It is very rare and uncommon, but the fear of bananas or bananaphobia does exist. A very famous case about such a phobia has been reported in the Daily Mail. According to this news report, a woman had been scared of bananas all her life, so much so that she could not stand being in the same room as them without feeling nauseated each time. Thankfully, her story ends on a happy note as she was able to completely conquer her fear of bananas.
Causes of Bananaphobia
Only a handful of people are known to suffer from the fear of bananas from all over the world. Most cases begin in childhood, when one has been forced to eat bananas by parents or caregivers to an extent that leads to stomach distress or vomiting. Bananas often have a slimy texture and not all people are fond of its flavor or odor. Many claim that the texture of over-ripe bananas is akin to eating “slugs” The brain learns to revisit those ill-feelings over and over especially when one experiences stress or an anxiety causing situation, such as watching someone eat a banana.
Some children develop a fear of this fruit after having slipped and fallen over slimy banana peels. As a result, one might have been laughed at by other children. A woman Bananaphobic recollects having developed it after her brother played a prank on her in childhood. He slipped a banana into her bed and she tends to recollect the cold, slimy feeling experienced after she squashed it unknowingly. She describes the feeling ‘akin to touching a slimy snake or an eel’.
Bananas are actually quite healthy and a great source of potassium. But, to a bananaphobic, they can cause great deal of anxiety and even walking past them in stores can be traumatic.
Symptoms of fear of bananas
People with bananaphobia experience many anxiety symptoms.
- As stated before, the Bananaphobia is so extreme in some cases, that the sufferer is unable to even walk past banana carts kept in the produce sections of grocery stores.
- Children tend to throw crying fits upon seeing them.
- Children as well as some adults experience a gag reflex each time they see someone eat a banana or when they happen to be in a room having bananas. Vomiting, nausea and gastrointestinal distress are common symptoms in such cases.
- Some phobics tend to have a full blown panic attack.
- Just like an arachnophobic experiences great terror upon seeing a spider, a bananaphobic experiences terror at the sight of banana. S/he imagines being choked or even dying. Sweating, trembling and shaking are common symptoms.
- The phobic also tries to flee (or conversely stays rooted or paralyzed in the spot) upon seeing a banana.
Unfortunately phobics cannot always avoid bananas. Some are even working as chefs and waiters and their jobs demand that they handle bananas from time to time. In event this happens, many tend to indulge in obsessive compulsive behavior such as frequently scrubbing their hands over and over to get rid of the smell of the fruit.
Overcoming the fear of bananas
Self relaxation has helped many phobics overcome the fear of bananas. Many understand that their fear is irrational, and this is the first step in finding a permanent cure for this phobia.
The key is to visualize the feared object while staying calm in the process. For example, closing your eyes and visualizing a banana away from you while practicing deep breathing can help you relax. Naturally, this will not cure the phobia overnight, but it can be a good place to start.
Expert hypnotists have also handled such cases and many have brought positive results. Hypnosis gets to the root of the phobia to prevent panic attacks that come with it each time.
Self relaxation and visualization can gradually help one get desensitized and overcome Bananaphobia once and for all.
I have had this phobia since I was a kid. My parents forced me to eat them, and now I can’t stand anything to do with bananas. Everyone thinks I’m joking, but I’m not. I’m extremely afraid, and they don’t get it.
Sean Streight says
The famous comedian Jim Jefferies suffers from this condition.
I have had this fear since I was a kid. I am completely grossed by a banana peel, especially when it starts getting darker with spots. I don’t breathe when there is a banana around me. If anyone in my family touches a banana or its peel, I make them wash their hands thoroughly. I don’t step onto an area where a banana peel has fallen for days together. I scream and run away if someone comes near me, holding a peel. I want to get over this phobia badly, but dunno how.
Are there underlying problems that can cause bananaphobia?
Exactly! Same thing over here. I hate bananas, and if a family member or friend touches a banana, they now have banana hands. I’m weird.
I didn’t know about this until now. I have an intense dislike – probably not a phobia, to seeing bananas being mashed and most foods that contain mashed bananas. No idea where it stems from, but almost everyone in my immediate family seems to hate mashing bananas too. The trouble is, mashed bananas seem to be ubiquitous in my cuisine and I get made fun of for not liking/eating or even staying in the same room where someone is happily squishing bananas into their food.
