As a child, we all had a monster under our bed. Fear is as real and all-encompassing an emotion like love or joy and as we grow our emotional response to various things changes, except for a few things that leave a strong mark on our mind. Humans are known to have phobias as a psychological phenomenon for the entire documented history that we have.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. Typical symptoms of a phobia can include nausea, trembling, rapid heartbeat, feelings of unreality, and being preoccupied with the object of fear. Scroll through to learn about few lesser-known, bizarre phobias that give some people the creeps.
Fear of opening one’s eyes
This one takes the crown for being The Most Inconvenient Phobia — the fear of opening one’s eyes! The word has Greek origins, with opt meaning eyes and phobia meaning fear.
Some of you may have experienced instances in which you are watching a horror movie and you cover your eyes so that you won’t see the “scary part”. There’s a certain level of terror that resides among those moments, one that doesn’t last, and you always find relief, take a deep breath, and laugh it off when it’s over.
Although the act of opening our eyes is something that few of us ever give thought to, that’s not the case for people suffering from Optophobia. The phobia can arise from a combination of external traumatic events and internal predispositions such as genetics. Are you afraid to open your eyes? Luckily, if you are reading this list, you most likely aren’t suffering from this condition!
Fear of dancing
If the thought of going to a nightclub or attending a wedding, and the obvious act of dancing there, makes a chill go down your spine, you might be suffering from chorophobia — the fear of dancing. People suffering from this phobia will go to any length to avoid dancing of any form or kind. Any event, person or situation that resembles, relates to or symbolizes dancing can trigger this fear.
This phobia is generally caused by some influence of dancing in a person’s life through media, such as through cinema, childhood and family experiences, dreams, books, news, etc. Some might also have experienced making a mistake while dancing in front of a crowd in the past and could have since then associated dancing with humiliation and panic. Chorophobia is often associated with other fears, such as the fear of embarrassment, social phobia or the fear of crowds.
Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth
Arachibutyrophobia, derived from the Greek words “arachi” (meaning “ground nut”) and “butyr” (butter), and “phobia” (fear). It refers to the fear of being choked by peanut butter. Most people dread the thought of the peanut butter sticking to the roof of their mouth, eventually choking them to death.
It may not be a debilitating or life-altering condition, yet no list of weird phobias would be complete without the inclusion of this one. While peanut butter is not obligatory for a healthy life, arachibutyrophobics could miss out on the health benefits of peanut butter, such as its ability to lower cholesterol and help in warding off heart disease.
Some people with this phobia are able to eat things with peanut butter as an ingredient and some aren’t. The phobia can trigger symptoms of anxiety, which can include difficulty swallowing. That means that peanut butter — or any other similar texture substance — might become even more difficult to swallow when your phobia is triggered. Arachibutyrophobia can be rooted in a more general fear of choking.
Fear of dinner conversations
Not many phobias are as specific as deipnophobia. It specifically refers to a fear of carrying on a conversation while eating. People suffering from this condition are extremely anxious if they have to go out to a restaurant and have a conversation with someone over dinner. While dating surely seems out of the question, this fear also hampers a normal life with people suffering from deipnophobia avoiding social, business and casual meals with family as well.
Symptoms include nausea, panic attacks, shakiness, sweating, muscle tension, etc. and they can manifest when dining due to some past trauma. The causes can be hard to determine, and treatment can include exposure therapy, where the therapist may expose the patient to their fear by having a small meal during their session and discussing it.
Fear of opinions
We all get irritated with unsolicited opinions but Allodoxaphobia is the fear of opinions of others about oneself. People suffering from this disorder have a hard time dealing with everyday life, as everyone around them seems to have their own opinions (mostly differing from others) and biases about the things around them.
However, for most, this intense fear of opinions may be limited to others’ opinions about themselves and can be rooted in their own insecurities as they may be extremely critical of or have a bad opinion of their own life.
Fear of long words
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is one of the longest words in the dictionary — as the name itself indicates, it is an irrational fear of long words. To me, it seems like the name of the phobia is so long by design to make people identify if they have this phobia instantly.
Symptoms such as dizziness, panic, and trouble breathing may be triggered when a person sees long words like “ Honorificabilitudinitatibus.” Exposure to such long words can cause a person with hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia to experience unexplainable fear and anxiety. Such individuals may also avoid reading so as not to come across long words that’ll cause them to panic.
Evidence suggests that fear can be caused due to or can trigger embarrassment or feelings of being mocked when pronouncing or reading long words.
Fear of youth
Ephebiphobia is the fear of youth or teenagers. Ephebiphobia may arise from stereotyping of youth in specific societies or geographies. Older people often see teenagers as lazy, violent, rude, wild, and impulsive. A traumatic experience with an unruly youth can exacerbate the fear and lead to a permanent phobia.
An Ephebiphobe tends to experience a full-blown panic attack at the thought of talking to or confronting a teenager. The phobic may lash out or run away in the presence of a teen or several teens. This irrational fear can greatly impact one’s quality of life, especially if one has to deal with teenagers from time to time. The phobic might avoid shopping malls, cinema multiplexes, high schools, gaming arcades, certain TV channels like Nickelodeon, and even apps like Snapchat.
Fear of mothers in law
Everyone expects some degree of in-law drama as they prepare to get married, but for some, it turns into debilitating fear. For people suffering from pentheraphobia, their mothers-in-law may turn into their monsters-in-law. Their spouse will definitely not be thrilled about this one.
Fear of newspapers
Chloephobia is not a dislike of girls named Chloe, but rather a fear of newspapers. The source and etymology of this phobia are obscure, but a rare appearance of it is here:
A woman who developed a fear of newspapers after watching her mother hit her father over the head with one has told how her unusual phobia affects her life every day. Diane Freelove, 49, cannot bear the smell of newspapers, hates to touch them, and cannot even look at them. The mother-of-three from Rochester, Kent, has suffered from a rare condition known as chloephobia for the last 25 years.
Fear of strings
Linophobia is the fear of strings, and even though, to a rational mind, there is no specific reason to fear strings some people just do. It could be the result of fear conditioning — associating strings with a feeling of fear, usually having followed a traumatic event involving string or where the string was present.
There are currently no definite ‘treatments’ for phobias, except counseling, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic programming, exposure therapy and medication.