Koumpounophobia

Koumpounophobia Support

Koumpounophobia is a phobia of buttons. I will not use the “b” word again as a lot of sufferers do not even like to read the word. Who suffers from koumpounophobia?

This site aims to inform people about koumpounophobia. It will become a valuable resource to sufferers looking for support, treatments, and general information.

Koumpounophobia affects people of all ages and is a lot more common then most people think.

Sufferers stories

NAMI says talk therapy is often effective in treating anxiety disorders such as phobias. The most common forms of talk therapy are behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy involves relaxation techniques and gradual exposure to the thing or situation that causes the anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy tries to help people figure out why they’re reacting as they are, and then change the thought patterns that lead to that reaction. APA says cognitive behavioral therapy techniques can desensitize patients to the triggers of anxiety, and help them to confront their fears.

Exposure to the feared situation can be actual or imagined. Recently, exposure can even be done through computer simulations. For example, APA says Virtual Reality Exposure (VRE) allows a user to be an active participant within a computer-generated three-dimensional virtual world. VRE can be useful is situations such as fear of flying or fear of heights.

Medications, such as anti-depressants, may also be used in cases where phobias are interfering with a person’s ability to function. Many people with anxiety disorders also benefit from joining a self-help group. The key is to realize you’re not alone; that phobias are a very real and a very common problem, and that help is available.

NIMH supports research into the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses. Studies examine the genetic and environmental risks for major anxiety disorders, their course-both alone and when they occur along with other diseases such as depression-and their treatment. The ultimate goal is to be able to cure, and perhaps even to prevent, anxiety disorders.

Several parts of the brain (Read about the brain and its anatomy in “Brain/Mental Health/Nervous System”) are key actors in a highly dynamic interplay that gives rise to fear and anxiety. Using brain imaging technologies and neurochemical techniques, scientists are finding that a network of interacting structures is responsible for these emotions. Much research centers on the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure deep within the brain. The amygdala is believed to serve as a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts that interpret them. It can signal that a threat is present, and trigger a fear response or anxiety. It appears that emotional memories stored in the central part of the amygdala may play a role in disorders involving very distinct fears, like phobias, while different parts may be involved in other forms of anxiety.

Other research focuses on the hippocampus, another brain structure that is responsible for processing threatening or traumatic stimuli. The hippocampus plays a key role in the brain by helping to encode information into memories. Studies have shown that the hippocampus appears to be smaller in people who have undergone severe stress because of child abuse or military combat. This reduced size could help explain why individuals with PTSD have flashbacks, deficits in explicit memory, and fragmented memory for details of the traumatic event.

Also, research indicates that other brain parts called the basal ganglia and striatum are involved in obsessive-compulsive disorder.

By learning more about brain circuitry involved in fear and anxiety, scientists may be able to devise new and more specific treatments for anxiety disorders.

Treatment

“I’ve always thought that I was just crazy, I can’t believe that it’s a real phobia. I’m twenty years old and ever since I was little, I have never been able to touch buttons. My mom would get so mad because I would fight her, kicking and screaming, when she would try to dress me in some something with buttons, especially dresses. I don’t really have a problem with buttons on my jeans, well I don’t really have a problem with ONE button on my jeans, can’t stand button fly. It’s mainly with those small plastic ones that my problem lies. I can’t even stand to think about them, when I do my skin crawls and I feel an immense need to wash my hands. It really henders my life, if say a guy is wearing a button up shirt, I’m immediatly turned off. I can’t even hug people if they are wearing buttons. I really thought that I was insane, but I’m comforted knowing that I’m not the only one.?”

“I am an 11 year old boy. I don’t like buttons. Only the plastic ones. I want to puke at the site of one. My mom chased me around the house and I was screaming. I can wear a button down shirt I was in the boy scouts and can where the shirt but only if I have a shirt under it. A button doesn’t make me scared I just don’t like buttons. It makes me feel like there’s one in my mouth in the sight of a button.”

“Ever since I was 4 years old, I was disgusted by the sight of a button. Whether it would be on clothing or just lying around, I wasn’t able to touch it. I am only grossed out by the plastic buttons with holes, whether it’d be colored or clear (especially the clear ones). Although, I seem to be fine with the metal buttons like the ones on a pair of jeans.
I’m almost unable to do anything if I see one around or close by. If I do happen to touch one by accident, I have to immediately wash my hands with soap and warm water. I do not wear anything with buttons on them. Attending Catholic School during Elementary, were my dreadful years, only when wearing my uniform.
Any object that comes in contact with a button, will have to be washed immediately and thoroughly as well, or just thrown away, while using a pair of gloves and/or napkin. I’m already 21 years old, and thought that I would’ve gotten over it by now. But I haven’t! I think that I’ve gotten a little better because it doesn’t really bother me as much when other people have buttons on his or her clothing. (I just try to ignore it and avoid it.)
If the reality show, “Fear Factor,” had a category that involved me picking up a check of 10 million dollars, that’s taped on the bottom of a button-filled jar, with my bare hands, I would not be able to accomplish that task. Is there any way to cure this fear of mine and is there a medical term for it? ”

“I was thrilled when I read that there were at least 2 other submissions
for people who were afraid of buttons. I too have hated them for as
long as I’ve been alive, and I don’t know why. Like the person who’s
letter I read, It’s mostly the plastic ones that bother me, like on
button down shirts. Buttons on jeans are fine with me. I don’t think
my case is as extreme as the other guys because I can deal with other
people wearing them, and I don’t have to wash my hands, but I
absolutely
cannot wear them. A couple years ago I tried to face my fear, so I
drove to a clothing store 3 hours away (to avoid bad association with
any of my favorite stores in case it went badly) and it’s a good
thing… I went in the store, and after about an hour I was able to put
the shirt on, but barely got the first button done before I threw it on
the floor and ran away. Anyways. I don’t really know why I wrote
since
you are already aware of this fear, but I was wondering if you had
dialogue with the other person who wrote because I haven’t been really
able to find any information on it… I thought I was the only person
afraid of them until I saw a lady on Maury Povich who also had a fear ofthem. So then I thought I was one of only two people. I don’t reallyhave any other unreasonable characteristics, so I was just wondering.

Sorry this letter is written so awkward, it’s not everyday you write aletter about this! :)”

“I too have a button phobia, although as I have become older I have learned to cope with it. But out of choice, I never buy/wear clothes with buttons on them! The big ‘four holers’ are the worst & especially detached ones. If I find a button just lying around I am liable to vomit (no joke!) All of my life people have found this most peculiar & amusing & I have been taunted with buttons throughout my childhood (including being forced to watch Button Moon)- just to see what I would do!!!

In fact, my colleagues button fell off her coat today & she was shoving it in my face to see what my reaction would be. She thought that it would be a laugh & could not believe that I my phobia is actually genuine! We decided to have a look on the net to see if I was a ‘freak or unique’ and I am now happy in the knowledge that I am not alone!!!”

“im so excited to find two other people who share my pain of an extreme dislike of buttons. it’s not that im afraid of them necessarily, i just really really don’t like them, and the thought of having to touch them makes me want to cringe. something strange though about my button fear is that ive always thought that buttons smell. i realize this is an irrational thought but it’s one i just can’t seem to rid myself of.”"wow… was I ever shocked to find this site and find not one, but TWO people who are actually afraid of buttons like I am. Ever since before I can remember I’ve been absolutely disgusted by and afraid of buttons. It’s gotten slightly better since I’ve grown up, but it’s still there. I wont buy or wear button-up shirts unless I absolutely have to. I would love to find out what on earth could have triggered such an unusual fear. Is there any way I could be in contact with the two submissions already made or are they anonymous? I would appreciate any help you could give me. thanks!”

“I have feared buttons as long as I could remember. At first only my family knew, because I thought people would think I was crazy if they knew, now I tell people openly. I don’t touch them, because it would be like touching a cockroach. If I touch one by mistake, I would wash my hands for about 30 mins.. I get really disgusted when people have them in their mouth, how nasty is that.

