all’s fare in love & war – part1

One of the best methods used to deter us from investigating
highly significant phenomenon
is to saturate them with
embarrassing stigma

new nuts

~  ~  ~

Introducing …

scary feary


Phobias are ‘weird shit’ that …


kinda weird people
get seriously panicked about.

Every so often, it is fun to get together & have a laugh about just what freaks these people out.

But what have we been missing?

English is a conniving language, it bottlenecks major emotions with a lack of words (i.e. where are all the missing words between love & hate), yet when it comes to phobias there is a goddamn glut:

Ablutophobia – fear of bathing, washing, or cleaning

Achluophobia – fear of darkness


Acrophobia – fear of heights

Agoraphobia, Agoraphobia Without History of Panic Disorder – fear of places or events where escape is impossible or when help is unavailable. Fear of open spaces or of being in public places. Fear of leaving a safe place

Agraphobia – fear of sexual abuse

Agrizoophobia – fear of wild animals

Agyrophobia – fear of crossing the road

Aichmophobia – fear of sharp or pointed objects (such as a needle or knife)

Ailurophobia – fear of cats ...”

And that’s just a few of the A’s …

alphabet of fear

… in the
Alphabet of Phobias.

By its definition, the word phobia creates another phobia:

a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it

Who doesn’t have a
of the word


The ideas I want to introduce here reach so deeply into our lives that time will be needed to digest them – they will therefore, be served in slices.

We are going to build up a picture. When we are finished I believe you will see life differently.

So we begin with phobias:

Phobias are incredibly common, and anyone can get them … Put simply, it’s a strong, involuntary fear of a particular object or situation. The fear reaction is irrational because it is way out of proportion to the actual danger the object/ situation presents … certain phobias can make people more disgusted than afraid

Many people with phobias believe that nothing can be done to treat their problem because … they are ‘just born that way‘. Others … [are] ashamed to admit they even have one … They will often aggressively defend their position by stating things like, ‘It’s not a problem, I just don’t like (insert phobic stimulus here, okay’?!  The one thing that all people with phobias have in common is avoidance

I’m still not sure why I picked up a little book on phobias at the library a few weeks ago, yet on reading the following I began a serious shift in the totality of my reality:

Specific phobias can be grouped into five categories:

anticipating fear

  • Animal/insect
  • Natural environment
  • Phobias of blood and/or medical procedures
  • Situational phobias
  • All other rare phobias: fear of choking, vomiting, contracting an illness, cotton balls ...”

In all my born days I never, ever considered that I suffered from a phobia.

Yet since my earliest days I have struggled severely with a fear/disgust of vomiting.

The sound or smell of it would instantly make me gag or vomit outright. I’d have to cover my ears & run for fresh air. I have never been drunk in my life because of this fear. When I first wanted to have a child, it was my one concern – children get sick, how would I be able to cope with that? Luckily for me my son has almost never been sick, but the fear was always there.

there are so many people with unrecognised phobias


… every time you avoid your phobia, including denying having one at all, you are reinforcing it … the moment you openly & honestly acknowledge your phobia instead of feeling weak for having it, you are on your way to taking on its strength as you own

I believe everyone in our culture (& probably the entire world), has a number of phobias – some of them so deeply & cleverly concealed that we’d never think to give them a second glance.

Quite possibly that’s exactly how it is meant to be.

How else could the concept of terror-ism been so easily & fanatically swallowed?

Are we stuck?


We can start labelling.

Labels have long been used to contain us.

Yet containers can be very useful.


btw did you know that Alfred Hitchcock
had a phobia of eggs?

By applying the ‘container’ word ‘phobia‘ to your particular lifelong fears you begin shepherding them into a …

holding cell

… holding cell,
making it easier to set about taming them.

We have been so busy avoiding these weirdo-embarrassing-nonsensical, or alternately common-as-muck, fears that we never thought to question them.

Are we really so used to living in fear?

My reply:  Yes.

Have a look at this:

Phobos (Ancient Greek: … meaning “fear” or “terror“) is the personification of fear in Greek mythology. He is the offspring of Aphrodite and Ares

Those who worshipped Phobos often made bloody sacrifices in his name. In Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus, the seven warriors slaughter a bull over a black shield and then “touching the bull’s gore with their hands they swore an oath by… Phobos who delights in blood…”… Ares’s son, Kyknos, “beheaded strangers who came along in order to build a temple to Phobos (fear) from the skulls

What if phobias are a slyly cultivated form of worship to Phobos?


Was 2012 a Phobos fest?

According to Plutarch, Alexander the Great offered sacrifices to Phobos on the eve of the Battle of Gaugamela (in all probability asking for Darius to be filled with fear) …


… Darius fled from the field of Gaugamela, making Alexander’s praying to Phobos seem successful as a tactic

A very well known phrase oft spouted before or during ‘love’ battles or self-aggrandizing endeavours is this:

All’s fair in love & war

Let’s look closer at Phobos’ parentage:

Phobos … is the offspring of Aphrodite and Ares

between love and war

Aphrodite (Love)  & Ares (War)

Let’s translate that:

mommas & poppas

Aphrodite (aka Venus) = Love & Ares (aka Mars) = God of WAR.

