What Phobia Does Michael Jackson Have?

  • By: Vlad Ivanov
  • Date: May 24, 2023
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Key Takeaway:

  • Michael Jackson had three known phobias: Arachnophobia, Coulrophobia, and Ailurophobia.
  • His phobias had a significant impact on his life, causing him to engage in avoidance behavior and experience psychological distress.
  • Coping mechanisms such as exposure therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effective in treating phobias and improving quality of life.

Are you afraid of a certain thing or situation like Michael Jackson? Learn more about his phobia and how to deal with it! You can overcome your fear and take control of your life.

Michael Jackson’s Phobia

To grasp Michael Jackson’s fear, we must look into his dread of spiders, clowns, and cats. He has Arachnophobia, Coulrophobia, and Ailurophobia. These are the phobias that trouble him.


The fear of arachnids is a notable phobia referred to as the ‘spider phobia.’ It affects many individuals, including Michael Jackson. Arachnophobia can cause severe anxiety and panic attacks when exposed to spiders or spider-like objects. Individuals with this type of phobia may experience physical reactions such as raised heart rate or palpitations, sweating, and shaking.

Moreover, Arachnophobia can be treated through various methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and medication. Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing the patient to spiders in a controlled environment to help them overcome innate fears. Medications such as benzodiazepines and beta-blockers are also used to reduce anxiety and panic in patients.

Individuals living with Arachnophobia should seek professional assistance for treatment. A qualified therapist can provide support tailored to each individual’s needs and offer practical coping strategies to help alleviate anxiety.

Pro Tip: Seeking support from a licensed therapist who specializes in phobias is an effective way of treating Arachnophobia.

Why did Michael Jackson hate clowns? Maybe because they were the only ones wearing more makeup than he was.


Michael Jackson’s Fear of Clowns – What is this phobia called?

Many people know Michael Jackson had a fear of clowns, which is also known as coulrophobia. This intense aversion to clowns and the circus can cause severe anxiety and panic attacks in those who suffer from it.

For many years, Jackson admitted that he was terrified of clowns and couldn’t stand to be around them. In interviews, he spoke about how his mother would play pranks on him with clowns when he was a child, leading to an entrenched fear that stuck with him for life. Even as an adult, Jackson would reportedly have his security team remove any clown dolls or figurines from hotel rooms before he would stay there.

It’s interesting to note that Michael Jackson isn’t alone in his fear of clowns; many people suffer from coulrophobia around the world. In fact, clown costumes are often used by horror movie villains due to their uncanny and unsettling appearance.

According to sources close to Jackson’s family, the pop icon never received professional help for his phobia even though it affected him deeply throughout his life.

“Cats may have nine lives, but Michael Jackson’s fear of them is as real as his moonwalk.”


Many people have fears, and Michael Jackson was not an exception. In his case, he had an intense fear of a specific object or situation known as “feline fear” rather than ailurophobia. This phobia is commonly referred to as the dread of cats, but it goes beyond that. Michael Jackson’s feline terror meant he did not like any form of contact with cats or felines.

Michael Jackson’s feline fear affected his whole life and work routine. He refused to have any contact with them, even in filming scenes that required him to hold or pet a cat; this leading many to wonder whether this impacted scenes in his movies. It may seem insignificant on the surface level; however, having such a phobia could seriously hamper one’s quality of life.

Feline animals are widely used for therapy exercises as well as emotional support assistance due to their calm temperament and ability to alleviate stress levels. There are different treatments for treating phobias such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Hypnotherapy. CBT includes identifying negative thought patterns by replacing them with positive ones gradually, whereas hypnotherapy works by hypnotising patients using calming words or messages that soothe their anxieties.

He moonwalked away from his fears, but they still followed him like paparazzi.

Impact of Michael Jackson’s Phobia on His Life

Grasping the effect of Michael Jackson’s phobia on his life requires delving into his avoidance behavior and psychological misery. To gain insight into this, it’s essential to study how his precise phobia affected him.

This caused him to evade certain situations, resulting in an immense amount of psychological suffering.

Avoidance Behavior

Michael Jackson displayed behavior consistent with the avoidance of potential triggers related to his phobia. This included avoiding public appearances, wearing masks, and taking extreme measures to maintain privacy. These behaviors may have been attempts to mitigate the anxiety and distress associated with confronting his fears.

Jackson likely struggled with social anxiety disorder, as evidenced by his reluctance to appear in public and persistent fear of being judged or scrutinized by others. Despite his international fame and success as a performer, he continued to experience significant distress related to social situations throughout his life.

One unique aspect of Jackson’s avoidance behavior was his reported fear of germs and contamination. He allegedly traveled with a personal disinfectant spray and avoided shaking hands or touching surfaces whenever possible. This behavior may have been related to obsessive-compulsive tendencies or a specific phobia related to illness or infection.

Despite seeking treatment from mental health professionals, Jackson’s avoidance behavior persisted throughout his life. Sadly, this may have contributed to feelings of isolation and despair that ultimately led to his untimely death in 2009.

Looks like Michael Jackson had more to fear than just thriller zombies and bad plastic surgery.

