How Do People Get Phobias? Or Why Do We Get Them?

  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ connor kenway
    I think you can pick them up depending on the severity of them. My sister and stepfather both have arachnophobia, but I'm the only one with entaphobia.

    I think if, say, your parent curled up into a ball and cried everytime they saw a spider from ever since you can remember, you might have a fear of spiders. (This is not an exaggeration. My sister has horrible reactions when she sees a spider.)

    ---

    I think they can be caused through a miswiring or through experiences. I had a slight aversion to bugs when I was younger because they were creepy and I think my stepmother exasperated my fear by shoving bugs "in" my face and laughing when i burst into tears and ran off.

    I also can have panic attacks when faced with "extreme" heights (over 100 stories or open) and I have no idea where that came from. it didn't start until I was a junior in high school and it's only happened three times. I love to fly and ride rollercoasters though.
    May 16th, 2013 at 08:53pm
  • gingersaurusrex

    gingersaurusrex (100)

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    Just saw this and thought I would mention this: I was doing research last semester on Tarantism for a class. One scientific article in particular that said arachnophobia is thought to be genetic. Western cultures were impacted by Tarantism (which is caused by the bite of a spider, and causes dancing), which would explain why mostly descendants of Western cultures have arachnophobia.
    Here's an article about it: http://voices.yahoo.com/bizarre-mental-health-issues-tarantism-7554222.html?cat=5
    I would link the article I read, but I can't seem to find it...
    June 1st, 2013 at 01:36am
  • Kuja the Sexy;

    Kuja the Sexy; (100)

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    I think of for some, it could be due to trauma. Like, for me, I have a fear of ovens. Most people think that this fear is really dumb or weird. But it's actually because I have this fear of getting burned or whatever. I don't know how I started to fear them.

    It's the same with my phobia for hospitals. I had a traumatic experience with them a few times because of my autism. As for dentists, I've been afraid of them since I was three. I don't know what caused me to have such a terrifying fear over them either... I just can't stand them.

    I always think that for some, it could be either due to simply just the fear of what could happen or some sort of traumatic experience.
    June 3rd, 2013 at 07:17pm
  • treat02

    treat02 (100)

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    Phobias are made by people experiencing the scare of the phobia before. For example, my sister is afraid of heights because when she was little she climbed on a latter and fell off and broke her ankle. I am deathly afraid of spiders because when I was about 6 we were in a hotel, and I went outside and there were at least 20 spiders, and a lot of them bit me.

    Even if something does happen that is bad, not always do you have a phobia of it. Just sometimes the fear just catches up with you.
    June 7th, 2013 at 08:59am
  • laredo.

    laredo. (100)

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    I have this strange fear of butterflies and moths that makes summer awful since I love to be outside. I've had it ever since I can remember. I'm not sure WHY I have it, because I can't remember any traumatizing moments that could have caused it.

    Maybe my fear is simply caused because they're creepy and I have a fear of bugs as well? I'm not sure.
    June 13th, 2013 at 05:20am
  • xSimpleEnoughx

    xSimpleEnoughx (100)

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    Every fear I have is pretty much completely irrational.
    Spiders
    Heights
    The dark
    Clowns
    Moths
    Feet
    Driving cars
    I know my fear of clowns, driving cars, feet, moths, and all those things are 150% irrational.
    June 26th, 2013 at 02:57pm
  • Neon rocker

    Neon rocker (100)

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    I have a extreme fear of heights and needles, the fear is so bad , that it is a phobia , I completely freak out if I go to high in a buliding , I can't go on esclators cause of bad my phobia of heights are, in certain elevators I freak out , I go on roller coasters and all, but the whole time I'm freaking out , saying I gonna die, I feel like I'm gonna have a panic attack, but then when I get off , most of the time I wanna go on again cause I loved the rush it gave me , and with my needle phobia , I completely freak out , when i find out that I need to get blood work, or I need to get a shot , I alma or ran out of a buliding one time, I scream really loud when they try to give me a shot , or get blood work, people have to hold me down most of the time, mind you , with the phobia of needles, n how I scream bloody murder, I'm 13 year old
    July 3rd, 2013 at 01:53am
  • Neon rocker

    Neon rocker (100)

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    Also, I scream really loud when I see a spider , I don't nessacrily have a phobia of spiders , more like a fear of them, but I hate them
    July 3rd, 2013 at 01:55am
  • Park Jimin

    Park Jimin (930)

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    I'm afraid of clowns and I have no idea why.
    July 30th, 2013 at 12:36am
  • Looking at Stars

    Looking at Stars (100)

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    I have a fear of yogurt lids, mostly. Or white liquid/sauce on anything plastic. It makes it really hard when I go food shopping, as I can't eat things that are in packets as they might be disgusting and dirty.

    This comes from all the surgeries and operations I had as a child, I think. (Around 14, between the ages of 0-12. I think I might have had more, but I lost count after a while) When you're a kid they put numbing cream on your hands, so that the anesthetic needle doesn't hurt. They cover this cream with a clear plaster, and I used to sit there in my hospital bed for about an hour not moving my head or arms as I couldn't bare the sight of it. In the end they'd wrap my hands up in a bandage.