My sister use to chase me around the house with a button, and I would run out the house screaming. But, it feels really good to know there are others, and it is a normal fear. If it has a name please let me know.”

“hello! just to say there are a few more button phobics out there! Ever since I can remember I have had an irrational repulsion and fear at the thought, feel, smell, and sight of buttons. Especially shirt buttons, the little clear plastic ones – like the others I can just about deal with jeans buttons and over the years have come to terms with having to encounter the evil little buggers in the course of daily life. But the scars are still there! My younger brother and sister would torment me in years gine by by throwing buttons at me and worst of all making me smell my mum’s button box.I have met a couple of other button phobics – one, a teacher, can’t bear the though of buttons in people’s mouths – the other is my younger cousin who lived at a distance from me so would not really know about my weird phobia! maybe there’s a button phobic gene! Would love any more info about button phobia!”

“I just stumbled onto your page searching for info on a “Plastic Button” phobia. My girlfriend is terrified and disgusted by plastic buttons – she thinks they’re “dirty, nasty, and wrong.” At first, I thought she was just joking – messing with my head, but when I started to push her on the subject, she got very upset – almost hysterical. She doesn’t even like to say the word button — she’ll put asteriks over certain letters when typing it (b***ons). I… can’t believe this is a real phobia, but seeing other people with the same phobia is just both shocking and amazing. Just thought I’d throw in my submission for her.”

“I almost lost it when I saw that there are other people who are afraid of buttons!! My mother has had that fear for as long as I can recall and I always teased her and didn’t believe her. I would often be a smart ass and chase her around the house with a button in my hand — she once fled from the house in just her nighty into the yard she was so scared. She says they make her queezy and she almost vomits when she sees them. Her clothes don’t have buttons either. This is bizzare — I am forwarding your site to her to show her that she is not alone! There are other Button fearing individuals out there just like her : )”

“Hello everybody,

Gee, today is my lucky day. Thought I was the only person in the whole world who is disgusted by buttons. Ever since I was a child, I detested those awkward disgusting little plastic creatures. I could not come near my dad when he put on a shirt to go to work. It was ok, when the buttons were covered by his tie, but mind you if one button was peering out of there. I would cringe and run.

Also ever since I was really little, about 2 or 3, I completely refused to wear buttoned clothes. Even if my parents or grandparents wanted to dress me with some shirt or cardigan, I would throw a tantrum and run away most disgusted. I don�t know when or why it started. I think I was simply born with it. It�s ok though to wear jeans, no probs. My family was always teasing me so does my boy-friend now. Every time he wears this fancy shirt with those ugly disgusting buttons on it, I can not even look at him. Looking at somebody�s buttons always makes me want to hold up my palm in front of my eyes to cover the disgusting view on this. Immediately I have to absorb “a non-button-area”, e.g. the sky or the plain floor, to sort of get rid of the insult in my eyes. I also think buttons smell. Even the word button is disgusting. I grew up in Germany to Czech parents. Even in those two languages the word for button makes me wanna vomit: in Czech it�s: knoflik and in German it�s: Knopf

Enjoy life, esp. without buttons. Have a nice day everybody, god bless all button-phobiacs. Thanks God I am not alone.”

“I too have a phobia of buttons showing all the symptoms mentioned by previous button phobics. When i was a kid my mother had to buy clothes with zippers rather than buttons, but i don’t seem to be so extreme now as i have to wear a shirt to work. Now it’s loose buttons that really freak me out, if i see them lieing on the floor, in a box, or beside food i’m likely to vomit. Still not too keen to feel them next to my skin. Very aware if my girlfriend is wearing them.
Glad to know i’m not the only one!!!!!!!!
Maybe we can start a club?????”

“I too am so relieved to find this site. I am not button phobic but my 3-year-old son is. I didn’t realise what it was until he was 18 months old and could begin to express himself. My earliest memories of him are all with his head on one side, pressed against his shoulder. I now know he was covering up the three buttons on the neck of his baby-grow. I am pretty sure he has never had a trauma getting his feet or arms stuck through gaps between buttons on his clothing, so I think I can safely say that his fear is irrational. I also know that the fear described on this site is the same (in differing degrees) to his fear because of funny details like
a) covering the buttons up helps (thank heavens for ties)
b) poppers and riveted jeans buttons are OK
c) buttons with obvious threading (especially ones with a trailing thread) are the worst
d) it is difficult to approach someone wearing the wrong type of button.

I believe that common phobias such as snakes, spiders, rodents, birds are genetic. I have never been traumatised by spiders or snakes but I can’t touch them, however I will happily play with a rat or pick up an injured bird. In the UK spiders and snakes are not poisonous but rats and birds are common disease carriers (sic: irrational) but my phobias could be plausible evolutionary aids.

I can only describe my son’s fear of buttons as being akin to my fear of spiders. It is irrational – not learnt, but there is no way it could be an ‘evolutionary aid’. It must be the transference of genetic phobia to a modern-day thing – possibly spider/button confusion. I there anyone researching this?”

“Oh my God!!! I don’t know that I’m not alone all this while. I have fear of buttons since I was a kid. Really hate that nasty thingy. If will definitely wipe part of my skin that came to contact with buttons. Like may others, I hate the plastic buttons that got holes in it..or any other buttons that usually found in shirts and pants. But like many others too, I don’t have any problems with buttons that the ones in pair of jeans..

I don’t hate the peole wearing buttons, but I don’t feel comfortable and easy around them. Lucky for me, most of my friends like to wear round neck T-shirts. Now I’m 21 of age, but still had not overcome my fear of this thing…”

“I have had a phobia of buttons for as long as I can remember. I thought that I was the only one. Everybody else had generic phobias of spiders, heights and so on, but I had this. I felt like such a freak when I had to be excused from wearing school shirts at school. There was no way that I could cope with wearing 20 of the horrible things. My mother had a job enough as it was getting me to wear a clothes item with just one of them. All of the other kids made fun of me, saying that I couldn’t do them up.

Other people have asked me if I was frightened of them, but I’m not. They disgust me and make me feel dirty and unloved. Press-studs are also a problem, and toggles-although not to the extreme degree as buttons. I could not even pick a button up in my hand if somebody asked me to and as a child, I would be repulsed by the sight of other people wearing them too. I would go up to them and ask them why they were wearing them, as I found them disgusting.

I often dread shopping for clothes. It’s so hard to find anything without buttons–especially coats. During my childhood, my mother had to cut buttons off things just so I could wear them.

Often when talking about my phobia to people, I laugh out loud. It seems ridiculous.”

“Sorry find it hard to write the word – buttons. I was amazed after reading your links that there are so many of us! I too have had a fear of them since childhood. I too have to wash my hands if I accidentally touch one. I too do not wear clothes with them on – nor do my children. Although they haven’t noticed yet that I never buy them clothes with any on! I too have been laughed at and had them waved in my face. I too really dislike the plastic coloured ones but find metal ones on jeans Ok and also some wooden ones. So great to know I am not alone.”

“I am very happy to know that I am not the only one with this fear of buttons. Not only am I not the only one, but there are MANY other people who feel exactly the same way as me! I don’t know how this fear started although my parents have come up with a few theories that I’m not sure if I beleive. I think its just some sort of irrational fear that came out of nowhere. I don’t mind metal buttons on jeans, but plastic buttons just gross me out. Although I know this sounds nuts……….. but I feel like buttons smell bad, and I feel like the air around a button is dirty, and anything a button touches is gross. When I was little I thought everyone was weird for wearing buttons and then I found out that I was the weird one for being grossed out by them. If I ever end up touching a button or touching something that I know a button touched I have to wash my hands thoroughly, and if there is no sink handy to do so in, I have to try to scratch off the “button grossness” with my fingernail as best I can. I am 19 years old, and I think my fear is not as severe as it once was. I got myself to wear a pair of pants that had a button on the inside of the waist part….so it touches your skin GROSS! I had to put a peice of cloth between my skin and the button, but I got myself to wear the pants! I am not the kind of girl that gets grossed out easily…..I mean I love snakes and lizards and have them as pets and feed them many different kinds of bugs, and I don’t mind seeing blood or watching surgeries, but the sight of a button ……that’s a different story. I was even grossed out by the little picture of a button you have at the end of the page. I think this fear is so odd and I am fascinated that other people have this in common with me. I would love to be able to contact any of these people if that is possible.

thanks, I love your site”

“I am so happy to find out there are people out there with the same Phobia as me. I have kept this a secret all my life because I thought it was a bit weird. Not even my mother new until recently. I don’t think my fear is as strong as others, but I have never owned a shirt other than the ones I had to wear for school and now work. If I could get away with it I would never wear a shirt again. I don’t remember any incident that started my fear, its not so much a fear, more complete disgust at the site and thought of them touching me. I can laugh about my Phobia now, and it makes such a difference to know that there is loads of us out there.”

