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Cacophobia Phobia Of Ugly Things Or Ugly People

Updated on November 15, 2013

Having an aversion, extreme dislike or fear of anyone or anything extremely unattractive. It’s easy to poke fun at people with unusual disorders but it cannot be helped. Phobias can lead to anxiety and depression.

What is a phobia?

First of all we need to look at the definition of phobia. Most people are confused or at least misinformed about what a phobia is. We understand it is a clinical mental disturbance but the actual definition is mostly inaccurate across the Internet.

Having a fear of something is indeed a phobia but you can also have an abnormal dislike of something or abhorrence to a thing and that can also be a phobia. You don’t have to necessarily be afraid of something to have a phobia.

Society has taken the “fear” portion of the definition and overused it.

If you hate something to the point it consumes your life, you may have a phobia.

If something makes you extremely uncomfortable to the point you can’t look at it or must leave the room or premises then you quite likely have a phobia. You aren’t afraid, you don’t have thoughts of that object or person attacking you or bringing you harm, it simply makes you anxious.

Fear is only part of the disorder and some do not experience fear at all.


There are people who have a real problem with physical flaws or serious imperfections in another human, animal or object. Some of them have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and want things to be put to right but not all have OCD.

These people have trouble talking to someone who has a wart on their nose, a birthmark that covers part of their face or even a rash. Some abhor obese people and can’t stand the sight of them.

If your phobia is only of over-weight humans, then you might have cacomorphobia: an obsession with obesity, which is a different phobia.

There are varying degrees of the disorder: some can handle a small imperfection but there are some patients who have a problem with the slightest feature that is out of place. A bad haircut may drive them to distraction until it has grown out or the person has it repaired.

This is one of the most hidden phobias due to the stigma attached to it. Telling anyone you have abhorrence to anyone who is unattractive or imperfect isn’t a good idea. You get all sorts of mean comments as though you can help it or do it on purpose.

People don’t have this phobia to be cruel or to poke fun at those with disabilities or afflictions. Most of them keep this phobia to themselves and don’t mention it out loud to anyone. They are themselves a victim.

Recluse-avoiding the public

Some have it so bad they won’t leave the house. Seeing someone who is very unattractive makes them feel extremely uncomfortable, they may become nauseous, have heart palpitations, so they avoid situations where they might be exposed to these people.

Some even have an anxiety attack when exposed to someone or something they find unappealing.

Behavior modification

Sometimes Cacophobics can be helped by exposing them to people with the imperfections that bother them the most.

For example: if a man has trouble looking at pictures in a magazine of children with a cleft lip he can be introduced to a person with this deformity giving him more exposure. This needs to be done with the supervision of a psychiatrist or psychologist who knows how to treat people with this phobia.

He gets to know someone on a personal level and may become more used to seeing people in this condition; hopefully, after several sessions he will feel more comfortable being around them. The next time he sees children in a television advertisement he may be able to overlook it without quickly changing the channel or covering his eyes.

It’s their fault they are ugly

It’s easier to overcome cacophobia if the maladies can’t be helped but harder for them to get past ones they feel is the person’s fault such as obesity, facial piercings or warts on the nose. Granted they didn’t purposely grow a wart but it is easily removed by a physician or over the counter medications so a Cacophobic may feel they could improve their situation if they wanted to.

Look in the mirror

You may think these people exclusively hold judgment for other people but they are just as critical of their own looks. Cacophobics routinely look for flaws in the mirror and are some of the ones who seek a plastic surgeon for the most minor of imperfections.

A laugh line to us appears as a huge wrinkle to them.

Of course there are people who are addicted to plastic surgery and not necessarily a person with Cacophobia. That is another psychological disorder altogether.


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    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Adnan, if it causes you anxiety you should seek the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist. They can help you work through your emotional distress.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      sir, i have cocaphobia i feel fear from ugly people and things that they are ugly..i feel anxiety what should i do

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Glad you stopped by to read, Himanshu.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      thanks for this article. Now, at least I wont feel bad abt having it

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Richawater, you are a special person that you can see the best in everyone and overlook flaws. That is a gift and certainly not a disorder.