I think I might have this fear. The main reason might be that when I was a little kid one of my friends told me that bananas were filled with cockroach eggs and ever since then I have just felt uneasy and afraid of them. Whenever someone’s eating them I just try to get as far away as possible from them without seeming rude. I also make people wash their hands after eating them. If they don’t wash their hands and then touch me I’ll just start yelling “wash your hands” over and over again. Never knew this fear was a thing till today.
The name makes it sound less believable, therefore I propose we change it to Musaphobia since Musa is the scientific word for banana.
I agree too.
I could tolerate bananas as a kid but didn’t really like them, but at one point my dad started giving us a banana a day to eat at school and I ended up throwing them in the school bins. Until one day I forgot to throw it so I threw it away when I got home. My dad then saw the banana in the bin and made me pick it out and eat it – peel and all. I was throwing up between bites but he didn’t let me stop. Ever since then I throw up at even the thought of that slimy texture but for around a year my dad kept making me eat bananas from time to time and said I was “imagining this hatred of bananas”. Thankfully he stopped a few years back and doesn’t make me eat them anymore.
I became scared of bananas when my friend told me that there was a kind of spider that lived in them and if you were to eat the banana with the spider and its eggs in it you would die in a course of 10 minutes. My friend is an expert on spiders and knows more about spiders than most people. I am still terrified. If I eat a banana (which is very rare), I dice it, making sure nothing is in it.
I was always terrified of bananas, I cant be in the same room as a banana and if the person forgets to wash their hands I have a full blown panic attack and sometimes start screaming.
Shaz Chan says
You are just like me! Just when I thought I was the only one.
Mine is way worse. I can’t stay in the same room as one even if it is unopened and I can’t sit with someone who has one hidden away. I also can’t even touch banana medicine. I had to do that once and I had a full blown panic attack as well. I started to cry and scream and everyone thinks I am overreacting, but I know I am not.
Sunil life says
Same, people have always been rude to me about it.
I have banana phobia since my mum told me to put a banana skin in the bin. While I was going to the bin I threw up. I told my mum I had done it and she told me that I’m only telling myself that. When not long ago my friend started to chase me with a banana I was about to cry.
judy carmine says
I’ve been dealing with the disgust and fear of banana’s my entire life. I hate everything about them. It seems like they show up when I least expect it, i.e. a banana half eaten on the ground next to my car. I literally had to debate if I could get past it to open the car door, or go around to the passenger door. I’ll be watching a show, such as a game show and food show where bananas are involved. That’s it for me, the show is turned off immediately. When my children were little they always wanted a banana, and my excuse to them was I was allergic, and couldn’t even touch them because I truly couldn’t. One day I felt so bad I went to the store determined I would only have to get them in the basket and then I would keep them in the garage. I took a paper bag and moved in on the evil banana. Covered it with the brown bag and threw it in the basket. The kids were excited and super surprised when they got home to see banana’s in the garage. lol. I even think this is funny. They devoured the bananas. I later went out in the garage, smelled them and found peeling in the garbage which made me want to throw up. The was the end of banana’s in the garage. My 3 brothers chased me with them through my childhood. Handling the smell of them in the schoolyard wasn’t too bad because I could step away, but if it was raining and we ate lunch inside, oh my god it was torture. I’d hold my breath as much as possible. As you can see it affected a good part of my life. My Mother said when I was a baby that’s all I would eat, and she complied. My eating habits growing up were left up to me. Not much guidance, and I believe that’s why I am such a picky eater, and literally can’t even taste many foods without gagging. But nothing is as horrific as a banana!
I thought I was the only one! For me, it also stems from my childhood, I was in a hospital and had to take medicine that didn’t work for me, I constantly needed to throw up. The doctors thought I was joking, so they mixed it with mashed bananas and force fed it to me. No wonder…
I hate the fact I’m just finding out this is a real thing, I thought it was just me so I never talked about it. I hate them so much. I’m always being told that they’re just fruit and it’s fine. But they scare me, I can’t stand to see someone eat one or smell one. My dad refuses to Stop trying to get me to hold one. Once upon a time I could manage it a little better by ignoring when I was near one, I still try to ignore it, since I’m forced to. But that was only until I had to leave public school because someone threw one at me and I got so scared, I left for the rest of the day, and got home schooled the next semester. I couldn’t stand in the same room and not feel gross all over. It’s so nauseating. Even now, my dad still buys them and puts them in the corner of the kitchen, so I’m always trying to stay away from it. I’m still forced to go over there so I tend to try to block it out as much as possible. Is there any other way to prevent this fear or cure it?
