, but they are generally considered to be either a result of ecclesiophobia (the fear of the Church), hierophobia (the fear of holy things) or just a deep-rooted animosity towards authority figures in general. Personally, I do get a slightly curious vibe off a man who wears a weird hat whilst proclaiming to be the closest human being to the almighty God, and that film Spotlight certainly didn’t help matters either. That said, Pope Francis is alright with me. That dude released a progressive rock album called Wake Up! and that is the fastest way into my heart.
11. Phagophobia – Fear of Swallowing
Not to be confused with the equally troubling pseudodysphagia (the fear of choking), phagophobia is a terror brought on by the mere act of swallowing itself. The root cause of this phobia is often due to a past memory, where swallowing has brought the individual some form of pain, and now the very idea of anything traveling down their neck mutates into an anxiety where (quite literally) their throat closes up, disallowing food or liquid to enter the body, perpetuating the fear even further, one long downward spiral of despair. As we all know by now, eating and drinking is one of the most important things we have to do as human beings, and so this fear can be quite life threatening, leading to malnutrition and severe weight loss. Not so funny now, hey.
10. Omphalophobia – The Fear of Belly Buttons
Living with a legitimate fear of something on your own body must be the worst type of phobia, because it doesn’t matter how far you run, it’s still going to be right there with you, prodding at your psyche, laughing at your own brain. Take omphalophobia, for example. This is the fear of all the navels in the world, which seems hilarious, until you think about it for too long. Your belly button? That was the piece of you which connected your stomach to your mother’s womb, feeding you when you were a little fetus. Don’t even dwell on that. When you were born, they had to cut the umbilical cord and now it looks like just a tied up mess of knots dug into your stomach. No problem. If there ever was a weak point for all your guts to burst out through, that would be the exact location. Why even let your thoughts go there?
9. Globophobia – Fear of Balloons
Yeah, sure, we all have a fear of clowns (coulrophobia, you’re welcome), but when you’re ready to take your timidness to the next level, let’s get scared of balloons instead. Generally speaking, globophobia is more about the popping of the balloon itself, which to be fair, is a really loud sound and can totally ruin your train of thought. However, globophobia sufferers are so fearful of this mini-explosion that they can’t go anywhere near an inflated balloon, just in case the dreaded popping thing happens and somehow kills them or destroys the Universe or whatever. Apparently certain people with the phobia aren’t even remotely bothered by balloons when they are deflated, so a fun thing to do is to lock them in a room and then slowly blow one up in front of them, watching how their eyeballs pulsate, because, you know, I’m a horrible person. In other news: Oprah Winfrey has this problem.
8. Genuphobia – The Fear of Knees
Have you ever been sitting in your room, minding your own business, when you suddenly remembered “oh no! I have knees!” and then you burst into a cold sweat and have an anxiety attack right there? No? Then you do not have genuphobia, what a relief for you, I’m sure, well done. For those who do have it, however, it’s kind of a serious problem, because there are knees everywhere, and even the act of kneeling itself becomes a traumatic ordeal. How has this happened, you may ask? According to experts, it can stem from a previous injury, or perhaps a religious upbringing, as certain beliefs prohibit knees from being seen whatsoever, whilst other beliefs force you onto your knees into a submissive prayer, begging for forgiveness due to all the terrible things you’ve done in your life. You know what I’m talking about.
7. Anablephobia – Fear of Looking up
There can’t be any fear quite as ridiculous as anablephobia. I mean, what’s so scary about looking up into the beautiful night’s sky? The infinite vastness of space. The absolute unknown of what is out there. The unfathomable sizes of the stars which are light years away, impossible to ever reach. How tiny Earth is, even in comparison to planets in our own solar system. How we are nothing but specks of dust on a speck of dust. So insignificant. Hurtling around the Sun at 18 miles per second, any simple rogue asteroid with the potential to clip our planet’s path and send up spinning off orbit, everything you’ve ever loved completely eradicated within a split second, with literally no impact to the greater scheme of the Universe at all. That’s not scary, I’m not scared, you’re scared.
