Phobia Number 1: Cotton Balls, Q-tips And The Like... Phobia Number 2?


I know, I know... those of you who aren't trying to figure out what exactly I mean are probably going, "What?". I can't tell you why, I honestly don't know.

As far back as I can remember, I've had a major issue with buttons. Not the kind you push to turn on your coffee maker, the kind you have sewn onto your clothes. They're horrible. They make me cringe. The only thing worse than buttons on your clothing, are loose buttons, buttons by themselves. As I've grown, I've become accustomed to buttons on pants, jeans and skirts - but to this day, the buttons on a shirt are too much for me to handle. The worst are the four holed buttons you see on dress shirts. Especially the clear/transparent ones. Or the big gaudy buttons with the metal loop on the back to attach it to the clothing. Decorative buttons.

They're horrible. I can tolerate the sight - I can even very briefly and awkwardly hug someone wearing buttons on their shirt if I must. But loose buttons are beyond adjusting to. One button I can avoid looking at, but I know it's lurking there, just out of my sight. Even two or three I can cover with something and achieve the same efffect... But only once in my life have I ever been affronted with multiple buttons at once and when the jar spilled dozens of buttons all over the table and floor... instant panic and anxiety.

Anyway, I tried to search to find out if anyone else had written on this... it didn't appear they had.

Anyway, that's phobia number 2.
Bex84 Bex84
5 Responses Jan 4, 2011

Midnight Marshmallow:<br />
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Well the job part isn't too bad. I usually do business casual work, so I can create a wardrobe that suits it without buttons. Since the stronger part of the phobia is loose buttons, or buttons not on anything at all I do okay.<br />
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I really have no idea where or why it started. Most people just assume I'm an odd ball, and they're probably right. There are some, with over active and morbid imaginations and a desperate need to understand the things that seem unreasonable who have suggested 'possible' scenarios, such as choking on a button, abused by someone wearing buttons (abuse is the most common one people suggest) etc - however, I really think those are unlikely. Of course there was likely some event that occurred that cause it and it's quite likely whatever did happen, was resulting around a situation involving loose buttons rather than those on someones clothing as that is the strongest part of the phobia. I'll probably never know, unless they come up with some form of memory retrieval more accurate than hypnosis, I'm okay with that. :)

Wow. I bet it's hard to avoid jobs with buttons on the uniform, especially if it's a job you want! If you don't mind me asking, do you have any idea how this started? I'm kind of fascinated by the phobias of everyday ob<x>jects, because you've been surrounded by them your whole life, from infancy onwards.

MidnightMarshmallow,<br />
I adjusted quickly because I had no choice. I do not wear buttons, nor do I hug, cuddle or sit near people who have them on their clothing. I don't do jobs with uniforms requiring that employees wear buttons. But for the most part I am okay in a room with people wearing buttons, I just avoid being near or touching them, and if my anxiety is high, I just do everything I can not to look. It was one of those things that I had to learn to deal with by distracting myself when necessary because it is such a common item in life.

Out of curiosity, just how much does your fear of buttons impact your life? The only real phobia I have is a fear of fish, but I'm not confronted with live fish as much as I think someone would be confronted with buttons. How do you handle being surrounded by your fear so often?

Odd...I'm gonna bring a big 'ol bag of buttons with me next time I come to visit! ;-p