10 Bizarre Phobias You Thank Your Lucky Stars Don’t Affect You: Top 10 Most Bizarre Phobias
There are several phobias that can be weaved into candid conversation without chagrin. Various people label themselves as “phobic” when it comes to things like heights and flying planes. Others will boast of their arachnophobia, which is characterized as a fear of spiders — because, really, who doesn’t think those eight-legged monsters are scary? While the aforementioned may be remedied by things like binge-watching Charlotte’s Web or opting for a train rather than traveling via the sky, there are several lesser known phobias that can be decidedly detrimental to an individual’s everyday life. These phobias can range from fear of menial things like dinner party conversation, to the fear of non-erogenous body parts, to books, and even the fear of phobias themselves. Often times these “bizarre” phobias are synonymous with traumatic events associated with said phobia, alongside a history of anxiety. Many of us will review the phobias expounded upon on this list and praise all things glorious that we do not experience these fears in our everyday lives. Others who live with these phobias grapple with the crippling anxiety of coming into contact with the thing that they fear, which can be omnipresent throughout society.
Although the specific fears associated with these detriments are wide-ranging, one thing that threads all of the following phobias together is the integral need for treatment and encountering the fear that may otherwise seem benign to one not experiencing the phobia. Often times, phobias are more of a symptom of a mental disorder like anxiety, or can manifest after a traumatic or tragic event — i.e., if an otherwise benign factor was present during an event of extreme anxiety or loss, one may come to associate the innocuous factor associated with the event and abstain from it at all costs. Let’s take a look at 10 bizarre phobias you are likely thanking your lucky stars don’t affect you, along with the methods that those experiencing these phobias can utilize to overcome their fears.
Deipnophobia — The Fear Of Dinner Conversation
“Sam and Christy are having a dinner party Friday,” one might say to a person that — unbeknownst to them — has Deiphnophobia. “You should come.” A person with Deipnophobia will turn down that invitation immediately, possibly after the mere suggestion had catalyzed an onslaught of perspiration, increased heart rate, and the like. Deipnophobia is characterized as “a strong, persistent fear of particular situations, objects or activities,” particularly dinner conversations. Symptoms of the phobia include “panic attacks, fidgeting during meals, elevated heart rates, nausea, vomiting and trembling.” The phobia can extend itself to anything from a large Thanksgiving gathering to a casual coffee date. Although the phobia can seem perplexing, it is often due to a traumatic experience or collection of experiences that could have occurred during dinnertimes. For example, if one grew up in a household with a parent who would become explosive during dinner times (which can happen for reasons ranging from anger management to alcohol abuse and everything in between), the individual may continue to associate any dinner gathering with the traumatic event. There is no one specific medication that is aimed to treat Depnophobia, but there are an array of medicinal therapies that can help ameliorate the anxiety associated with the phobia. Psychological counseling would also be strongly advised in order to overcome the symptoms of Deipnophobia.
Genuphobia — The Fear Of Knees
This phobia can be particular crippling because it is of fear of something this is nearly impossible to avoid and that we have contact with every single day. Genuphobia is the fear of knees. Mirror interviewed Railroad Engineering student, Stephanie Cockerill, about her experience suffering from Genuphobia, which caused a fracture to many of her relationships and also led her to exiting her swim team due to the fact that knees were present “everywhere” within the confines of an indoor pool. She reported feeling a crippling sense of dread envelop her when lying in bed with her boyfriend and feeling his knees brush against her.
“…I think a big role to play in my fear was about four years ago. I would lie in bed with my boyfriend and his knees would touch mine which started making me feel uncomfortable, but then it got to the point where I would feel sick and have panic attacks,” she said. “At first I thought I was just a bit weird but then I went on the internet and couldn’t believe it when I saw it was an actual phobia.” Cockerel later discovered her aunt suffered from the same phobia, hinting that their may be a genetic aspect to Genuphobia, though this has not been proven.
According to hypnotherapist, Andy Duncan, phobias and subsequent fears often are due more to experiences and other environmental factors. “As babies we are born with two inbuilt fears, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Every other fear is either picked up from our parents or picked up as we get older,” he posited. “As an example, a child will not know a bee can sting but if that child sees his parents screaming or running away from that bee then some will attach that negative emotion to the bee and fear it.”
Duncan went on to note that confrontation of fears is essential to overcoming them. Otherwise, the phobia will continue to manifest and hamper daily functioning.
