Nowadays, it’s a common thing for people to say that they have a phobia. Usually, you’d expect it to be something like the fear of spiders (arachnophobia), the fear of going outside (agoraphobia) or the fear of heights (acrophobia) to name just a few examples. However, every so often, you stumble across someone who has a very real fear of something a little more unusual…
10 – Ephebiphobia – fear of youth
‘British youth culture’ by Paul Townsend
Although it might be hard to believe sometimes, each and every one of us has been youthful at some point of our lives! That’s what makes a fear of youth all the more unusual. It is thought to be caused by the media’s negative portrayal of teenagers and young people, leading to older generations feeling fearful around them. If you’re suffering from this, don’t worry. Not all youths are bad eggs!
09 – Optophobia – fear of opening your eyes
‘Me’ by Julien Belli
Blinking – which is effectively opening and closing your eyes – is a reflex which the body does involuntarily. For people who suffer from optophobia, it must be torturous. It can be triggered by witnessing a traumatic event, seeing something upsetting, or just anything which isn’t pleasant to look at. It’s very humbling how something that most of us take for granted can cause other people so much distress.
08 – Ergophobia – fear of work
‘Time To Break From Work’ by Nana B Agyei
Although this is a real phobia, your boss isn’t likely to believe you’re a sufferer if you try to use it to skip work. Ergophobia isn’t always just related to work itself or finding a job – it can cover a whole range of things such as the fear of failure and social anxiety, as well.
07 – Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – fear of long words
‘Words (Palabras)’ by Juan Pablo Lauriente
It’s ironic that the term for the fear of long words contains so many letters itself – you would have thought that this would exascerbate the fear! Quite frankly, looking at the name for this phobia is quite intimidating, so it’s no surprise that some people can build up a fear of long words. Your guess is as good as mine on how to pronounce it!
06 – Heliphobia – fear of the sun
‘Sun Set at Key West’ by Anupam_ts
It’s well known that the sun has so many beneficial properties for our skin, health and overall happiness. Sadly, some people experience problems after not having enough exposure to the sun; sometimes this is caused by a fear of the sun itself. When so much importance is placed on summertime and enjoying nice weather outdoors, it must be terribly frustrating not being able to join in.
05 – Geniophobia – fear of chins
‘Chin Up’ by Caitlin Regan
This is a rather unfortunate phobia, as we all have a chin. There’s just no escaping it, which means there’s little relief. That said, it’s not uncommon to have a fear of a body part – knees, elbows, belly buttons and hands are all common causes of phobias. The good news is that there is treatment, as a fear of chins can make interacting with people very difficult.
04 – Xanthophobia – fear of the colour yellow
‘Yellow bed’ by Thomas Quine
The colour yellow is all around us, from ‘discount’ labels at supermarkets to flowers to the sun itself. All these things can cause extreme anxiety for sufferers of xanthophobia, as can anything which is yellow. Fears of other colours are also possible (in fact, chromatophobia is the fear of colours generally), but for some reason yellow seems to cause more fear than others.
03 – Uranophobia – fear of heaven
‘Entrance to heaven,West Coast, USA’ by Wonderlane
For many people, heaven is something to look forward to, like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. However, for others, it’s the complete opposite. Uranophobia can also be linked to other fears related to dying and life after death – more specifically, being judged after death.
02 – Deipnophobia – fear of conversation during meals
‘talking to theGolfer’ by Erich Ferdinand
Do you know anyone who isn’t very talkative when they eat? You might not have considered that they’re not just engrossed in their food: they could be suffering from an intense fear of speaking during mealtimes. Rather than feel awkward if you find yourself at a meal with someone with this phobia, make the most of it! It gives you an opportunity to tuck into your meal and enjoy it uninterrupted.
01 – Pentheraphobia – fear of your mother-in-law
‘The bride and Mother in law…’ by Marc Eliot
I’m sure everyone has suffered from a fear of their mother-in-law at some point. Sufferers will do anything they can to avoid their spouses’ mothers! Joking aside, this is a serious phobia; there are several others relating to step-parents or other in-laws, as well. It’s usually linked to having experienced a trauma, which possible makes it one of the saddest phobias of all.