“My friend found your website, saw others who had a button fear and forwarded it to me. I am now 40, have had my phobia since I can remember. I hate the word, I hate the things, they are just gross! I believe I’ve got better I can and have the odd clothing item with a button on it, but I shudder everytime I touch it. When I was a child I was forced to wear school uniform and it was just hell. Buttons that have dropped off something seem worse than ones attached. Clear ones with 4 holes are probably the worse for me. Jeans buttons are OK, no problems with that, I believe it has something to do with the holes, maybe? I have 3 children and I never ever dressed them in anything that had a button on. If I accidentally touch one I shudder violently. As I’ve got older I have managed to control my reaction to them and when someone is wearing something with buttons on it takes a lot of concentration for me to not react. While talking about my fear yesterday, my friend kissed a button on his shirt and I’m still feeling sick at the sight of it, thanks Guy! When explaining my phobia to others I liken it to touching and looking at cockroaches, buttons just make my skin crawl. Not sure of the connection but I do have another phobia, looking at masses of holes and bumps, imagine something magnified, like pollen, ughhh! Same feeling as buttons. Thought I’d mention it, in case other button phobics had a similar thing. I always thought I might have been a pearly King and Queen’s seamstress in a past life, perhaps we all were :o) Is there a word for it yet? if there is I hope it doesn’t have the word button in it!”

“Just to add to your list of button-phobics,

I have an intense phobia of buttons (I find it very difficult to say the word or even type it). I too am completely amazed to find there are others with the same phobia, I was always convinced I was the only one in the world who had this.

Ever since I can remember, I have not been able to touch, or even look at, buttons. I will never wear any clothing which has buttons, unless I have to (i.e. shirt for work, although wearing a tie to cover the buttons helps a bit).

When I was growing up I didn’t realise this was a phobia – I thought it was a natural thing to be afraid of, & I couldn’t understand why no one else seemed to be afraid too.

Like some other people have said, metal-type buttons (like on jeans) are no problem, it’s the small plastic type, especially clear & shiny ones, that are the worst. I find this really intriguing, that a number of us think exactly the same like this.

If I touch one by accident, e.g. in a clothes shop, I can feel my heart suddenly jump, & sometimes I feel like I’m going to be sick. If there are clothes lying around anywhere, I will always arrange them so that there are no buttons showing anywhere.

This phobia is a huge problem for me, as it affects my whole life. If I have to go somewhere where I would have to wear a shirt (e.g. a smart night-club), I will just not turn up & pretend I can’t go because I’m ill or something. I have never told anyone about this (except one person – ex-girlfriend), as I think everyone will just laugh at me.

My mum says I used to scream when I was very young & she used to pick me up while she was wearing buttons.

I would love to find out why I have this phobia, presumably some traumatic event when I was very young, & have even considered hypnosis to try & find out the cause.”

“GOOD FOR YOU FOR CREATING THIS SITE. I NOW REALISE THAT I AM NOT COMPLETELY MAD! WELL MAYBE JUST A LITTLE. HAVING READ OTHER EXPERIENCES FROM OTHER BUTTON PHOBICS, MY PERSONAL PHOBIA CERTAINLY MAKES MORE SENSE, AND IT IS NICE TO KNOW THAT I AM NOT ALONE.

I TOO CANNOT BEAR TO TOUCH PLASTIC BUTTONS OF ANY KIND, AND AS MANY OF YOU HAVE PUT, ESPECIALLY CLEAR PLASTIC SHIRT BUTTONS WITH HOLES IN. IF I TOUCH ONE I HAVE TO WIPE MY FINGERS IMMEDIATELY. I DON,T EVEN LIKE SAYING THE WORD BUTTON, AND I DON,T EVEN LIKE LOOKING AT THEM, BUT LIKE MANY OF YOU ALSO, I CAN TOUCH METAL ONES, (I STILL WIPE MY FINGERS AFTERWARDS) . IT,S MAD ISN,T IT WHEN I THINK ABOUT IT, AS I AM IN THE CARING PROFESSION FOR HEAVENS SAKES!!! IMAGINE WHAT I HAVE HAD TO TOUCH OVER THE YEARS. IT ALL SEEMS SO TOTALLY IRRATIONAL, AND I HAVE TRIED SO HARD TO OVERCOME THIS RIDICULOUS PHOBIA BUT I CAN,T.

I CANNOT RECALL ANY PARTICULAR INCIDENT AS A CHILD THAT MAY HAVE CAUSED THIS PHOBIA, AND I CAN ONLY ASSUME THAT I WAS BORN WITH THIS STRANGE AFFLICTION. IF THERE IS A LINK, I ALSO DO NOT LIKE TOUCHING (BUT WILL) READING GLASSES, SUNGLASSES AND PLASTIC KNOBS YOU HAVE TO TWIDDLE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE TIMER ON MY COOKER, OR ON OFF SWITCH ON MY STEREO, PLASTIC KEYRING PENDANTS ETC. THERE SEEMS TO BE AN OBVIOUS PLASTIC CONNECTION HERE, AS IN SHINY SMOOTH AND ROUND, WHICH OF COURSE MOST BUTTONS ARE. BUT THEN, I STILL WON,T TOUCH BUTTONS OR TOGGLES IF THEY ARE NOT ROUND. I DON,T KNOW, IS ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE AS DAFT AS ME?”

“I’ll have to echo everyone else. I am 49 years old, african american male, and I just knew I was the only one that had this phobia. When I was young if I found a button on the floor I would take a piece of notebook paper and manueuver the button on the paper, and dump it in the trash can. But I must say that now I can actually pick up a button with the tips of my forefinger and thumb and throw it in the trash, making sure it is covered up with something, so no will notice that the trash is defiled by a button. Also I used to have to wash my hands after touching a button, but now I just rub my fingers together and I’m fine. Still I cannot hold a button in my hand for a long period of time. Also if I have a shirt dry cleaned and the cleaners replace a button with a different button I cannot wear that shirt any longer. Also if they use a different kind of thread to replace that same button I cannot wear the shirt again. It must be thrown away (the entire shirt). Buttons are so disgusting to me that I don’t even want to get help for my problem if it includes handling them.”

“i can not believe that there are so many people out there with fear of buttons it’s unbelievable.i have never met anyone who has this phobia. only today at collage my class mates were making so much fun of me and treat to like its a joke and really funny. this started well for along as i can remember and like the others its every single one except jean ones. its so strange to actually hear that other people do to thought i was weird. anyway cant wear them touch them look at them say it. i have no clothing with them apart from my work uniform which i don’t touch but feel clostiphobic (don’t no how its spelt )in it. if i touch one i scratch my self so hard so it will come off that sometimes it bleeds and if i know my boyfriend has just touched one i wont hold his hand. and also if i touch something eg a book and start thinking that a person who touches them touched the book I’ll keep scratching my hand and washing. its making me cringe even writing about them. the funny thing is I’m studying a fashion course at collage but i refuse to sow one . I’ll use Velcro, zips or get my friend to sow one. I’m so glad i found this sight i feel like less of a weird freak now. thanks”

“I just had to write about the button phobia. I have had it since I can remember. My mom made me a dress with buttons when I was about 3 or 4 and I made her put it on me backwards because I hated them so much. Even still I could not stand to wear it. I don’t know if she knew why I hated it. My hatred is mainly the plastic ones with holes. I don’t like to look at them or touch them. I don’t mind the ones on jeans or the ones that have a shank in back. Except I really don’t like to touch the plastic versions of those either. I thought maybe that I was abused or something by someone with buttons on. I can’t even stand to say or write the word either. I have gotten better since I have grown up, but I will never wear a button down shirt. I also don’t like to touch stickers, tape or other sticky things. I cannot stand that sticky feeling. I thought I was the only weird one.”

