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Phobophobia?


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Shortdude3000

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 12:24 AM

Phobophobia is the fear of fears. Surely this fear is impossible as you will fear having the fear and hence prevent yourself from fearing, or never develop the fear in the first place?!?!?!?
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#2 Quag

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 03:13 AM

or spend your entire life in constant unmitigated terror!
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#3 Shortdude3000

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 10:36 AM

or spend your entire life in constant unmitigated terror!


:) But if you have a phobia of something, doesn't your brain prevent you from doing it, hence wiping it your own fear? :S
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#4 Thalia

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 10:38 AM

I think it is more of the fear of the symptoms of it. If you have claustrophobia and thinking about enclosed spaces make you dizzy or pass out (not saying that it does), you may be afraid of the fear. It seems like that would be more of the fear of getting dizzy or passing out though. Not quite sure that makes sense as it is 1:30 AM but it seems to at the moment. :rolleyes:

Edited by Thalia, 23 February 2011 - 10:38 AM.

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#5 3lizab3th

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 03:11 AM

My greatest fear IS fear... so yeah, it's totally possible. Irrational, but quite possible.
Though, for the record, I could just have a pathological lack of natural fears (I regularly watch lightning and tornado warnings lure me outside..), and so have no way of dealing with fear when I have to... wow, I never thought of it that way before.
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#6 Shortdude3000

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 06:16 PM

I'm not sure that you are saying it right. You are saying that fears make you scared, but i'm suggesting a fear of fears, which doesn't seem possible to develop or sustain without scaring yourself from having the fear.
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#7 3lizab3th

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 08:30 PM

No the IDEA of being able to be scared by something scares me...
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#8 Shortdude3000

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 10:54 PM

But you are scared of that, hence meaning that you are scared of the idea of something happening to you. Doesn't that mean that you, in a way, fear yourself?
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#9 octopuppy

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 01:50 PM

Phobophobia is the fear of fears. Surely this fear is impossible as you will fear having the fear and hence prevent yourself from fearing, or never develop the fear in the first place?!?!?!?

IMO a limited degree of phobophobia is probably pretty normal. When contemplating a frightening activity, the sensation of fear is one of the things which we imagine, which scares us away. If you choose not to watch a particularly scary movie, it's the fear that you fear. Why not? Fear isn't pleasant. Though obviously the word "phobophobia" is intended to describe an extreme condition where the fear of being in the grip of fear causes great anxiety. There's nothing impossible about it, since being afraid of something doesn't imply that you can successfully avoid that thing. How do you avoid fear? When even the idea of fear makes you afraid, it must be very hard to avoid. When somebody perceives themselves as being at the mercy of phobias and panic attacks, I can see how this could be terrifying, since it may seem beyond your power to control. The more you believe it, the more true it becomes. It sounds like a kind of phobic emotional gridlock, an extra level of ensnarement in phobic behaviour.
It is ironic though, that a statement like "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" is used to embody the very opposite mindset, like 3lizab3th. Maybe "We have nothing to avoid but fear itself" would be more accurate.

No the IDEA of being able to be scared by something scares me...

The behaviour pattern is different, resulting in confrontation and elimination of the fear (even fear itself), rather than retreat and panic. That says to me that you are not acting out of fear but out of a desire to overcome fear. You may have an aversion to fear but it doesn't sound like you are afraid of it.

EDIT: No, that isn't right, it isn't aversion. People with arachnophobia tend to avoid spiders, they don't run around stomping on them. Sounds like you stomp on your fears, 3lizab3th. Perhaps you regard fear as the enemy. Well, anyway, that's not phobic behaviour.
By the way, remember fear can be your friend too. If you really feel the need to confront fear so much I urge you to cultivate a rational approach to danger, after all, fear aside, there's no point getting yourself killed unnecessarily. Sometimes fear is disproportionate to risk (scary movies, rollercoasters, even bungee jumping), sometimes the risk is as great as the fear. Apply sensible risk analysis. The more fearless you are, the more you need to be wise.
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#10 Shortdude3000

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 07:19 PM

IMO a limited degree of phobophobia is probably pretty normal. When contemplating a frightening activity, the sensation of fear is one of the things which we imagine, which scares us away. If you choose not to watch a particularly scary movie, it's the fear that you fear. Why not? Fear isn't pleasant. Though obviously the word "phobophobia" is intended to describe an extreme condition where the fear of being in the grip of fear causes great anxiety. There's nothing impossible about it, since being afraid of something doesn't imply that you can successfully avoid that thing. How do you avoid fear? When even the idea of fear makes you afraid, it must be very hard to avoid. When somebody perceives themselves as being at the mercy of phobias and panic attacks, I can see how this could be terrifying, since it may seem beyond your power to control. The more you believe it, the more true it becomes. It sounds like a kind of phobic emotional gridlock, an extra level of ensnarement in phobic behaviour.
It is ironic though, that a statement like "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" is used to embody the very opposite mindset, like 3lizab3th. Maybe "We have nothing to avoid but fear itself" would be more accurate.
The behaviour pattern is different, resulting in confrontation and elimination of the fear (even fear itself), rather than retreat and panic. That says to me that you are not acting out of fear but out of a desire to overcome fear. You may have an aversion to fear but it doesn't sound like you are afraid of it.

EDIT: No, that isn't right, it isn't aversion. People with arachnophobia tend to avoid spiders, they don't run around stomping on them. Sounds like you stomp on your fears, 3lizab3th. Perhaps you regard fear as the enemy. Well, anyway, that's not phobic behaviour.
By the way, remember fear can be your friend too. If you really feel the need to confront fear so much I urge you to cultivate a rational approach to danger, after all, fear aside, there's no point getting yourself killed unnecessarily. Sometimes fear is disproportionate to risk (scary movies, rollercoasters, even bungee jumping), sometimes the risk is as great as the fear. Apply sensible risk analysis. The more fearless you are, the more you need to be wise.


I'm referring to the extreme version. As you said, being scared of spiders will try to make you avoid them. So your brain, avoiding the fear building inside itself as it fears that fear, will surely avoid that fear and not be scared?!?!?!!?
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