1) A persistent, abnormal or irrational fear of something that compels one to avoid it, despite the knowledge that it is not dangerous
2) A strong dislike, fear or aversion
I had a conversation yesterday about phobias and the reasons behind them. My debater tells me that they always have a root, even if you can’t remember the reasons behind them.
Mine are quite straightforward… I have a phobia of dentists, but then I have vivid and frightening recollections of being quite young and having to have teeth removed from my overcrowded mouth. Until that point, dentist visits were never a problem but, after that day, I have always been filled with dread at the mere mention of a dentist appointment. Thank god I have never needed a filling…
My other phobia is lightning. There was a lad I knew once, a long time ago, who was struck by lightning. I wasn’t there, no, but the stories were enough to frighten me. I am one of those people who hides indoors during a storm, with the curtains closed and music turned up loud to drown out the thunder. If I happen to be out when it starts, I scream at every flash and close my eyes tight. Not so good when you’re in a car… My daughter has screamed back at me on more than one occasion when I close my eyes while driving.
But there are some phobias I hear of that I can’t work out.
Aulophobia – a fear of flutes. Oh? How did that come about? Attacked by a really scary one during childhood?
Barophobia – a fear of gravity. Where would we be without it?
Chrematophobia – a fear of money. ‘Oh god noooooooo… don’t make me take your money…’
So can they all be explained away? My best friend has a fear of clowns; I understand that is a common one. She also has a fear of midgets. She doesn’t know why. She freaks out if someone starts whistling too. Is it wrong of me to want to surprise her on her next birthday? I was thinking… a small person, in a clown costume… whistling ‘Happy Birthday’.