I do not have a fear of bananas (I myself am more disgusted than scared), however I am rather disgusted to touch a slimy one, watch, hear, and smell someone eat one (especially near me), and I absolutely cannot bear to eat one. I feel like this came from childhood from eating SO MUCH BANANAS! I feel like something happened in my childhood I may have forgot about, because something similar to the ways most of these people got Bananaphobia that had to do with expired Sky Zone pizza did the trick (I still eat pizza but refuse to eat anything from Sky Zone).
Anyways, I was researching a phobia of my choice for a homework assignment and I have to say, I laughed at this one but yelled at myself on the inside for making fun of these people. When I realized that I am not a banana fan myself and share many qualities of a Bananaphobic, I felt mildly embarrassed.
So maybe I am afraid of them, who knows. I just want to apologize for laughing (I laughed at a few other phobias as well, oops) and say that there are ways to treat this phobia. Make a list, from least to worst, of things involving bananas that scare you, and attempt them one by one. It may seem hard at first, but the events at the end of the list are easiest because by the time you have conquered the first parts it will seem like a piece of cake.
PineappleSeed (Hopefully there isn’t a Pineapplephobia)
I suffer from a phobia of bananas. I was forced to eat mushy banana sandwiches as a child. I am now a chef and I have problems, touching, even going near them. They make me feel sick to the stomach even touching them is extremely difficult. I especially don’t like them if they have a black mark on them. They have a fowl smell and slimy touch. I have to wear thick gloves if I have to pick them up. My family understands me thankfully, after time. My friends think I am joking and when the realise I am serious are very accommodating. I haven’t tried hypnotherapy, does it really work?
I also suffer from bananaphobia. It started when i was a Child and often vomit by seeing a banana without peal.
I see a physiologist for some reasons however I have never spoke to her about my phobia of bananas my friends say they understand but I doubt they even believe me its so hard to cope with
A work mate has fear of this, didn’t realise how bad she was affected until one of the boys on our team dropped a banana onto her lap as a joke…..cue hysterical crying and laughing at the same time.
Chloe you are not alone! :)
My ex has bananaphobia. At first when he told me about it I didn’t believe anything like that existed so I decided to scare him with one and that’s how I found out that he really has it. A bit of a strange phobia to have but ok.
I have bananaphobia, once I threw up on a plane because someone was eating a banana. They squashed it through there teeth and it flopped on their lap. I just had kool-aid before i threw up so my puke was blue and red, it started a chain reaction. Person after person barf everywhere its scary…
Makes sense. I myself am not very fond of bananas (but I don’t have a phobia) so if I saw and heard someone eating a slimy, squishy banana it would make me feel nauseous. Especially that aroma.
Well, I hope you can get over this fear.
~PineappleSeed (Because who needs BananaSeed?)
Jennie Coral says
:( I can’t find a “cure” everyone thinks it’s unreal or funny, my dad put a banana on my face while I was in my bed studying and I starting crying so hard and he thought it was funny because he didn’t believe my fear was real. I wish bananaphobia at least had a cooler name like archnophobia does … it’s not called spiderphobia.. but :( I can’t get over the fear. I hate the smell, the look, I can’t even touch one. I’m not scared of plantains though .. Jennie waves
Sarah K says
I feel the same about the name Jennie! Not that I’m complaining since knowing the fact that its a legitimate phobia, and that I’m not some odd creature, gives me some consolation and validity about the way i feel. I’m not scared, just disgusted when the fruit is involved (or maybe I am scared according to the phobia and i haven’t let myself believe that i am) because the mere fact that i have a phobia for the fruit is embarrassing enough when people give me that incredulous look and go “you must literally be the only person on the planet who hates bananas as much as you do”.
