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Phobophobia?

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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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Posted · Report post

or spend your entire life in constant unmitigated terror!

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Posted · Report post

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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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
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Posted · Report post

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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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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Posted · Report post

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

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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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Posted · Report post

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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Posted · Report post

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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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?!?!?!!?
Well, more to the point, being scared of spiders makes you try to avoid them. Fear makes you want to avoid something, but not necessarily able to do so.
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Well, more to the point, being scared of spiders makes you try to avoid them. Fear makes you want to avoid something, but not necessarily able to do so.

You are right in some respect. Your brain will try and make you avoid spiders, but cannot physically prevent you from touching them, as they can be thrown at you and stuff. However, your brain has control of your fears and always has it with it, it is a different situation to spiders.

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Posted · Report post

However, your brain has control of your fears and always has it with it
Seriously? How come people with phobias and panic attacks have difficulty finding the off switch?
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Let's try to boil it down. If you are afraid of something, When it happens or you go near whatever you are afraid of, you feel a feeling. You don't like this feeling, so you try to avoid it. If the only fear you have is phobphobia, then you have no fear to set off the chain reaction. If you have more fears, the moment they end, your phobphobia will end.

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Let's try to boil it down. If you are afraid of something, When it happens or you go near whatever you are afraid of, you feel a feeling. You don't like this feeling, so you try to avoid it. If the only fear you have is phobphobia, then you have no fear to set off the chain reaction. If you have more fears, the moment they end, your phobphobia will end.

That's relating it to other phobias. But Phobophobia is a fear in itself and would hence cause fear upon you feeling the symptoms on it which would trigger as soon as you see or think of another fear. Using your theories, from the second another fear sparks it off, you will be in constant terror.

I think that it actually would cause constant fear of the fear itself.

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I'd like to mention that the word "phobia" means "a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it."

Therefore, for you to have "phobiaphobia" you would be persistently scared of fear. This leads simply to persistent fear. It's irrational, of course, and fear is also my greatest fear, but that doesn't mean I have phobiaphobia.

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The important thing here is the "irrational" part. I don't think it's irrational to have a fear of something that can kill you......

Having said that, it's possible to prefix -phobia with any Greek prefix and make up a phobia. Doesn't mean eg. that phobophobia exists. You could even have phobophobophobia.

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Phobias are weird that way.

For example, the fear of long words is

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

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

If that is the case then I am going to work on a fear of dying. Just because I fear something, that does not mean I can prevent it.

Let's go deeper and say well, we're talking about what's going on in the brain. OK. What about say bed-wetters? Certainly they fear wetting the bed, but yet it still happens and isn't there a psychological aspect to that?

Additionally there are things that I have feared and yet my brain didn't prevent me from doing it. Some people who have a fear of talking in front of an audience still do it and the fear persists.

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Posted · Report post

I'd like to mention that the word "phobia" means "a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it."

Therefore, for you to have "phobiaphobia" you would be persistently scared of fear. This leads simply to persistent fear.

Not necessarily. A phobia is triggered by the sight or thought etc of the focus of the fear. So an arachnophobic doesn't walk around thinking about their fear of spiders until something reminds them of it or there is some threat of a spider.

So phobophobia is like someone mentioned, it is similar to a panic attack; when something elicits a fear in a person, they are not only scared of the spider/heights/long words, but they are freaked out by the fear that they haven't managed to avoid.. So it spirals into a panic attack. Of course panic attacks do die down eventually due to the way a panic attack exhausts the body and mind.

The rest of the time they try to avoid the things that cause fear rather than avoiding fear itself..

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Posted · Report post

the thing about the fear of fears: if you have a fear of the unsolved fears, then your not fearful. then you dont have fears. im kinda confused...

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Having the fear of fears doesn't make the fear dissapear. The fear is still there anyways, and it is perfectly logical. The fear of X will only go away if you say truthfully "I don't fear X anymore".

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