“I was reading on your website about button phobias. My daughter has this phobia and I am really glad to see that there are others out there who also have it! The scientific name for the button phobia is Koumpounophobia.”

I am 45 years old and have had a button phobia since birth. It all started when a i was about 2 i opened a small sweets tin thinking they were sweets but in fact it contained buttons my mum used for dressmaking. I retched at the touch of them. Apart from when i was at school i have not worn any buttoned clothing , apart from jeans. I used to feel really uncomfy at school , also i had permanent goose bumps and felt nauseated at having to wear buttoned clothes , my parents knew about it but thought it was just a phase i was going through and that i’d grow out of it , as any parent would i suspect, but made me wear shirts when out of school if we were visiting anybody. A big problem for me is that whenever i saw/see a female that i really like i always end up being put off when i see her in the street next tme around or at some other point , as she is weraing a cardigan or polo shirt etc etc. I then go off her totally , thank goodness i never asked any of them out . I no longer bother fancying women now as i know i’ll be put off by these type of clothes. The thought of them touching my body after touching these accursed objects makes me feel ill and to this day i cannot understand how people can let their hands touch buttons and wear buttoned clothing.

141 comments on “Koumpounophobia
  1. Phil says:

    Always felt that I’m odd, even my Mum has always took the pee out of me for hating buttons, there Ok on clothes, although I hate the big ones on old ladies coats. If there on the floor then I feel ultimately sick and must walk away, even if they’ve fell off my own jacket. Thank god I’m not on my own

  2. Iain says:

    So I’m not the only one! I never had this feeling of ‘dirty’, just ‘sick’. What is it about putting holes in something, and then putting it through holes? Thank God for tshirts and shawls. The worst thing is buttons used for decoration, that don’t even have a function!

  3. Zips&Elastic says:

    Wow! Just discovered that this thing of mine is an actual phobia! I hate those things and how they keep interfering with my life. Hate them on clothes and absolutely REVOLTED by loose ones (I’ve unfortunately discovered 2 in my university in places where I have to pass daily but where the cleaners don’t go – so disgusted…). I’m actually a medical student and shudder at the thought of working with children because of these things get lodged iwaenfioewt (can’t say it). I’m also thinking of not having children, soley because I know pre-school teachers make kids do ‘art’ where they use all sorts of things like raw macaroni, glitter (and, yes, those things) and stick it onto paper (HEIOUTHaeIOES). Don’t want to hurt my kid’s feelings but will definitely make the child throw it away in a dustbin 5km away from my home.

  4. whitney says:

    my boyfriend says now that we’ve all “found eachother” on this website, we should go off and start a colony. He also thinks that if he were dressed as a giant b***** and attacked our colony, we would all be scared and run away. I tried explaining to him that we certainly would not, we would DESTROY THE B*****!!! Am I right?!

  5. Lisa D. says:

    I’m so glad that there are other people like me! I’ve been disgusted by buttons ever since I can remember. My fear mainly lies with buttons that are detached from clothing. Whether it be a spare or have just fallen on a shirt, it makes me want to puke. I agree the plastic ones are the worst. I’m not sure what it is about them but if I touch them, I freak out. But if I see a clear one that has begun to yellow I have to run to the bathroom to vomit.

  6. Kevin says:

    I am 62 and have always avoided buttons whenever possible. I can cope with a metal stud type like on jeans but that’s it. It is only recently that I discovered it is not such an unusual thing and also that it may be linked to autism type neurology. I am also very mildy aspie. Joy to not be so alone.

  7. Siobhan says:

    I fear them as well, when I read the word or say it I always feel the need to scratch the word off my tongue with my teeth and when I see them I always just want to throw up and get it out of my sight. Their so disgusting and when I touch them I always rub my hands against stone or a rough wall then wash my hands. I hate having to wear them on my uniform, in primary school they were all along my dress, now i middle school their is just one and it is easily avoidable, but I am in high school next year and I am going to have to wear buttons all along my shirt and even one for my skirt! Why can’t uniforms just have zippers or nothing at all instead?

  8. fbrandse@planet.nl says:

    I think it is really amazing! The stories and experiences I read from other posters are mine as well. I will not post my own story because it would not add anything new. Really glad to know that I am not the only one with this.
    But I am amazed that so many people around the world react the same when seeing buttons. The cause of this must be something deeply hidden in the collective subconsciousness of humans. It would be really interesting to find out what causes this phobia.

    • fbrandse@planet.nl says:

      My own theory is that koumouphobia is caused by a subconscious, instinctive fear of skin diseases. Our subconscious mind sees the clothes that we humans wear as part of our skin and we expect a skin to be soft and smooth. Hard parts on that “skin”, like buttons, repel us and warn us to stay away. Koumouphobia is the remnant of a prehistoric human warning system that tells us to stay away from people wearing buttons, just like you would stay away from somebody with a contagious skin disease like leprosy.

  9. Deena says:

    I have a friend who is also afraid of buttons, and i did not think this fear existed until i met her. She says the sight of more than 2 buttons make her nauseous, and she says she cant even look at a shirt with four or five buttons. One time when I was wearing a shirt with 3 buttons, she would not even talk to me. She calls buttons nasty, disgusting, and nauseating. She also compared buttons to nightmares, and says they smell bad. I tried to talk to her about why her fear did not make sense, but she was screaming about how disgusting they are and wouldn’t listen to me. I thought she was crazy but apparently other people have this irrational fear.

  10. molly says:

    hi i have this phobia and i have to were school uniform it just freaks me out im glad to know im not the only one.

  11. Manet says:

    Woah! it is so great finding this site! I am 18 years old and never realised how common this was until now!

  12. zoe says:

    All my life I thought I was the only one with this, and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to wear them. I coud never look at anyone wearing them, and my mum only got me to wear a jumper with them on the back so that I didn’t know they were there. I dislike the word, and also ‘cardigan’ and ‘pretty’ and ‘popper’ I think I had a general issue with the letters ‘p’ and ‘t’. I am now 48 and decided to google this as my daughter bought me some pyjamas for Christmas and the top has buttons on. I am having to wear it and hope that it will help me overcome this feeling. I am ok until I see them in the mirror and I have to cover them with a wrap around bath robe before I leave the bedroom, incase anyone sees them. It puts me right off a person if they are wearing them, especially if they are different colours to the clothing or different colour thread. I have tried to overcome this by wearing a couple of items that do have them on and that is not too bad now, I think it is because I can’t see them. I used to get in trouble at school for not wearing a proper school shirt, and would cut the top button off as I hated it showing above the tie. Button fly jeans are disgusting, and vest tops with 3 or 4 little plastic ones also. I have to force myself to do them up on the duvet. As I get older I am hoping that it will get less, as I actively challenge my irrational fear. Glad to know I am not alone, and there is a name for this koumpounophobia. Good luck everyone x

  13. peter bainbridge says:

    I suffered from button phobia for year before I got counselling for it, what used to cause me great anxiety is now a source of pleasure, i’d be happy to chat with anyone if they feel it may help

  14. Assef says:

    After reading the comments, it is a relief… The reason is because my 6 year old daughter has the problem, and we didn’t realise how she felt until a week ago. When we went to the GP, he said that such a phobia does not exist. I asked how we could help her, and he said that we cann’t and she has to live with it.