Offspring are normally depicted …

happy families

…. between their doting parents

In case you missed that – mythologoplaneto speaking (according to the creative writer of this blog) – Earth could be called the child of Mars & Venus.

Phobos actually has a twin – Deimos:

Deimos is more of a personification and an abstraction of the sheer terror that is brought by war

I’ve never been a Lovecraftian quoter but the following fits well:

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft

Whether we play with the idea that earth is the love-child of Mars & Venus, or home to their fearsome offspring, I think this myth certainly suggests that we really should have been paying more attention to the overriding human experience of fear.

For now I want you to contemplate the fears in your life. Those things you always seek to move away from.

The problem with avoidance strategy is that it actually strengthens your phobia

Pay attention to where fears have been stirred and amplified.

Alfred Hitchcock worked very hard to introduce phobic susceptibility into his audience …


… both obviously
& subtly.

You may freak out about birds & knife-wielding psychos, without ever grasping his deeper phobic message:

his women … pick their way slimly through a range of awful experiences and deceitful pathologies so extreme you’d be howling with laughter, were the art of cinema not so very serious. There’s the vamp, the tramp, the snitch, the witch, the slink, the double-crosser and, best of all, the demon mommy. Don’t worry, they all get punished in the end …

The chief skill of the Hitchcock heroine is to lie, inflict and then suffer untold torments without ruffling her hem. If you want some full-on misogyny, rampant woman-blaming and outright abuser apologism, look no further than Marnie

Hitchcock’s women are outwardly immaculate, but full of treachery and weaknessLink

Hitchcock is far from alone in this, he’s just a easier to spot.

You know you were meant
to feel relief
when the …


… screaming stopped.

But that’s kind of another topic.

All types of media fatten themselves through phobia but the movie industry does excel.

Fifteen years after Psycho, Steven Spielberg was acclaimed for his efforts on behalf of Phobos.

You know you were meant
to feel relief
when her

when th screaming stops

… screaming stopped.

That’s it for now – your job is to get to know your apparently unreasonable fears – we have work to do.

To be continued …

~ ~  ~

All text in this colour from Fix your phobia in 90 minutes (Anthony Gunn) – don’t underestimate this little book for what it has to offer in understanding & usable techniques.

January 18, 2013. Uncategorized.


  1. empoweredbyknowledge replied:

    I assume you were lucky enough to not suffer from morning sickness whilst pregnant. I on the other hand vomited until about the 8th month (all through the day). I lost a lot of weight and could only eat a few things in very small amounts and I had to be lying down to do it. The lying down to eat stayed with me for many years later (my son is now 33) I still need to put my feet up to digest properly. I certainly overcame the vomiting fear, but the fear then turned into fear/phobia of being pregnant again.


  2. alex robinson replied:

    Sounds hideous empowered, you did well to get through it. That is a truly understandable fear – for now I want you try & get familiar with the fears that don’t make sense, the ones you wouldn’t want to talk about, the ‘shameful’ ones – according to what is & isn’t acceptable in the West. Just show them to yourself you are not asked to make them public unless you want to.

    very best to you


    • sineadmcarthy replied:

      I’ve always wondered if morning sickness was a natural occurrence or if it was induced by fear or anxiety. I’ve never been pregnant so I wouldn’t know, but just wondering.


  3. alex robinson replied:

    Bloody good question sinead – that fits really well with the theme of unrecognised fear & the depths I want to take this too. Your thought made a visceral connection with me – awesome


  4. Bee Hive replied:

    Personally I think fears or phobias are also attributied to no having a healthy relationship with the environment. My biggest fear…..Clowns why??? because it scares the hell out of me thinking there is a grown -up that dresses up so you don’t know who they are to entertain kids…. It is a hiding behind the mask, you don’t know who I really am, fear.


  5. KayDee74 replied:

    Fear has been a big issue in my life. From childhood through most of my adult years. I honestly believe so much of it was media based programming. I can’t even imagine what is happening to the mind of today’s children. The stuff that wormed it’s way into my psyche was tame compared to what children are exposed to today.

    Funny about the Hitchcock references, too. We had a clear shower curtin growing up and-I can’t remember if my Mom told me this or I assumed it- I thought it was because of Psycho. To this day, I like having a shower curtin I can see-thru so some maniac can’t sneak up on me!

    I’ll also share a limerick I wrote around 5th or 6th grade inspired by Psycho’s infamous shower scene(at that point in my life I’d never seen the whole film).

    There once was a man named Howard
    Who sang every time he showered
    But then he watched Psycho
    And now it is so
    That this poor man is a coward

    Love your blog! You’re such a creative thinker!


  6. John replied:

    Funny, I just watched Marnie a couple of days ago. I was on my way back home yesterday when I caught a bit of your webcast with Fitzie and heard the two of you talk about Psycho and Jaws. I think I would agree with your thoughts in regard to those films.

    But I would have thought Marnie would have been a case in point with what you are presenting on this post.