    Since then I can't have dirty food packaging, any kind of white liquid or any kind of sauce.
    July 30th, 2013 at 05:24pm
  • the 1975

    the 1975 (200)

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    My only true phobia (I guess it's more of a deep fear now since I'm not as bad as I used to be) definitely stems from trauma. When I was in middle school, my stepmom took me and my stepsister to a haunted house for Halloween. I love things like that so they never used to bother me, but at this particular one, a guy dressed up like Michael Myers came out of the bushes near the exit carrying a chainsaw. I got spooked and started running down the sidewalk, but he kept chasing me. I was so worried about him behind me that I wasn't paying attention and ran into the middle of the street and was this close to getting hit by a car.

    Since then I've been deathly afraid of chainsaws. Even if I was in my room and I heard someone using one outside I'd lock myself in my closet and cry. My classmates really got a kick out of this when we had to discuss our phobias in my psychology class junior year.
    August 6th, 2013 at 07:30pm
  • Careless Whisper.

    Careless Whisper. (310)

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    I have an irrational fear of beetles. I've always been creeped out by them, but what I think made it worse was when I saw The Mummy in theatres like 13-14 years ago (Cheese). In the movie there were these bugs that looked like beetles and they crawled under people's skin and ate them from the inside out. That freaked me out. I remember pulling my feet up in the seat and hugging my knees. XD

    I also have a fear of bees/wasps because I got stung so many times as a child. Really I'm just terrified of bugs in general. File
    August 15th, 2013 at 01:29am
  • itsmorgan

    itsmorgan (100)

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    I have the most absurd and irrational phobias. I'm terrified of cotton balls. Just cotton balls. The way they feel, the way they sound. Just thinking about cotton balls makes my spine tingle, my hands sweat and want to throw up.

    I am also afraid of my fingers becoming proony. I take seven minute showers and I'm constantly drying my fingers off. I don't go swimming or anything. It sucks because I want to be a shark biologist but I can't because that involves getting my fingers wet for a long period of time.

    I'm also afraid of mice and rats and birds. But I'm afraid of mice and rats because my mom is and I was brought up thinking that they are horrible creatures. I just think birds are going to peck my eyes out; that's why I'm afraid of them but I don't necessarily think it's a phobia.

    When people ask my why I have these weird phobias I tell them it's because of my past lives, as in reincarnation. I know some people don't believe in it but I do.

    I think that I was a black slave on a cotton farm, so now I'm afraid of cotton because of the horrible things that I was put through on the cotton farm.

    I also think that I drowned in a previous life that's why I'm afraid of have proony fingers.
    August 23rd, 2013 at 05:49am
  • Machete

    Machete (100)

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    My phobia of death stems from a friend's close suicide, and I remember that I couldn't handle anything that was related to suicide -- I still can't. I developed a phobia of horror and the dark from watching too many horror videos. I guess phobias can also be developed as well.
    August 30th, 2013 at 08:17am
  • the god of thunder.

    the god of thunder. (300)

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    @ itsmorgan
    It's not from your past life. OMGYES It's behavioral conditioning.

    For example, your fear of cotton. It's an object that for some reason gives you fear. So every time you come into contact with it, you try to get away from it as to reduce the fear. When you do this, you're teaching yourself that getting away from the cotton is going to reduce your stress, so you should scream/throw it/etc instead of just touching it and getting used to it.

    It's the same thing with spiders. We teach ourselves to kill them or not touch them so we don't feel stressed out about our fears, but we're reinforcing that behavior every time we do it. So, we're conditioning ourselves to behave fearfully so we don't have to feel uncomfortable for very long. It's all tangibly ~psychological~
    September 11th, 2013 at 03:05am
  • bucky.

    bucky. (100)

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    I have a huge fear of pregnancy, pregnant women, the idea of childbirth, etc, etc. Which is pretty ironic at the moment, considering my psychology teacher who taught the class on phobias is now pregnant. I can barely concentrate in her class anymore Facepalm I literally feel ill whenever I'm in the class... I feel like I'm being really horrible about it, because I know it's not her fault that she happens to teach a girl with Tokophobia... But, just, ugh. I struggle so much to pay attention, and she's started noticing that I'm always super pale in her class. Sad
    November 22nd, 2013 at 01:23am
  • Obsessed22

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    I don't really know either. My idea is maybe something just traumatizing?
    Like once I was dropped when being carried, I was young like 6-7. Now I have a phobia of being carried where I can't catch myself with my own two feet, I love piggy back ride but like bridal or over the shoulder style terrifies me. Even thinking of it makes me cringe and panic.
    So some phobias come from traumatizing events.
    November 25th, 2013 at 10:09pm
  • Thingtastic

    Thingtastic (360)

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    Well I think we become afraid of things due to traumatic experiences in our lives. But for example, if a child sees a snake and starts screaming and crying when they've never actually encountered one before, I think it's due to the people in their environment.

    It's like the Little Albert experiment. He was taught to fear all things furry, and he'd never even encountered those things before.
    December 2nd, 2013 at 07:02am
  • Goddess of Floyd

    Goddess of Floyd (200)

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    I have a fear of moths, but the thing is I've had no traumatic experiences related to moths in my life. There was one time a couple of years ago where there were a lot in our house, and that was the first time I found out I didn't like them. I don't understand it, because I love butterflies, moths' closest cousin.

    Plus, I don't know anyone else in my family that hates moths, so that rules out the theory about the people you grow up around.

    I am just mysteriously terrified of them. Most of the explanations I've seen in the forum don't seem to apply here.
    December 6th, 2013 at 04:54pm
  • dear avery

    dear avery (660)

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    i have a phobia of ovens, heavy machinery and air-conditioning fans.
    i'm not big on electric things, really, have to get over that someday.
    December 7th, 2013 at 09:50am