    I wanted to take her to a psychologist, but haven’t had a referral from the GP. I guess, it has to be done privately.

    Please let me know if anyone else finds a cure to this.

    • cathy says:

      My 8 year old has button phobia, she has recently had a course of treatment from PCAMHS which involved gradually exposing her to buttons starting with saying the word, looking at it and writing it working her way up to touching buttons. Really tough for her as she has to keep working on it. She has learned to understand and control the feelings buttons evoke in her. At the moment she has to cope with me wearing them with the ultimate aim for her to wear them. I don’t think she will ever choose to wear buttons but at least now she can be in the same room without retching and getting stressed. So proud of her and the progress she has made but we do understand this is an ongoing project. There is help out there , our GP had not heard of this issue before and another Dr just laughed when I told them but persistence paid off eventually.

  15. Jessica says:

    I can not believe how common this is. I became aware of my son’s button “issue” when he was 18 mos. It was a flannel pair of pj’s w/ a btn up top that he would have a total fit when I tried to put on him. Once, around 3yrs I made him wear a thermal shirt with 3 btns at the top. When we got to daycare he refused to remove his coat & when I got him to he held them folded up in his hand so “no one could see them”. I realized the extent of his misery and felt terrible. He has never been able to tell me why or what they make him feel. “I just dont like them” He did mention the button on his pants (when he was little) but I told him there was no other way to keep his pants up :) but those kind just dont seem to bother him as much. Sometimes he will say “you know you have a button on your shirt?” and ask Why? Why do people wear them or like them? He is almost 8 now. I have taken the buttons off of polos so he will wear them and wont force him to wear them b/c i know it causes him distress. Last year for pic day he told me he would agree to wear a buttoned polo if i packed him a shirt to change immediately after. This year he was so excited he was joining boy scouts. I was nervous how he would react to the uniform btn up shirt. I think his excitement over weighed his anxiety. He told me these buttons are ok b/c they are blue like the shirt, like they’re invisible (I think its his way of talking him self into wearing it) but he is so happy and proud to be one.

  16. Joe says:

    I hate plastic buttons since forever- especially small ones. My disgust are really buttons that are not on clothes. Metal buttons do not bother me though. I cut off buttons that are on the inside of dress pants too -it disgusts me knowing they are touching me closely. The idea of a button in my mouth is putrid; I’d rather have barb wire there instead. I’m amazed this is such a widespread phobia – and Steve Jobs had it too to the point of being so acute that is why he likely invented touch-screen devices to avoid device button phone use!

  17. Katie says:

    You cannot believe how happy I am to have found this site. I am 15 and ever since I could remember I’ve been disgusted with buttons (even typing the word makes me shiver). I never knew why or even if this was a real thing, or if I was just a weirdo. Like most of the other people on here, my problem lies with the little plastic ones with holes (and especially with the larger, usually colored, ones with two holes). I am fine with jean buttons, though, which I am ever thankful for (but I cut out the small plastic ones on the inside of the waistline, when they have them). I do not usually have an issue with wearing them if they are not in direct contact with my skin, which means something must be both under and over them, though even if they aren’t I will still be constantly thinking of them and awaiting the time when I’m able to remove them. At school, (thank God that I am homeschooled now) I used to always wear an undershirt and a sweatshirt, so that I would not have to touch them (this became a health hazard, as I would refuse to take the sweatshirt off, even when I got sick due to the heat). I simply can’t stand touching them, or even touching someone who is wearing them, though I often endure it so no one catches onto my phobia, and I absolutely can not stand the smell of them. People always tell me that they don’t smell and that I’m crazy or imagining it, but reading that there are others who also share this feeling is amazing and so relieving.
    When I see loose ones I feel the urge to run, and I can’t stand it when they are used for decorating and art (which, as an artist, is often an issue). I feel like I could just rant about this for hours (there should really be a site for people with this phobia to talk in like a chatroom, like a support group or something, and if there is, I would love it if someone could direct me to it!) Thank you everyone else who posted their own stories! I feel so much more confident and comfortable knowing that I’m not alone!

  18. Gail says:

    My 9 year old daughter has had this since birth. She tolerates her school shirt but takes it off the minute she gets home. She cant eat in a room where others are wearing buttons or where there are any buttons around. Her brother takes his shirt off and has to take it upstairs before tea. I thought she was being ridiculous until I saw this site and now I’m going to support her and try and find some school shirts with velcro.

  19. John Smith, the says:

    thank you for this site and for knowing that i’m not alone!

  20. Scared of the b says:

    My whole life, I’ve been so scared of b*ttons. My mom made me wear them when I was little and I screamed. Whenever I touch one, even a little brush, makes me want to barf. I immediately find a sink and wash my hands thoroughly for a very long time. I hope there’s a cure bcuz I don’t want to feel so sick all the time

  21. Charlotte says:

    Im 15 and ive had this phobia since i was like 3. They’re so gross ew. Guys think its like hot to dress up all preppy but it makes me wanna barf when they wear like polos. I think those collared shirts are the worst, when the… uh… buttons (ew i cant even type it) only go down a quarter of the way. BLAh. Snaps are also super gross too. I dont need freak out and need to wash my hands, but i cant stand the though of a button on a shirt touching my face… I love jeans though, i dont seem to have a problem with them. I also dont have a problem if a u know what is just lying around, but if its on a shirt thats on a person, i cant talk to them without getting completely distracted. One of my friends tried to hug me and she was wearing some nasty abercrombi quater buttoned long sleeve shirt. I seriously though I was going to throw up all over her. Thank god im not alone with this problem but i still dont know how to get over it! I feel like such a freak!

    • Tony says:

      I can’t wear anything with them on but strangely I don’t mind the ones on jeans, the metal ones, it’s the plastic ones i hate

  22. Susan says:

    I am 55 and have always been button phobic, though not nearly as extreme as some of the things I just read. They are disgusting but I can wear them. Decorative buttons are the worst. To think that they are used as decorative embellishments is just awful. I have a friend with a large wall hanging in her house all decorated with BUTTONS, like a mosaic. Talk about gross! Can’t stand to look at it.
    When I was young I never refused to wear clothes with buttons but did avoid it. Don’t like to look at them, touch them or fell them, whether plastic, small, large or whatever. But I can touch them if I have too. I remember in kindergarten having to count buttons to learn math and couldn’t stand it but was able to. We wore old men’s button up shirts backwards to paint in and protect our clothes. Hated that! As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to live with them but I avoid them. None of my 4 kids have this issue.
    When I was 20 years old I walked into my aunt’s house and she was throwing something across her kitchen table. When I asked what she was doing she said she was sewing a button on her husband’s shirts, that she hated buttons; didn’t like to touch them or look at them. I was shocked to hear this. Until then I thought I was the only person in the world (or at least a rarity) to dislike buttons. I was not around this aunt until I was 16 so it wasn’t something I learned from her. I am assuming it is a genetic thing of some kind.
    I now own a small gift shop that has recently started carrying fabric and quilting supplies. My grown son came to me after starting this expansion and said, “Mom, if you’re going to become a fabric store you’re going to have to carry button.” I told him I could handle it and I have. We laughed about it. We have buttons. I ordered them, priced them and displayed them all by myself. I sell them but I don’t tell customers I LOATHE them.
    I will always avoid buttons, won’t use them decoratively and try not to teach my grandchildren to despise buttons. Though they really are awful things. I am grateful I don’t have as intense problems with them as some of the folks I read about.

  23. basel says:

    Hi there guys

    Am probably the latest but hopefully not the last to join the list.
    Ever since I was a little boy I had that sick feeling about buttons.

    It’s not fear for sure, but rather being disgusted as if I touched something that would make u puke. Yuk.

    My ultimate fear was whether I will be able to reveal my little secret to anyone until I was brave enough to tell my twin sister who greatly surprised to know that she has exactly the same phobia.