Pritesh Shah says
I also share a phobia of bananas, which i have been mocked my entire life. When i was younger, older relatives would find it funny to sneak behind me and shove a banana in my face just to see my reaction. It would really get me worked up and i went through so many emotions whilst everyone would piss themselves with laughter at my expense.
As I’ve gotten older, my friends understand me better but I’m still ridiculed by given choices to pick whether i would eat a banana or other undesirable choices (too rude to mention here). I just suck it up and laugh about it but if they knew how horrified i am, they wouldn’t ask.
People do not understand this is real so thank you for sharing your story. As a male, i have had no sympathy and been ridiculed for my entire life. I feel ashamed and weak because of my real fear.
Did you find a way to overcome your phobia? Please share.
i would recommend telling someone who can help you such as a therapist. there is no need to feel ashamed and weak, all the people who tease you have something embarrassing hidden deep in their soul. i believe this is real and i don’t laugh at it, this is serious! i would feel proud of myself no matter how embarrassing my fear is.
I too share a phobia of bananas. And I too have been kicked by it. Older and younger relatives tend to joke around and throw bananas at me so I could overcome it. No it does not work.
Oh my god me too.
I had no idea, I thought I was the only one.
I hate it when people bite the tip of the banana and spit it out! SPITTERS ARE QUITTERS!!! ewwww!
I’ve had this phobia since age 4. I was forced to eat my banana in preschool, and I hated it. It’s gotten worse over the years because my mom and sister eat bananas ALL THE TIME.
jenny reid says
OMG, i have this too, but mine is a little different, i can be in the same room with them, i can even hold an unopened one, although both these things do make me feel uncomfortable and on edge. But i am terrified of accidentally touching one, or touching something that has touched one. I make my family wash their hands after they eat one and i have to take a deep breath and close my eyes when walking past a banana peel, i even refuse to empty the bin or clean the bench if there is a banana peel on it, i used to eat banana bread, but as I’ve grown up I’ve avoided anything with bananas, i don’t mind banana lollies tho.
Me too! I get uncomfortable around unopened ones, but the worst is when they are peeled! They’re so pungent that the whole kitchen reeks when there are ripe bananas. I’ve never had panic attacks from bananas or avoided social events because of them, but I can’t stand being in the same room as one. I become very anxious and leave the room if someone eats one, and I will not ride in a car with someone eating a banana. Strangely, sometimes I can bear smoothies or drinks with banana in it. I like the drink, but there is something unsettling about it.
I thought I was the only one too.
I agree. I make my dad wash his hands and he never does it.
Same! I feel so uncomfortable around them but I can usually eat foods that have a little bit of banana as long as I cant taste it. But once my friend was eating one and I kinda just stayed really far away while we were talking and then she tried to hug me and I made up some lame excuse and ran away to wash my hands. It’s so gross but I wish it had a more scientific name than Bananaphobia which would make it seem more real.
I get grossed out squishing bananas between my toes.
Why are you squishing bananas between your toes my dude.
I see dead bananas
My son had this after being in a coma and having amnesia after being hurt in Iraq. He would freeze, get all PTSD, then think they were shooting at him. He would hear the bullet.
Oh my god it’s not just me! I’m so happy I found this. I’ve always been scared and I don’t even really know why
I pretty much just scream and run away from someone holding them and I cannot be near anyone eating a banana.
Wow I never realised anyone else feared bananas? I always thought I was a bit odd being so scared of them. Nice to know I’m not the only one lol
I got my bananaphobia from watching a FORMER friend eat a banana and then pushing it through her teeth and then spitting it out. I threw up and haven’t been able to be in the same room as one ever since.
I even once sat next to a woman on a plane and she was about to eat one and I hyperventilated and almost fainted, thank god my friend was with me or I don’t know what I would have done. *shudder*
I had this phobia for years. For me too it stemmed back to childhood when a very caring Granny would feed me them with custard when I had terrible tonsillitis. Thanks to EFT I am now phobia free, in that I can be in the same room, pick them up in the supermarket and watch someone eat them. Just don´t ask me to eat one though. Still haven´t overcome that one.
I have a phobia of bananas, but nobody gets it. They all just say “you can’t be afraid of a fruit! Plus, they’re healthy!”
That is what my friends say also.