Anuptaphobia — The Fear Of Staying Single
Perhaps it is not so bizarre that this phobia exists, but the fact that the phobia has an actual diagnostic name is equal parts perplexing and troubling. In a time where “modern love” has become permeated by the use of social media, a slew of apps promising us potential courtship if we simply “swipe right” and the absence of privacy from seeing your ex (he/she is all over your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like) that this phobia was deemed worthy of garnering an official label. Defined as “a morbid fear of staying or remaining single,” Elite Daily reported that, “Specialists have confirmed that this condition is part of a social phobia that can be traced back to a triggering event from childhood or a traumatic incident. It’s a psychological condition brought on by numerous factors, yet I think it’s safe to say we’ve contaminated our own water…A generation bathed in social media, we’ve created a culture that doesn’t support relationships, yet still holds the antiquated expectations of marriage. We’re living in our parents’ past, but are redefining a new dating future. We can’t feel whole without another person, but also don’t know how to be together.”
Anyone who feels the pangs of seeing their friends pair off in courtship two-by-two, or who find themselves binge-watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother following a breakup may be quick to self-diagnose, but Anuptaphobia is much more complex and severe than a simple case of the “why am I still single?!” blues. There are various factors that can determine if you, in fact, are experiencing this phobia. Signs include:
- Remaining in the wrong relationships: It is perfectly fine to have an open heart and try a new relationship, even if a few alleged “red flags” pop up that signal this may not equate to your “happily ever after.” However, normally when a relationship shows enough signs of failings — and one or both parties no longer feels fulfilled or happy in the relationship — a breakup is the next step. People with Anuptaphobia will not only push a relationship to work far past its breaking point, they will “settle for relationships and people because you’d rather settle now than strive for something later,” which includes people they may not have even liked to begin with.
- Obsession with things like marriage, love, and companionship: “Your mind is constantly preoccupied with antiquated notions of ‘the perfect life’ and ‘happily ever after’ that you don’t even see how good your real life is. You obsess over things beyond your control, creating delusions and fantasies of a life even cartoons don’t properly achieve.”
- Low Self-Esteem: People with Anuptaphobia believe that being in a relationship is synonymous with self-worth. Instead of focusing on the positives in their lives and the things they have to offer outside of a relationship, they are preoccupied with the belief that being single is equivalent to being worthless.
- Constant Need For Human Contact: A person with this phobia cringes at the thought of “me time”. They constantly need human contact, spending time with people they may even detest and “have sex that is so bad it should be illegal.”
- Overanalyzing: The 21st century is not conducive to amelioration of this last symptom. People with Anuptaphobia overanalyze and overthink even the most menial details of a romantic — or possibly unromantic — With the Rolodex of social media opportunities, communication being relegated almost exclusively to text, and having various opportunities to see your ex or previous date out and about even when they haven’t contacted you, overanalyzing has almost become synonymous with today’s dating culture.
Euphobia — Fear Of Hearing Good News
“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” Those suffering from Euphobia would rather nix “good news” from the situation entirely, because Euphobia involves a fear of being updated by anything good or positive. According to Phobia Source, Euphobia normally develops as “a result of getting disappointed by hearing good news that actually did not happen. For instance, one thought that she won the lottery only to find out that she had the wrong date but the right numbers. Subsequently, she will not want to hear the good news but will find in hearing news that may not be good but is the truth. Sometimes these people gain comfort in the chaos around us and may equate good news with lack of control or something that can confuse them.” Consequently, people with Euphobia will usually surround themselves with chaos and others that share a morose outlook on life. In cases of severe anxiety, those with Euphobia can be prescribed certain medications, but combining this with behavioral psychotherapy is integral to overcoming the phobia.
Pogonophobia — The Fear Of Beards
There will be nary a Lumbersexual tendency if you have Pogonophobia, which FearOf.net defines as “the irrational, persistent and often unwarranted fear of beards.” There are a litany of reasons that this phobia can develop, including “a negative or traumatic event in the sufferer’s past linked with men with beards.” Other possible causes include:
- The portrayal of villainous characters in the media often being those who have beards.
- “Post 9/11 the fear of beards phobia increased as the perpetrators of the act were a bearded group of religious fanatics.”
- Beards becoming out of fashion and women finding men who are clean-shaven to appear more trustworthy.
- “In America, the most famous bearded president was Abraham Lincoln. However, majority of the political candidates, members of Congress or presidents today are known to prefer the clean shaven look as it ‘helps them earn the trust in the minds their voters’.”
Pognophobia can have an extremely detrimental affect on an individual’s daily life, as people with this phobia are invariably going to come into contact with bearded men at some point, some of those likely being mentors, colleagues, or even romantic partners — just because a man is clean-shaven at the onset of a relationship doesn’t mean he won’t want to take part in ditching a razor from time to time or participating in No-Shave November. As with the other aforementioned phobias, a combination of anxiety-reducing medications and behavioral psychotherapy are advised to treat Pognophobia.