    I thought if I get older maybe I can overcome it.
    Now I turned 40 and I think am gona be like that till the day I die
    Am glamorously happy to know that u guys share my feeling
    Just one last wishful thinking. I hope that there are no buttons yuk up in heaven:-):-);-)heaven

    I will be more than happy if u guys wanna write me
    baselhennawi@hotmail.com

  24. ttorokan says:

    I was born in 1991 and had this phobia as long as i remember myself. In childhood I’ve newer vear clothes with buttons, but, not, I am wrong, I had a coat, that I wear in winter with buttons on it, so I hated it and was wary glad when it bacame too small for me. Then a new jacket was bought with a zipper and it gave me so much pleasure. There is another thing, I’ve found just now – I also don’t like vinter clothes made of natural matherials, especially, wool and other cloth made of thick threads. That new jacket was made of some kind of synthetic matherial and it was also nice. So, then at age of 7 I entered the school, where I had to wear shirts – it was absolutely awfull, so I weared t-shorts – those with 3 or 4 buttons just at the top, near collar, made of knitwear. Now I consider that this cloth is ewen worse with buttons, but than I thought axactly conversely. Now even thinking about those buttons, hanging down at thin cloth sikens me, but now I can wear ordinary shirts with buttons, but I alvays wear underwear under it, not to let the cloth with buttons (even the opposite side of it) to touch my body. Then, after school I enteren university, where there is no strict convences on clothes, so I am happy to wear clothes absolutely without buttons, I also work as a programmer now and there is no convences on clothes also. I shoud add about shiths – I always cut avay any button that I can – those that are thometimes added for extra (to replace lost ones) and those from the collar. Also, about other types of buttons – I hate also the metal ones and those that have 2 or 4 holes, or even without holes, I hate any type of button compleatly.
    Excuse me for such a long story, but it was first tyme I found this problem and knew it’s name.
    Thanks You a lot, with best regards _________.

  25. Evi says:

    I started googling this phobia today bc google had some buttons on their logo today. I can’t even look at them in the computer, let alone in real life. Anyway, I knew I wasn’t alone as I found out a friend of mine has the same phobia also and so does my nephew.
    Meanwhile, I forwarded this site to my husband so he may read it and understand this is a serious condition for some of us. He is always laughing and bothering me about it. I once told him that if he doesn’t stop I might have to leave him, which it is extreme but i get grossed out just talking about it and i feel like through up. I wish people can understand and just leave us alone.

  26. Neil says:

    Bu***ns are just wrong! Thought I was a freak but I think it goes back to my childhood. As a young baby I can remember being held close to my mom and nan and they both wore those 60s buttons clear with like an eye shape on them. Ever since could not bear the little buggers. The smaller and clearer the worse for me. Being a 45yr old man this can pose a real problem. Used to work for tesco and really struggled wjth the uniform almost physically being sick whilst either ironing or putting it on. However as tbe years go on I am slowly getting over my phobia. I work in a hotel and my duvets have buttons. I freakin hate them but have to handle them every day. Can’t wear button down shirts dont own any. Dont want to. I do however use stud fasten shirts instead. But I dont hide the fact. I do tell people. Yeah they look at you like the worlds biggest freak show has just been outed. But im an honest person and dont care what people think of me. So good luck all you koumpounophobics out there im with you all the way. Get lost buttons. Welcome studs and velcro and zips any day!

  27. Faith Harris says:

    My parents always said I was crazy and needed to stop over exaggerating. They told me that I was ridiculous when it came to buttons, and they’re still making fun of me for refusing to wear anything with buttons. Ever since I can remember I would scream and cry whenever mom put something with buttons on me. I’d get spanked or grounded for yanking off a buttoned dress or buttoned shirt. I’m eighteen now and I can wear pants with that one metal button, but other than that I can’t do anything else. Even if there’s buttons on my shoes, or even gloves, I can’t wear them because of the simple fact there is a button. Even if furniture has a button on it I can’t sit there, or a pillow has a button I can’t use it. I’m so relieved to find out that this is actually a real phobia and that other people share it with me. Now parents can finally see I’m not the only one!

  28. I have a little grand daughter who has a button phobia. She is four and a half. She is beginning to wear things with buttons (not many buttons though) and I have started to get her a ‘pretty button’ collection which she loves and always asks me for new ones but when she sees me wearing buttons, she will not hug me at all, even the smallest button. She sees it immediately I walk through the door. I found out yesterday that it is only with me that she will not hug if I am wearing buttons; everyone else she is fine with. I must add that we have a very close and loving relationship, she loves to sleep over and spend time just with me. I do hope someone can give me an answer but until then I will just be flattered that I am the ‘chosen one’ Thanks for reading. Maureen

  29. Jaz says:

    Woah I didn’t know other people had the same fear :) whenever I was little and still now I cant stand them! I have to cut any off right away

  30. rowanne says:

    when i was about 3 years of age, maybe even younger, my brother and i had a fear of buttons. i could only wear clothes that had zips, Velcro, elastic or the metal ones. unfortunately this annoyed my mother as i frlt suck in clothes shops. the plastic ones are the worst especially when they have 4 holes in. the brown ones and the clear one make me feel like im choking on them. even when i had a fall out with my brother, he would say “imagine drinking a cup full of buttons” and i would start crying! polo shirts still disgust me so its hard to get changed in pe. i have the no idea why i have a phobia but its good to know im not just weird :D

  31. Tracy says:

    WOW! I am so glad i have found this site. I have had a fear of buttons for as long as i can remember. Now at 21 i find it making life even more difficult. Mainly because jobs tend to all have buttons on their uniforms and because guys start wearing shirts atc more at this age. So dating is almost a no go because of this. I struggle to eat out it i see the staff wearing buttons on their clothes, my mind automatically starts thinking “what if they touch their button even by accident and then make my food.” I even feel uncomftable sitting next to someone wearing buttons, i swear i can “smell” them. Cant even explain what the smell is but my imagination goes wild when im near buttons. i can say the word fine. Jean buttons dont bother me unless i think about it too much. And very very large buttons like on knit jerseys are sometimes ok. Kind of depends in the colour etc. But plastic, not matter what colour etc is a deffinate no go. I even get panicy about getting help for this problem as the thought of ever touching a button makes me nervous and uncomftable. But i think i will because avoiding them for the rest of my life seems somewhat impossible!1

  32. Emma says:

    I hate buttons so much! If i’m in the same room with someone whoes wearing buttons I can hardly look at them. Also, they put me off my food so much! I cringe so much. I am really embarrased as i thought i was a freak, and i havent told any one but i am pleased to hear i am not the only one! I freak out. If i see a button lying around I feel sooo sick!

  33. HIL says:

    I too have this strange dislike of buttons. I looked it up after receiving a christmas card adorned with buttons that made me shudder. I am surprised to read other people have it. For me the worst is loose buttons with thread still in them.I am 69 years old and have lived an eventful life, dealt with all kinds of bad and good situations. Buttons do not control my life but I certainly can’t understand why such a silly thing can cause me to have a bad reaction. When I was at infant school a boy was sick and tried to wipe it up, it stuck in the holes in his buttons. That was all I could see, whether that started it or whether it was already there I don’t know,but I find it all puzzling, but I can live with it

  34. Mark says:

    I must appologise, I feel terrible, I am a lousy son! My mother has a fear of lose buttons, particularly second hand/used buttons. The irony is that she is a dress maker and has to sew on buttons. My brothers an I always taunted her, putting buttons on our tongues etc, just to freak her out. I don’t think she’s as bad as a lot of the other stories, but it is still her reality.

    I am now a hypnotherapist and plan to help her deal with it through hypnosis (like most other phobias can be addressed)when I travel overseas to see her in a couple of months time.

    You are not crazy, this is real to you, as my own nuances are real to me.

