quirky behaviors inspired by irrational fears

I’m afraid to vacuum when I’m alone in the house. The noise the vacuum makes is so loud, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to hear it if someone or something was trying to sneak up on me.

Now, this is a completely irrational fear. I always lock my doors, I have a security system, and three dogs. I live in a relatively crime-free rural area. The biggest crime we had last year was the theft of some fishing equipment from a guy’s open garage. No kidding.
But still, I have these irrational fears.

I always check the back seat of my car before I get in it. Could be an axe-murderer in there. I always hesitate to come downstairs too quickly in the dark. Could be an axe-murderer down there. I have all these bizarre axe-murderer fears. I’ve been called paranoid before; I don’t like situations where I’m not in control. I hate surprises. And of course, somepeolpe tell me I have a phobia. Which is not only incorrect, but misleading, since a phobia would prevent me from functioning normally, which my fears certainly are not doing.

Does anyone else have strange fears like this?


  • when I pee… well, when I pull down my pants and take my seat, I have to take a moment and assure myself MY PANTS ARE OFF…I AM SEATED ON A TOILET…THE COAST IS CLEAR TO “MAKE WATER”.

for real. I’m hardwired so hard not to pee JUST anywhere so I really have to take a moment and assure myself to go.

It’s not like i’ve had accidents in the past… so I think it’s a tad irrational.

  • whenever I eat ANYTHING, i must put my hair back. i think I’m afraid of choking on my hair. I’ve always got a hair clip handy for when I want to chow down. It’s not that I have unruly hair… so it’s completely irrational.

I am constantly checking my fly to make sure it’s up, even after I know it’s up. I’m just afraid of the consequences of it not being up. Needless to say, this looks very weird to a girl.

I cannot stand on the floor when the room is dark. I have to have my feet off the floor before the lights are off. Yes, this means when I am home alone, I have to have a lamp and when I don’t, I have to sleep with the light on.

Dang Mith. Looks like your potty training took hold. With a vengance.

Every now and then walking along a sidewalk I’ll get it into my head that I have to slit stepping over the cracks evenly, so that my right leg and left leg both step over the same number of cracks. Sometimes, when my right knee is acting up, even “punish” the right leg by letting the left leg step over more cracks.

No real fear associated with it, but I’ve done it ever since I was a kid.

welby, OCD?

As I kid was a terrible. Everything had to be even on both sides of my body. If i had a hangnail on one side… I would create one for the other! Stressful existence.

evilbeth, what’s that from? what do you think is on the floor? snakes or something?


I’m exactly the same. Every single night, I check on my daughter before I go to bed. Every single night, I have to stand outside of her door and psych myself up to open it- for some reason I’m terrified there will be something on the other side of her door. Alien, axe-murderer, who knows. I’m also the same way about opening up the office each morning- even though the building has been locked and the alarm is on.

I’m pretty goofy when it comes to escalators too. I’m terrified of the very last steps- I don’t know why but I have to concentrate really hard on just how to place my feet to step off the escalator and on to the floor. I think this is because I’m really clumsy though…

I check the backseat of the car, too. My friend actually commented on this by saying that he had an aunt who got in her car, and someone WAS in the backseat, and tried to strangle her. So I feel it is not irrational at all. As unlikely as it is, it DOES happen. Maybe not in your neighborhood, though, ratty.

Also, airdisc, I check my fly a lot, too, but mostly upon leaving the bathroom. Sometimes several times, just to make sure. But, this is also not irrational, because several times (once just yesterday in a VERY public place) it has saved me from open-fly embarrassment.

I’m sort of like Mith. If I accidentally bump say my right elbow, I have to bang my left elbow too, so they aren’t uneven.
If I get one sleeve wet I have to get the other one wet too, etc…

If you step on a rusty nail, do you have to even that out, too?

I’ve gotta say, with my absolute lack of a background in psychology, that does sound a bit like an OCD to me.

As a kid, the Steven King story ‘The Boogeyman’ scared me to tears. (The story’s about a man whose family is stalked by a boogeyman who lives in the closet.) Scared me so bad, as a matter of fact, that I started blocking my closet door shut with a stack of books so the boogeyman couldn’t get to me.

A year later, I realized that hey, if I could SEE into the closet, then the boogeyman couldn’t come at me ('cause he only can manifest in the closet when the door’s closed and you can’t see him, right?). So I started sleeping with the closet door open.

About twenty years later, I still do.

