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Can't Stand Nails Being Dragged Down a Blackboard and Other Strange Phobias

Updated on March 7, 2015

Lots of different types of phobias out there

I've had what i consider to be a rather strange phobia that's been with me as long as I can remember. I can't stand the look or feel of a strand of wool being pulled between my fingernails. If it's a broken fingernail - well that's about ten times worse.

When my children were younger but big enough to hold me down, they'd tease the life out of me by pulling on wool threads on a jersey I'd be wearing. It simply sends the hair on the back of my neck straight up.

Most people in the world have the same reaction to fingers being scrapped down a blackboard. Actually although I don't like it its way less on the radar than the wool story. Scientists tend to think the blackboard thing is actually an audio problem for us all more than anything else. In fact they've mainly put it down to being similar to the early warning call of a primate.

So that might explain Blackboards but it doesn't explain wool threads. Interestingly I'd never talked about this with my mother, only because it all seems very trivial, until it came up out of the blue, about 15 years ago. I was rather astonished to hear from her that she had exactly the same phobia. What was curious about this though was that I recall growing up with my mother having one hobby after another and one of them was spinning wool. I remember well occasionally watched in horror at her 'carding' wool. This involved two brushes like large wire brushes that ran one on top of the other in opposing directions, shredding and I suppose straightening the wool as it went. How on earth could she have coped with that task when I was frozen just watching it? Interesting that the phobia may well be genetic.

Anyway it turns out that there's people everywhere that suffer from these tiny phobias. There's quite a list of them on the net.

Here goes:

Some people can't stand it when a pip from say a fresh raspberry gets caught in their teeth. Now I find this fairly irritating but its never sent my a chill down my spine.

Others don't like it if someone bites on tinfoil. Where did this come from? How could you deliberately bite on tinfoil? If you've ever accidentally done it as I have on occasion, you certainly make a mental note to always check the chocolate wrapper or whatever it was that the tinfoil originated from. The feeling is almost like a tiny electric shock. Its only happened by chance to me a handful of times and I guess I must have bitten down on an old metal filing, but the reaction is swift and brutal. Tooth nerve endings are just so sensitive.

Some people have a problem with bridges and tunnels. I guess this is getting into the realms of phobias like vertigo, so we may be going a bit off topic here and should be sticking to nerve endings, but not so long ago my wife and I were having lunch in quite a busy cafe that was just off a highway, next to a river with a bridge on top. The bridge was short, about 150 yards, quite wide and as the cars were just leaving the town, the speed limit was a fairly slow 30mph. Just as we walked out the door a quite pretty girl in her late 20's who was hitchhiking asked us if we wouldn't mind accompanying her across the bridge. This of course was no problem at all. I didn't ask her any questions about this as I didn't want to embarrass her, but as the bridge had a perfectly safe walkway and side rail and the water wasn't too far beneath us, maybe 35 yards, my guess was a kind of vertigo. Poor thing.

Quite a lot of people have posted how they cringe hearing someone using a nail file.

An interesting one I found was someone saying that dragging their fingernails over anything that isn't smooth. They say that wooden things and paper are the worst and even thinking about it makes their spine tingle. I've got to say that that to me would be a real affliction. We all use paper most of the day so to find the touch of it unbearable must be terrible to live with. In fact I found people with a problem with the touch of paper was actually fairly common.

Someone's phobia centered around fat circles that form in pans when water has been poured into it to let it cool. They get spine tingly looking at the fat circles and plead with whoever owns the pan to clean it straight away. Strangely she was saying her sister can't stand the look of crumpets and runs out of a room if she sees them.

One that gets talked about a lot is the spine tingly sound in restaurants and even home meals but especially restaurants where there's a lot of people, of the sound of knives and forks being scrapped and screeched across plates. I can relate a little to that. A knife that misses its target is I guess akin to the blackboard problem.

A few people can't stand the look of honeycomb. This one I don't get at all. But for these folk looking at a bee's honeycomb makes their skin crawl. I'm exactly the opposite, I just think its the most incredible piece of work, that's so perfect, made by these little guys.

Strange Phobias

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Why doing a little research for this hub it was interesting to note so many people have one or two strange phobia that just make them freeze inside. Probably 90% of the World suffers from the most common one, the fingers going down a blackboard, but that seems to have some explanation, which goes right back to us as primates.

The other phobias, who knows? As I said I found by chance that I share my one with my mother, so these phobias could very well be genetic. If that's the case then the mystery is, how so many generations ago did they become a phobia in the first place.

Can they be cured? I think the short answer is no. I can't imagine hypnotherapy doing mine any good or a good psychologist. I'm sure that either could work well on your fear of flying but these phobias seem to have a lot to do with nerve endings and fingertips, so are a much more physical thing than phobias such as vertigo or arachnophobia.

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If you suffer from an unusual phobia and don't mind talking about it it would be great if you could enter it in the comments section below. Thanks.


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