  35. Soraya says:

    I too have koumpounophobia….I am so pleased there is a latin word for it as I struggle to even say the word…yuck!! I have had this phobia since I was a small child,maybe 2 or 3, it has been really hard at times, especially through school and having to endure a uniform with ‘things’ on it!! I’m the same as a lot of people on here, ok with ones on jeans (I really don’t see them as ‘things’) and the clear ones are the worst by far. If they are loose, its really bad and loose ones with thread in are by far the worse…..if I had to pick a stray up then it would have to be done with wads of kitchen paper and result in my hands being scrubbed for ages. Just thinking about all this makes my hands itch!! I usually function really well in day to day life, I dont have clothes with any on and my son is old enough to deal with shirts now so thats one less stress for me! Today however, taunts from my childhood were painfully reminded by a colleague, who found out about it and couldnt believe it so thought coming up and sticking a BIG ‘thing’ in my face whilst I was eating my lunch would be a good idea……my reaction proved that no, when someone is phobic….whatever the trigger may be, its probably not the brightest of moves!! I have now spent the last couple of hours having people come up and question me about it, which has annoyed me as I dont really want to be talking about the thing I try so hard to not think about! I did feel like I was probably the only person in the world with this, and as much as I wish you all didnt have to go through this pain, I am pleased to know I am not alone! xx

  36. Olivia says:

    Ever since I was a young child, I remember never wanting to wear clothes with buttons. As I grew older, I hated wearing my school uniform which consisted of plastic small buttons. Just the thought of the uniform makes me want to throw up. I cannot stand to look at clear, small buttons. I picture myself eating them and I get a disgusted taste. The other day, my brother thought it would be funny to throw a button at my dinner. I refused to eat it. Also, my brothers put buttons all over my room, including in my bed. I was able to put them in a pile using my feet, but my friend had to put them in a bag to get rid of them. I HATE BUTTONS.

  37. Brian says:

    It would be nice if you all could join my facebook page! How this is possible I don’t know? Publication can be cruel, I’ve learnt to be silent and to avoid or limit social interaction.

  38. Brian says:

    I try to tolerate and endure those around me wearing them and even myself at times have had to endure clothes with them on a several times in my life, an energy draining, depressing and frustrating period.

    Particularly disgusting is when someone has a dark shirt designed to make them stand out and shine. I hold my hand over my view to block the offensive parts if its only on a TV show for example, otherwise I look away.

    Cutting them off clothes may lessen the potency of them having existed in that area but there is always the physical reminder of what was there, the hole or the stitch marks. The only real way to ensure purity of clothes is not to have them on them in the first place when bought. It really is sickening when people over emphasise them. Why would any sane person want the burdensome task of having to do up 100 or so? Now that’s crazy!

    Maybe the holes are full of bacteria from oily, grotty fingers? Maybe when I was a baby I choked on one of these things? Yukkk!!! I don’t know the cause but there is a reason. I do know that I am forever at war with them and I see no peace with them, I find them too offensive.

    It’s nice to know there are others who share this psychological phenomenon and that we have a name for it.

  39. Brian says:

    I don’t want treatment for this condition, I don’t want to like them! To me it’s normal to hate them and those who like them need treating.

  40. Brian says:

    Just a quick intro I’ll write more later just found this site! I’m 49 years old have had this problem all my life. I only tell people close because from my experience once people know they stick them in your face or do other nasty things with them to get a reaction from you.

    I think its time the fashion industry come to their senses. So many clothes use them as ‘decoration’. E.g., those polo shirts although they come in great paterns and colours I will never wear one. They have this v-neck saturated with and contaminating by them. Get rid of the ugly things. I would love to have a polo shirt without them, they are not necessary for all practical puropses. I could cope with a v-neck without those plastic pieces of shit on them. Adorn clothes with maggots would be much nicer!

  41. Marcia says:

    Amazing site. After suffering for 47 years I can finally feel justified in my phobia.
    I hate to word even if it is used to describe keys to press in a lift or keyboard etc.
    I never wear them. When ironing for family I never touch them. All their shirts stay done up so they must put them on an off over the head like a T’shirt. My husband of 27 years has never been allowed to wear pajamas or boxers to bed, just incase the offending articles are attached. (refi ate passion killer). I am sort of ok with metal ones on denim and cloth covered ones so long as they are the larger type. I want the ground to open up and swallow me when I encounter someone wearing those bidi us necklaces made of assorted ones. If one should come off a garment, the garment goes in the rubbish, I don’t care who it belongs to. I cannot pick up a loose one without gloves and a tissue. For me glass ones are the worst followed by plastic. The smaller ones are the worst. My kids never wore them when I controlled their wardrobe. Thank goodness for zips, and Velcro. I hated it when kind hearted people knitted baby cloths for me and attached them. I was polite and tried to hide my anxiety. Then promptly passed them on to someone else at a later stage. I also have a fear of other small objects but not quite so severe. I wonder if anyone else is the same. I cannot touch anyone else’s earrings. if someone should loose one nearby I will refuse to pick it up or worse, help them put it back. I also hate coins. Especially the smallest ones. They really creak me out. Anyway I seem to be the oldest of the contributors out there, so take heart, we can survive and lead normal lives. I am not interested in a cure as I managed just fine having made the necessary coping adjustments for so many years.
    The more we keep talking the more others will come to realise that this is a real phobia and we are not simply being silly.

  42. Lach says:

    I wonder how this manifested itself in the past when buttons did not exist.

  43. Joe Pike says:

    I do not fear buttons I just hate them! They represent a form of society I can not stand; dress codes that are against shorts and tank tops; no shoes no shirt no service. Read up on the French Button Maker’s Guild in France 1666. Draped clothing; Lord of the Rings; Jedi cloaks; these feel natural and right. I wish Chantal Boulanger lived longer.

  44. Greta says:

    I cant believe this is an actual thing!! i have had a strong dislike of buttons all my life but I’ve never know why. I’m also surprised that people feel the same way about them that I do. I also think that they are dirty and gross, and plastic ones are the worst. I have never payed attention to the number of holes they have so I don’t know if that affects me. The ones on jeans are fine, I wear jeans all the time. I have learned to deal with them but when I was little I would refuse to wear them and through fits. Now I have to wear a polo for band and although it makes me extremely uncomfortable, i can even tough them to unbutton it. I still feel a strong urge to wash my hands though. I’m so glad to find that other people know exactly how I feel about them. I try not to tell anyone and if someone asks me to button something for them, I hold my breath and do it then go wash my hands. My family has always made fun of me because this is a phobia that even I don’t understand, all I know is that they make me feel sick! Hopefully soon we can find a reason why because I would love to know why I’m disgusted by something so harmless. Does anyone know about how many people in the world have Koumpounphobia?

  45. Jack Clacco says:

    I have disliked buttons since i was very young, like 3 or 4 nd i am now 14!!! I cannot eat around them nd i definetely not wear them except 4 school were i am forced to :( i ask my parents no to wear them at the dinner table nd tell them not to leave clothes out with buttons on them :) I dont mind metal ones but plastic and glass i hate so much :( I really hope there is a solution :)

  46. Ahhhh! says:

    I really thought I was the only one with this fear. I always thought something was wrong with me and I was always embarrassed by my phobia. I’ve had this problem as long as I can remember. It has really affected my life and a lot of decisions I have to make, especially when it comes to jobs. I have gotten a little better over time but I still hate to eat around them. And even though they’re just plastic, they seem like they smell to me. If I touch them I usually have to watch my hands. The multicolored ones really make my stomach turn. And for some reason, shirts that have no collar and have just few on them really get to me. I don’t know why, but I can’t stand to see those little monsters just sitting there like cockroaches lined up on a wall. My family and friends have always been supportive by shaking a jar of them at me or putting them in their mouth or leaving them in places where they know I’ll encounter them. A lot of people never take me seriously and are quick to joke about it. But those little four eyed bastards scare me so. Why the world chose to make them the standard fasteners for clothing, beats me and it’s the world’s obsession that scares me the most.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I can’t stand them all!! The one’s on jeans are ok but I still wear a belt so that I don’t accidently touch them ( to put on my pants I have to slide them up). I also wear a jacket to cover them up on my school uniform. If I see one it feels as if my mouth gets all weird and tingly and when I see people putting them inside their mouths I just want to die!