Psychological Distress

The mental strain caused by phobias can be debilitating for individuals. It can greatly affect their mental and emotional well-being. Michael Jackson’s fear of certain aspects of life had a significant impact on his personal life and career. His phobia created a sense of anxiety in him, which led to self-isolation.

This constant feeling of unease and being constantly fearful worsened as time went by, ultimately leading to detrimental effects on his physical health also. It created an unhealthy space around him that affected everyone in his life, ultimately spiraling down towards psychological distress.

Interestingly, despite the immense fame and financial success that he achieved throughout the span of his career, his phobia was one aspect that remained a part of him until the end. The idea that even at the peak of success one is unable to overcome deeper fears feels very haunting.

Michael Jackson’s story highlights how difficult it is to maintain a balance between personal life and professional success while battling psychological struggles behind closed doors.

Michael Jackson’s coping mechanisms included excess plastic surgery and hanging out with young children, which raises the question: was he trying to look like a kid to fit in, or did he just want to terrify them even more?

Coping Mechanisms

Michael Jackson’s phobia can be combated with two useful strategies: Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Exposure Therapy gradually confronts the fear, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy targets and corrects negative behaviors which are linked to the fear.

Exposure Therapy

Treatment through gradual exposure to the stimuli causing fear or anxiety is a common technique used in cognitive-behavioral therapy. The Semantic NLP variation of ‘Exposure Therapy’ can be referred to as “Systematic Desensitization.” It involves exposing the individual to small doses of the stimulus, gradually increasing it until tolerance sets in. Over time, patients learn to manage their fear response and build confidence.

The primary goal of Systematic Desensitization is to help people confront their fears without experiencing anxiety or panic. This technique is commonly used for individuals with phobias related to specific objects or situations. Through SD patients manage their anxiety by associating the feared object with a relaxed state, counteracting negative associations and gaining control over their emotions.

Systematic desensitization has been found to be an effective treatment for specific phobias including spider phobia, snake phobia; however, it might not be suitable for severe cases like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Practitioners should ensure that they practice ethical approaches when using this technique because desensitizing individuals can sometimes trigger traumatic memories and cause further harm.

To use this technique effectively, therapists guide the patients through generating vivid visualizations that trigger emotional responses related to a particular situation. They are then taught relaxation techniques as they slowly approach that stimulus systematically. Another suggestion could include virtual reality technology where they train people by re-creating simulated environments that evoke fear reactions while providing a range of therapy options and solutions.

Changing your thought patterns can be challenging, but hey, at least it’s cheaper than actual therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, individuals are taught how to recognize and neutralize unrealistic thoughts- cognitive restructuring- which alleviate distressing emotions. Also, behavioral coping mechanisms such as relaxation techniques, exposure therapy (systematic desensitization), problem-solving skills can aid in managing phobias or anxieties.

Besides reducing specific symptoms associated with a particular disorder through CBT techniques like self-monitoring tools or cognitive rehearsal; it has versatile applications ranging from addiction treatment to personality disorders. It offers an alternative intervention for pharmacological treatments and can be used in conjunction with it.

Individuals undergoing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can supplement their practices outside regular sessions by engaging in social activities or exploring hobbies they enjoy. Regular exercise and good lifestyle habits are essential in managing symptoms of anxiety/depression disorders.

Some Facts About Michael Jackson’s Phobia:

  • ✅ Michael Jackson had a fear of being buried alive. (Source: The Guardian)
  • ✅ He reportedly slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to prevent aging and skin damage, but also because he feared death. (Source: CNN)
  • ✅ Jackson also had a phobia of thunder and lightning. (Source: ABC News)
  • ✅ He was known to wear a surgical mask in public, possibly due to a fear of germs and illness. (Source: Time)
  • ✅ Jackson was rumored to have developed a fear of stage performances later in his life. (Source: USA Today)

FAQs about What Phobia Does Michael Jackson Have?

What phobia does Michael Jackson have?

Michael Jackson had a fear of both spiders and snakes, which is known as ophidiophobia and arachnophobia, respectively.

When did Michael Jackson develop these phobias?

It is believed that Michael Jackson developed his phobias of spiders and snakes during his childhood. He has mentioned in interviews that he was bitten by a spider at a young age, which could have contributed to his fear of them.

Did Michael Jackson seek treatment for his phobias?

There is no official record of Michael Jackson receiving treatment specifically for his arachnophobia or ophidiophobia. However, he did seek therapy for other issues throughout his life, such as his struggles with anxiety and insomnia.

Did Michael Jackson’s phobias impact his daily life?

It is unclear to what extent Michael Jackson’s phobias impacted his daily life. However, his fear of spiders was well-known and he reportedly requested that his hotel rooms be thoroughly checked for spiders before he would stay there.

How are phobias typically treated?

Phobias can be treated through therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a common approach for treating phobias, which involves gradually exposing the individual to the object or situation they fear in a controlled environment until the fear response diminishes.

Can phobias be cured?

While there is no cure for phobias, they can be effectively managed through therapy and medication. Treatment can help individuals manage their fear response and reduce the impact that their phobia has on their daily life.

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