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My Worst Childhood Fears and Laying Them to Rest

Childhood fears and laying them to rest.

My worst childhood fears and laying them to rest.

Childhood fears and laying them to rest.

The Origin of My Childhood Fears

My mom had a hysterectomy when I was five years old. It was necessary, but not particularly urgent or dangerous. It was more or less routine in 80’s after a pap smear that showed pre-cancerous cells. She was in and out of the hospital within a few days and that was that.

For her anyway.

For me? I can trace that event to my insane fear of blood as a child. Like most good parents, mine gave me the information I needed at a level I could understand. Something like, “mom has bad cells in her uterus and it needs to be removed. She’s going to the hospital to have surgery”. I found out just a few years ago that my mom had a vaginal hysterectomy. I was shocked to learn this. There was no reason for my parents explain to a kindergartener about the difference between a vaginal and abdominal hysterectomy. Except that when my mom “disappeared” for a few days I have visions of doctors cutting her open. And thus began my fear of blood.

The Fear of Blood

Overnight I was terrified of the sight (or thought, or mention) of blood. I was only five at the time, so my memory of events comes in small, bright, flashes:

My mom is in the hospital. I am at the daycare my grandparents run. I bite into a giant apple. My tooth is loose and a small spot of blood appears on the bright, white inner flesh of the apple. I am immediately nauseous. I curl up in a ball, trying not to vomit. My dad has to come to pick me up.

I am at school, in PE class and a boy gets a bloody nose. A single crimson drop lands on my shirt. I tell my teacher I am sick and go to the nurse’s office. 

I fall and skin my knees. There is blood everywhere. A few days later I fall again, ripping open the wounds. It bleeds more this time. I am absolutely panicked. My mom takes me to the bathroom of the restaurant we are at and cleans me up. It takes all the courage I have to ask, shakily, “Am I going to bleed to death?”

I jumble together pieces of stories I have heard; bits of conversations. I am scared, not just of blood, but injured animals too (they might attack me). 

Blood = Death and I must avoid it at all costs.

And this is really ironic to me because I am not squeamish in the least. I can handle blood with ease, sometimes watch surgeries on YouTube for fun, and am a birth photographer.

More Childhood Fears

Fast forward to me being about six and my parents take our whole family to movie night at church…where they proceeded to show A Thief in the Night…a post-rapture movie involving blood, decapitation by guillotine, and post-apocalypse horror. As if there weren’t inappropriate enough to show a six-year-old our church leaders explained to everyone present that it is all true, and going to happen, so you’d better make sure you have “Jesus in your heart”.*

To say I was traumatized by those movies would be an understatement.

So yeah, my fear of blood was deeply ingrained in me…

Sometime before I was a teen my fear of blood abated. I don’t know how our why, but now I’m not the least bit squeamish. I can handle blood with ease, sometimes watch surgeries on YouTube for fun, and am a birth photographer.

* which, for the record, is never mentioned in the Bible.

Childhood Fears and Movies

I mentioned in my post with the It themed photos that my mom didn’t let me watch horror movies (except, of course, the Pentecostal Christian variety- see above). I  get it, I don’t let my kids watch them either. But here’s the thing. I was much more afraid of the After the Rapture movies they showed us in church and by a movie I watched with my mom when I was a teen than by any horror movie I’ve ever seen.

I wish I could remember the name of the one I watched with my mom. It was supposedly based on a true story about a couple who was abducted by aliens who then implanted something into their noses.

And there was proof. I mean, they had foreign objects in their noses. What other possible explanation was there for that? We lived in a rural area at the time…in a log cabin in the woods. I spent hours awake at night terrified that I would be abducted by aliens who would then stick a foreign object in my nose.


Thinking about the movie It (should I go see it?) and the plot (which is really childhood fears) made me realize:

I have never seen an alien, much less been abducted by one.

I have never seen a crazy, evil, murderous clown.

I have never been injured by being in the presence of blood nor attacked by an injured animal.

I have not been left behind to stand up for Jesus rather than face the guillotine.