    Marnie is a woman who moves from one place to another. She keeps a different alias in each place she moves to. She steals money and then moves on. She lies to protect herself. She has a phobia of men and a phobia of the colour red.

    We learn later in the movie that the phobias were caused by a traumatic event in the woman’s life as a child. She confronts the traumatic event and the movie ends with her worn out but hopefully able to move beyond her phobias.

    Okay, the woman’s path to health is promulgated by a man who has fallen in love with her. And she would not have confronted her phobias and traumatic past if it was not for his intervention. But “full-on misogyny, rampant woman-blaming and outright abuser apologism” – nope.

    Your green font quoter ought to have actually watched the movie.

    But apart from that, excellent post as usual!



  7. alex robinson replied:

    Agreed Bee Hive – a healthy relationship with the environment & reality is vital.
    Your comments re clowns say a great deal.

    very best to you

    Thank you for your honesty KayDee, I believe we need to know how much all of us have been suffering in silence with fear – that’s one of the reasons we suffer so much – no chance of checking things out clearly or releasing worries from our minds – ‘cos we’d be seen as weird – yet how weird is that??

    Wonderful limerick & play thank you :)

    very best to you

    Hello John – Perhaps I slipped up by leaving the ‘Marnie’ part of the quote in there – I was going to take it out but then it messed with the flow of the rest of the text which is what I really wanted – those words spell out Hitchcock’s direction to his audience – it matters that we understand that.
    The writer has his own take so I’ll leave it as it is – & expect readers to use their own minds, & they can mix & match with your thoughts – a good mental work out.

    very best to you


    • A Case of Misplaced Identity replied:

      So true, Alex, about the “weirdness”!

      I just wanted to add that reading your blog and the comments posted by your readers is always enlightening and inspirational. It’s like working through the issues of humanity.

      Much better than Psycho-therapy!;)


      • Bee Hive replied:

        Never trust therapy, everyone has a motive for very choice they make. Even therapist have motives, if not to make you name and reflect but to bring self doubt through mundane every day life. Bee intouch with your environment and adapt. Change is the only constant in life, not fear.


  8. endpointithaca replied:

    At the beginning of the week a friend via fb shared this very pretty song:

    Ben Howard – The Fear

    It’s fear that supposedly makes the blood run cold…in this the Year of The Snake…ectothermic vestige of times gone by, limbs left by the wayside in order to slither and creep efficiently through the darkened wastes of the collective substrata.

    “my my cold hearted child, tell me where it all falls
    this apathy you feel, will make a fool of us all”

    Torches Drop
    Illuminating Our
    Secret Chambers

    pax to all xo


  9. alex robinson replied:

    Thanks Misplaced ID, that is what I feel about it – your remark however made something clear that I’ve felt but not understood – the readers comments are part of the healing – the article doesn’t finish with the last word I write – it is given more life when ideas & stories are offered. ‘Empoweredbyknowledge’ wrote of morning sickness then Sinead suggested that it may be a fear response – the two of them together opening a new insight.
    This blog in many ways is my therapy – I also know the power of one person speaking up – it loosens the trapped tongues of others so that they too can start speaking too.

    very best to you

    Thank you endpointithaca – I enjoyed the song.

    Our blood has been running cold for way too long – often what’s needed to begin the warming process & bring blood flow back to the limbs is a hot burst of anger, when you refuse to live in submission & fear any more. I think we are on our way :)

    very best to you


  10. roobeedoo2 replied:

    My greatest fear is to lose my children or that I would not be able to stop them from being mistreated in anyway. This particular phobia, if indeed it is, has been successfully exploited for a very long time over a great many people, I feel.

    I read on another site that 2013 upside down spells ‘Eros’. Eros was also a child of Aphrodite and Ares, perhaps Eros is Earth?

    Thank you for sharing your creativity with us all and opening new avenues of thinking.


  11. Mick replied:

    Another excellent article. I am going to seem pedantic here, but it has relevance and importance. I think it is a modern misapplication that Aphrodite is represented celestially by Venus. That honour is given more to Athene, if Velikovsky’s ideas are taken to be valid. Aphrodite is a moon goddess, and this may have more relevance, on many levels, to her mating with Mars and its effects in our psyche.

    I found the following interesting article:

    Many Thanks



  12. Mick replied:

    A modern concept, catastrophobia, has been called the Great Fear, underlying all other fears. This chapter is a piece of creative writing, but is powerful in its intimations:

    I know this overshoots the individual fears we constantly deal with, but I am hoping it has some relevance and use.



  13. alex robinson replied:

    A pleasure roobeedoo, many more ideas yet to surface some of which may help throw light on your fear, from a few different angles.

    very best to you

    Out damn pedant, out I say! oh all right you can stay – hello Mick :)

    yes that could work too – adds more vegetarian meat to the stew.

    I am guilty of not having read link, but had a quick peruse – if you are up to a brief abridging of both I’d be glad to hear – all them words made me feel a bit dozey & I got so many more pots simmering on the stove atm. All hands to the pen!

    very best to you


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