(Not that I’m scared of the boogeyman anymore, it’s just become so ingrained a habit that it feels weird to have the closet door shut.)

Ever since I saw that movie where the guy is in the Turkish prison for pot, and he inadvertantly kills a guard by “hanging” him on a coathook kind of thing, I am real antsy about coathooks at about base-of-skull level, and I will stand very far away from them for fear that someone will accidentally bump into me or something and I’ll get impaled.

I can’t sleep in a room with “dark spots,” like an open closet door or a dark coat hung over the chair or something. I don’t know why, either…I know it’s just a coat, so I really couldn’t tell you what it is that I’m afraid of, exactly. It just makes me very uneasy knowing there’s a large area that’s much darker than the rest of the room. It’s like I can sense it even with my eyes closed, and I can’t sleep until I get rid of the dark spot. All doors must be closed, and I keep a white throw-blanket near my bed expressly for the purpose of throwing over dark clothing or objects in my room.

When I lived with a roommate in a 2-bedroom apartment and was alone at night, I would have to open all the doors in the apartment because I was afraid of seeing or hearing the doorknobs turning on their own.

I also can’t pass by a mirror in a dark room without closing my eyes. I’m afraid of what I’ll see in the mirror.
OK, so to sum up, I’m 24 and I’m still afraid of the dark. :o

Could this be an honest to god literal illustration of anal-retentiveness? Yay, unbury Freud, he was right all these years!

I have this thing about stuff falling in my drink. I’ll pour a fresh, full drink out if I even suspect that something fell in it. I kinda automatically cover my cup if anyone is passing dishes or waves over it, and with a lot of people I’ll move it away from them (covertly) if they’re talking in my direction 'cause they might be one of those spit-talkers and I don’t want it landing in my beverage. I won’t turn on the ceiling fan over my kitchen table because (no matter how much you dust it) I always see a lot of tiny dust flakes falling when you turn it on that were sitting on the blades. When I take a pill, I’ll get a cup and only put a small amount of drink in it, so I can be sure that the pill went down and didn’t get sucked into the drink in the backwash.

Weird ain’t it?

My first car had a number of charming features, among them that turning off the car wouldn’t turn off the radio or the headlights, and there was no warning tone for the headlights. Also, I hate when you’re driving on a rainy day and you turn off the car and it catches the wipers mid-wipe.

So whenever I turn off any car, I do this unconcious ritual: radio off, wipers off, lights off, car off. It’s so completely unintentional that I don’t even notice it, and I sometimes play mindgames with myself . . . Did I turn off the lights, or did I forget? But I never forget because I always do the ritual without thinking about it.

When my husband drove my truck with me as a passenger one time, he forgot to turn off the lights, and the tone sounded, and I panicked. Oh my god, what’s wrong? What did you do? Did you break my truck!?! “Jesus, chill, I just left the lights on.” Oh. It makes a sound when you do that?

when I come upstairs from the basement in the dark I always run.

Me too! My grandpa once told me a story about someone getting her hair caught in an escalator and dying. I don’t even know if it’s true, but I think about it everytime I’m on an escalator. I prepare to take my step off the escator a few seconds before I need to just so I’m ready.

I’ve always been like this. It makes me feel like there’s a person there watching me. Plus, I know that if I wake up during the night and see a dark spot I’ll scream thinking someone has gotten into my room.

My grandma has always been paranoid about people breaking in with someone home, so that fear was always there for me. Then at some point I watched a show on home invasions. Not a great idea. If I’m home alone sometimes I just get really weird feelings and have to run to wherever I’m going in the house, and if possible, lock myself in that room.

When I was about six, I heard someone say something about swallowing your tongue and suffocating (like in a seizure.) I thoguht i would just happen. So now, I can’t sleep with my head looking straight up towards the ceiling.

I’m afraid of vaccuum sealed biscuit containers. (Like Grands Rolls.) You have to peel off the top layer of wrapping (inevitably cutting the directions in half) and then whack it against the edge of the counter top to break it open. For some reason, I have a fear of it exploding, so I always flinch back when I’m doing it. The first time my husband saw me doing that, he laughed, and explained that I had nothing to fear. Well, I know that, logically, but I still flinch every time I open a can.

While I don’t have a problem with boogeymen in the closets, I hate having the shower curtain closed. If I’m on the toilet, I can’t help but watch the closed shower curtain for any sign of movement. Irrational, but it’s one of those little phobias that stuck with me.