Philophobia — The Fear Of Falling In Love
A possible response to a phobia defined as the “fear of falling in love” may be initially met with an eye-roll and the rejoinder, “you mean commitment issues?” However, Philophobia is different from a simple lack of readiness when it comes to pursuing romantic relationships. People with Philophobia become so severely anxious at the idea of falling in love — or even, at times, receiving any type of love — that they can often retreat to long periods of solidarity and be plagued by sadness, confusion, and loneliness. Ari Eastman wrote of her struggle with Philophobia in a poignant essay for Thought Catalogue, where she described the pervasive loneliness and tear-soaked nights that accompanied her phobia, along with the fact that she craved love while also feeling an invariable need to retreat from it. “Someone recently mentioned this fear, philophobia. The state of being irrationally afraid of falling in love,” she posted. “Those with this condition often retreat into long periods of solitude, pushing away anyone who gets too close. Being alone has become a habit of mine. Something I love, something I find myself craving.”
According to Phobia Fears, Phiophobia can often be caused by a traumatic event or tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one. Medication is optional, but not typically advised, as cognitive therapy — along with other types of counseling — have been found to be most effective in treating the phobia.
Chirophobia — Fear Of Hands
Possibly even more debilitating than Genuphobia, Chirophopia is characterized as a “major fear of hands, either by own hands or others.” As with many of the aforementioned phobias, people with Chirophobia often develop this fear due to something like a traumatic experience. People with Chirophobia can often be seen sporting protective hand gear like mittens. Along with this having a negative impact on an individual’s daily life, the person with Chirophobia may also put their health at risk by abstaining from things like hand washing. Hands are such an instrumental part of our daily lives, and a litany of tasks do not become completed and other things like jobs can be jeopardized for people with Chirophobia.
There are several methods in treating Chirophobia. “Muscle strengthening and hand exercises are ways to help overcome this phobia. Taking control is always the key in resolving phobias, so learning to use the hands more effectively may help with the phobic symptoms. If the source of Chirophobia is some past trauma, it may be necessary to deal with the panic and fear that arise when faced with some triggers. This can be done by psychotherapy or rarely with medications.”
Bibliophobia — The Fear Of Books
Hopefully the advent of things like the Kindle and Ebooks can somewhat quell this phobia and allow certain individuals with Bibliphobia to enhance their intellect and enjoy the phenomenal hobby of reading and becoming engrossed with a story. However, the phobia can be very selective. According to About Health, “Many people suffer only a subset of this phobia, fearing textbooks or historical novels or children’s stories, rather than a fear of all books. Mythophobia, or the fear of legends, can be considered a subtype of bibliophobia if the fear is of those legends that are written down. Metrophobia, or fear of poetry, is another subtype of bibliophobia.”
Finding the specific root of an individual’s development of Bibliophobia is integral in developing a treatment plan and helping the individual to overcome the problem. Often times, the phobia can manifest in those with learning or reading disabilities who “feel forced or encouraged to read.” A therapist can work with those who are experiencing Bibliophobia by helping patients to view books in a new way that is not based in fear. Therapists will often “[encourage patients] to read a few pages at a time within the safety of [the] therapist’s office. At no time will you be forced to progress at a faster pace than you feel comfortable with.”
Panophobia — The Fear Of Everything
This is a tricky one. According to FearOf.Net, Panophobia occurs when individuals “tend to suffer from one or more different kinds of phobias…[Panophobics] remain in a constant state of fear believing there is ‘persistent evil’ or ‘something terrible about to happen’. Naturally, having this condition can be detrimental to one’s success and can deeply impact one’s day-to-day life.” The phobia has characteristics of several phobias and often an underlying fear that something bad is going to happen or that the individual will receive shattering news. As with the aforementioned phobias on this list, Panophobia can manifest after a traumatic or tragic event and also accompany severe anxiety. Panophobia is extremely debilitating to various facets of everyday life, and can incite symptoms that are synonymous with panic attacks as well as “depression” and “avoidance behavior”. Those who are experiencing symptoms of Panophobia should seek counseling immediately, and FearOf.Net notes that hypnotherapy can be especially beneficial. Often therapists will expose Panophobics to a “controlled environment” where they can safely encounter their fears in order to overcome them. Exercise can also be helpful, particularly when it is exercise within the meditation-based variety, such as yoga and tai-chi.
Phobophobia — The Fear Of Phobias
This is taking the top spot on our list for obvious reasons. Phobophobia is a seemingly ironic phobia, as it is the fear of…well…phobias. As with other phobias, this is normally accompanied by severe anxiety. According to Calm Clinic, “ The truth is that it seems to affect those that already have fears or phobias, which may imply that it’s not a phobia itself, but rather a symptom of the phobia.” Phobophobia is also characterized by one being “intensely afraid of phobia/anxiety symptoms” or “intensely afraid of developing a phobia.” Due to the complexity of the phobia, it is imperative that those experiencing this “fear of fear” seek treatment immediately. As FearOf.Net puts it, “When left untreated, Phobophobia can escalate rapidly out of control. The person may turn to drugs or other substance abuse. Suicide is also common in such individuals.” Hypnoanalysis has been toted as one of the most effective treatments for this phobia. Other popular treatments include homeopathic therapy and support groups.