6. Geniophobia – Fear of Chins
It may seem silly now, but if you think about the most scariest people who ever existed, didn’t they all have a chin? You’ll probably find, they did. The real fascinating aspect of geniophobia, however, is that it usually strikes the victim when they are presented with a chin which is aesthetically unusual, for example: Ben Affleck and his cleft chin, otherwise known as a “bum chin” or “your face looks like a bum” or “The Affleck bum face chin face”, all of which is a very scary scene for someone with geniophobia, and even some without. And then there’s Donald Trump, who is scary enough sometimes when he says certain things, but then when you look at his face from a weird angle, you may notice his chin has its own chin, and that is a complete nightmare for someone with geniophobia, really horrible. Or what about Jay Leno? That chin is worth asking some questions about no matter who you are.
5. Myrmecophobia – Fear of Ants
The fear of spiders is now so common that we nonchalantly accept it as a part of everyday life, but if you truly think about this concept, it makes no sense. Spiders are chill, they don’t move much, they get rid of other pesky bugs for us, and most importantly of all, they work alone. Ants, on the other hand, actually warrant a legit phobia. Why? Because these insects are found on every single continent, and they outnumber humans vastly, with over 1,428,000 ants per each one of us, which is only counting those we know about. Furthermore, a whole colony of ants work like a solitary mind, a coordinated singular organism, which could strip the skin right off your body if they so wanted to. And, in the case of driver ants, sometimes they do want to. Myrmecophobia? More like common sense!
4. Oikophobia – Fear of Home Surroundings
The Greek word “oikos” loosely translates into “household” or “family”, which is why initially oikophobia was classified as a fear of general objects one would find around your common home. There is some logic in this fear too, as I think a healthy dose of worry should arise when thinking about, say, a toaster next to a bathtub, or a fork next to a plug socket, or insect repellent in the hand of an infant. That said, as time has gone on, the term has developed towards a more political characterization, often used as the opposite of xenophobia, describing someone who has become fearful towards their own culture, and would rather live in a far away land where everything is nicer than where they are right now. It is worth noting that this is generally observed as a westernized fear, but then again, most of these phobias are.
3. Barophobia – Fear of Gravity
Barophobia is an interesting one because it can attack in two, seemingly contradictory, forms. The first version of this fear, is that gravity will suddenly increase, and we will all be crushed inwards like a soda can, flattened to the Earth’s surface at any given moment. The second version, is that gravity itself will simply let go, and we will float away into space like little bits of dandruff, ultimately suffocating but getting a great view just before we do. What causes these fears to develop in a person is still uncertain, but it could be from when they fell out of a tree as a kid, or when they watched the 2013 film Gravity as an adult, because that film actually really freaked me out and totally deserved the seven Academy Awards it won. You go, Sandra!
2. Luposlipaphobia – Fear of Being Pursued by Wolves While Wearing Socks
The full title of this phobia actually reads as follows: “the fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly waxed floor,” and if you think this sounds like some sort of a nonsense joke, you would be absolutely right. First coined by Gary Larson (author of the popular comic The Far Side) the fictional nature of said terror did cause my hand to hesitate before posting it upon my precious list. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the genius of Gary Larson. This wasn’t a fake phobia at all. Are you telling me that the idea of uncontrollably sliding all over the kitchen whilst being chased by wolves doesn’t scare you? Everyone is afraid of this happening! We are all luposlipaphobiacs! Let’s have meetings and talk about our feelings.
1. Allodoxaphobia – Fear of Opinions
Of all the phobias I researched for this article, allodoxaphobia might be the one that I genuinely suffer from the most. I mean, it’s not so much that I have a fear of opinions per se, it’s more that I have an irrational adverse reaction to anyone’s opinion which differs from mine, because coincidentally, every single time they just so happen to be wrong. It might sound like I’m trying to be funny here, but I am dead serious, it is astonishing how often everyone else’s opinion is completely incorrect whilst mine is naturally infallible, and these people won’t even listen to me as I shout my opinion into their faces, it’s ridiculous. Slowly, this has caused me to withdraw from social interactions, slowly sinking into a safe bubble, population count: 1, just me, all alone, but totally right about everything, all the time, stay away.
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