In other words, none of my worst childhood fears have come true.

So maybe it’s time to lay them to rest.

What did you fear as a child? Did any of those fears carry over to adulthood?

And by all means comment, if you too, watched the Thief in the Night movies at church and were traumatized as much as I was!




  1. Jennifer Lovett

    As a child my brother, “shot himself without a gun” he used pliers ot hold a large bullet we found in the desert while a friend hit it with a hammer. even after the blood loss and stitches-he was afraid he would die of “lead poisoning”
    In high school he tackled a kid in a recess game of football, got a pencil stabbed up under his chest muscles, Again -awake crying and worried about lead.
    I am afraid of escalators, its in my vision, they look and feel wrong.

  2. Lindsay

    All my childhood fears were about real things I heard on the news or in stories somewhere – house fires, abductions, serial killers, etc. Every time I heard another gruesome ‘true’ story, it solidified my belief that my fears were justified. None of my worst childhood fears came true for me, either, but I never felt that I should let my guard down! Ugh. It took years of adulthood to battle back at those fears.

  3. Melissa

    I was afraid of lightning. But with good cause…our house was hit by lightning twice while I was young. Both times I was home alone. The first time I was on a corded phone trying to get in touch with my mom because I was frightened of the storm. The lightning hit our antenna and traveled through the wiring of the house blowing out every outlet and phone jack…EXCEPT the one I had in my hand. I know God protected me that day!! It was years before I could tolerate being alone during a rain storm and even now I sometimes shudder when lightning lights up the sky!!

  4. Sarah W

    I was terrified of dogs – really really scared! I remember once sitting in the car while my parents had dinner with friends because the friends wouldn’t put their dogs in a secure location. I’m no longer afraid but both of my kids are. 🙁 I was also terrified my mom would died which was justified because she dealt with tumors in her breasts from before I was born. She wasn’t diagnosed and didn’t recieve treatment when I was little but she passed away from breast cancer earlier this year (36 years after finding the first lump). I also had terrible nightmares as a child – usually involving our horse and bull on our bathroom (weird right). To this day if I read murder mystery style books and don’t finish it before I sleep I have nightmares about the plot line.

  5. Julie

    I remember seeing those movies too! Totally terrifying! My irrational fear is bees/wasps/etc. I got into a nest of yellow jackets as a child and thanks to my dad’s quick thinking I was only stung twice (I remember him holding me and swatting me saying, “I don’t want to hurt you – I’m killing the bees.”)… wonder how many times HE got stung???

    I know they sting. I’m not allergic. But I still over-react to them. HATE THEM.

    I don’t see horror movies. The only exception was “Silence of the Lambs”, having read the book (on an ocean crossing with a lot of free time and not much to do!)

    • Renee

      Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorites. I was scared to read the book for years but read it last year…the book didn’t scare me at all. This was one of the few instances where I liked the movie more than the book. Incidentally, I watched that pretty much as soon as I moved out since I wasn’t allowed to watch it at home. lol

  6. Patty

    “Thief in the Night” STILL gives me the shivers. It was the cause of many re-dedications of my life to Jesus, to make sure I wouldn’t be left behind. And I think it is the underlying cause of my constant questioning whether my faith is good enough/strong enough to withstand an attack.

    And my fear? Open back stairs, and railings that are not solid. Because it is so logical that I, or my children, might slide through and plummet to the ground. The origin might be a haunted house I went to in 4th grade, where the scary guys were behind the stairs grabbing at people’s ankles as they went up the stairway.

    And I just can’t do horror movies anymore. No thank you!!

    • Renee

      Seeing clips of that movie scare me to this day! Despite the hokey special effects and low-budget. It is one of those things that was SO terrifying as a child, you never get over it.

  7. Reggie

    I don’t remember specific fears, but I did have two reoccurring nightmares as a child. On very rare occasions, one or the other will still wake me from sleep. One I was able to trace back to an actual early childhood experience. It went on to become my greatest adult fear for my own children.

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