      Unknown Spy, it is unusual and not something widely known.

    • unknown spy profile image

      Life Under Construction 

      7 years ago from Neverland

      Never heard of this phobia before. Thanks for sharing..

    • Richawriter profile image

      Richard J ONeill 

      7 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Hey Pamela N Red.

      Interesting and up because I was intrigued by this article and the unusual phobia - Cacophobia!

      I couldn't imagine what those poor people go through as there is a lot that could be considered ugly in our world.

      My self, I see the beauty in everyone and everything. Maybe I have a phobia of hurting people's feelings! Whenever someone asks me how they look I always compliment them because I always see something nice about them.

      Thanks and peace. :)

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Daffy, that is true, he did and it's a shame because he was fine before he started having so many surgeries. He was a perfectionist and that is part of why his music was so great.

    • Daffy Duck profile image

      Daffy Duck 

      7 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

      Michael Jackson had something similar to this. I believe what he had was called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. He focused on his face and flaws that didn't exist except in his mind.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Jama, it's hard to say what causes phobias and mental disorders. There is a chemical imbalance but who knows what causes that imbalance.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Pamela, a great hub on a condition most people aren't aware of! I had no idea some people have a phobia about those who they deem "not perfect". My first thought even before reading Spirit Whisperer's comments was an underlying, deep-seated cause, although I'd go a bit farther and delve into a past life. For instance, the person may have had a cleft palate or a malformed limb in that life and therefore abhors any physical imperfection in him/herself and others in the current life.

      Voted up and awesome! ;D

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks, Parks. There are all sorts of phobias out there.

    • Parks McCants profile image

      Parks McCants 

      7 years ago from Eugene Oregon U.S.A.

      Wow... Now I'm afraid to leave the house.An interesting article that hopefully sheds some light for readers, on the debilitating side-effects of phobic behavior. Voted up.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      I've seen blogs online making fun of people with phobias because they don't understand the seriousness of the disorder.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Never heard of this condition. Thanks for sharing this information. Voted up and Shared! Take care, Kelley

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      I've never heard of this before. This was a good hub that explained the phobia in an easy-to-understand format. Nice job.

      Voted up, useful and interesting. Socially shared.

    • kj force profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Pamela..realizing these phobia's are real and very contributes to society's decision. When there are people without disfigurments constantly promoting "plastic beauty"is it any wonder that children grow up being obsessed with phobias?

      Thank you for bring awareness to this subject.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks, Ishwaryaa, for reading.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      7 years ago from Chennai, India

      An informative and insightful hub! I have not heard of this phobia till now thanks to you! As you mentioned things in the intriguing title, I admit that I am scared of lizards! I found them extremely disgusting! This hub is clearly explained! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Interesting. Voted up.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Pamela. I do not use just hypnosis. I use a combination of hypnosis and psychotherapy and in my experience all aspects of the phobia vanished once the emotional root cause was addressed at the subconscious level. The chemical imbalance is as a result of the underlying emotional root cause. Many people focus on the symptoms and endeavor to alleviate them using drugs but we address the cause and the symptoms alleviate themselves. We have been doing this for years and doctors often refer their patients to us especially the ones who are not keen on the medication route. This is what we do for a living and it works.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      SW, portions of this disorder can be corrected with hypnotism but because there are so many different aspects of the phobia you can't reverse all symptoms. You may be able to help them with the obesity or cleft palate area but there will still be issues with birth marks, scars, facial piercing, etc.

      Cacophobia is a chemical imbalance in the brain and can be treated with serotonin drugs but they have side effects you must be aware of.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Once again my wife and I have successfully treated people who suffered in this using a Hypno-Psychotherapy. There is an emotional root cause for the condition and no two people will share that cause. Once the cause is discovered, the repression released and all the associations understood permanent relief is achieved. Hypno-Psychotherapy is not a panacea but for many it is a very effective approach to some very debilitating conditions. Thank you for another great hub and for raising the public's awareness to this condition.


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