  48. Harley says:

    I’m glad that I am not alone on this. I’m 12, and like many of you, I’m fine with metal one, but anything else I freak out at. I can’t say the word, I can’t hug people wearig a hirt with them on it, and if I see a b***** on the floor, I will take a piece of paper or something and push it in the air vent or carefully put it in the trash can. I’ve had this ever since I was little. I can’t remember any horrible scarring story, so I guess I was just born with it. Very few people know about my koumpounophobia, so I’m glad all of you can relate to me so well.

  49. Harley says:

    I’m 12 yrs old and I have had koumpounophobia ever since I was little. I don’t know why. I don’t care about metal ones, but anything else I can’t touch or I’ll freak out and stand in the bathroom and wash my hands for 15 minutes and almost start crying. Very few people know this about me, only my mom, my stepdad, and my 4 best friends. So I’m glad to see I’m not all alone on this! :D

  50. Phil says:

    I’ve hated buttons since I was a little kid, but only really the ones with holes in. I had to get over enough in order to wear a shirt as part of my school uniform, and now I’m in my early 30s I have to attend weddings and funerals and so on, so I force myself to wear a shirt and tie for those. Aside from two smart shirts for those occasions, I don’t own any other clothing with buttons (aside from metal jeans buttons).

    One problem I’ve found is that I like to wear loose-fit boxer shorts at night, but it now seems to be impossible to get them without a button fly.

    I was recently dating a girl who does homecrafts and loves using buttons in her creations. Although I didn’t have a problem with this and was even prepared to try and get over it for her, she ended the relationship and told me that my dislike of buttons was one of the reasons.

  51. carol says:

    I’m glad that I found this website. I too HATE buttons. I never by clothes which have buttons on them as a decoration. Why do they put buttons in places where they are not needed to do something up?

    I’ve even seen buttons on shoes!! urgh. I have zips on my coats, sometimes for work i have to wear a suit, it has 1 button on the jacket which has to be small. My worst nightmare is a buton tin!! my friends mother has one, lots of odd buttons just waiting to be put on clothes – none match and they smell…

    I’ve read a lot of the comments and feel sorry for the people who actually get sick feelings. I hate grand-dad shirts, which button up, same with polo shirts…uurrgghhh

  52. carol says:

    I’m glad that I found this website. I too HATE

  53. Steve B. says:

    I too, have a fear of buttons..It doesn’t seem like a fear sometimes as it does a distraction that I cannot move past.

    For example, I cannot stand white or light colored buttons on dark shirts. I find them extremely distracting. I cannot look at anything else but the buttons. I can’t look at the shirt, because the buttons stand out…My in-law bought be a very nice, expensive Ralph Lauren button down shirt. It was brown with white buttons. I had to give it away, because it was impossible for me to wear it…It also happens with dark colored polo shirts…Even when I just talk about it, I see it in my mind, and all I see are the white buttons…I buy all my shirts with black or dark buttons, that either match the shirt color or blend into the shirt pattwern.

  54. sarvo says:

    I have a phobia about “then” and “than” and people who can’t distinguish between them.

  55. Tracy says:

    Im so happy ive found this website!! everyone i have dared tell thinks im absolutely nuts, and well i think i am to but i just cant help it. The thought of touching one is exactly like this other person i read about, like touching a cochroache or something so dirty and wrong. The plastic ones are deffinately the worst!! When hugging my dad who wore button down shirts i would have to carefully position my face to make sure they wouldnt touch me and also hold my breath so i didnt breathe in air around the buttons. Im so pleased to know im not the only one.

  56. Kate says:

    I feel this exact way. Plastic ones completly gross me out. If I happen to touch one I either have to wash my hands or rub them on something else. Metal ones like on pants are fine, but plastic creeps me out. As a matter of fact, on my marching band uniform there are 2 of them and I make my friend get them for me, but I don’t even like to talk about it to anyone because they gross me out so much. One time at the pool some guy wore a tshirt with them into the pool and his shirt got all wet and it gross me out so much that I got out and sat on the side the whole time while my family swam. I esecially don’t like them when they’re wet and I can’t eat near them. They freak me out, yet I tend to stare at them and if I stare at them too long while I’m eating, my gag reflexes kick in…I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one with this issue. I don’t even like saying the word unless I’m talking about the b*ttons on a machine or computer.

  57. Sally says:

    BREAST FEEDING EXPERIENCES…
    Maybe I’m clutching at straws here but seeing as most people learn fear and this phobia seems to start at very young age; I wonder if there is any mileage in linking it to breast feeding mums, mums that possibly had difficulty breast feeding… hense the unbuttoning to breast feed ones sprog???? Thoughts please…..

    • Sally says:

      Especially as I notice how many people feel sick or cannot eat when faced with a button (quite different to the anxiety felt for ay arachnophobia)??!

    • Elsie says:

      I am eighty-seen years old and have had an intense dislike of buttons my entire life. The breast feeding connection has occured to me as well, as I am put off by that in the same way as I am with buttons.

    • thejigsawkiller says:

      Nah, doubt it.

      I have this phobia and I was never breastfed

    • Koitie says:

      HI, My daughter has a fear of buttons, sometimes she dry reaches while eating if she notices someone wearing them and has an acute sense of smell….perhaps, like someone said, the buttons smell too.
      I don’t think the breast feeding theory is one as I could not breast feed after a breast reduction so my kids were bottle fed.
      Anyone tried being hypnotised?

    • Dave says:

      I’ve had it since age 7 and I wasn’t breastfed.

    • Irene says:

      I always thought it was because I was not breast fed and bottle fed leaning against whoevers shirt buttons while being bottle fed. Where was my mother? She could ” pass me off with the bottle.

  58. Sally says:

    So glad to finally realise I am not alone. Metal buttons fine! Shiney, glass or plastic ones – eugh! My friends laugh about it and I even had to move seats in a restaurant when faced with a large decorative button on the wall infront of me – it put me off my food! Don’t know why it is and I have had the phobia for as long as I can remember. As a small child I wouldn’t wear the clothes with buttons and felt desperately unhappy when my Mum forced me to. My entire professional wardrobe now is full of wrap aroung or hook and eye fastening blouses. It’s amazing how much you can find without buttons when you look hard enough. Ironically I grew up in Birmingham which is known for it’s button making industry and have joked that in a past life I must have worked in one and as a result am sick of the sight of them. I have another fear… of crowds but feel that there is rationalle to this but struggle to find rhyme or reason for the whole button debarcle… London UK

  59. D Fraser says:

    My son is 2 and a half, I first noticed his button phobia a year ago. I have no idea where it has come from and can only think it is some sort of innate fear. Like many of you, he will tolerate a jean metal button but I have now learnt not to buy anything with plastic buttons and have warned his grandparents not to buy anything with buttons. I do know of one other person who has his phobia but thought it was a bit of a joke, I now know otherwise. My little boy does tolerate buttons on our clothes and my husband did get him to kiss his shirt buttons the other day. I think we will have to make sure he can tolerate other peoples buttons even if he chooses never to wear them himself. If anyone else has any ideas as to what I can do to alleviate his phobia then I’m all ears.

  60. Kazanne says:

    I am now 44 years old, all my life I have hated the look and feel of glass & plastic buttons. They make me feel sick to look at and to touch them makes me feel like I want to be sick. My Mum used to have a box with loads of different buttons. When asked to get this for her I would feel total dread and fear. Todays fashion of having buttons as decorations on cards and clothing is hard. If friends have buttons on their clothing for decoration I just find myself staring at them in total horror. I can however like a lot of people cope with jean buttons which are metal and not shiny and smooth. I also hate glass beads and anything like that.
    Kaz x

  61. Sarah says:

    I absolutely HATE them so much. cannot touch them without felling odd, every time i think about them it feels like there is one in my mouth. I hate it and would do anything to get rid of it. Please help me. I keep this phobia a secret because some of my friends make fun of it and it upsets me. Everyone who knows wants to know why i am scared of them. I don’t know why I have this irrational fear but it creeps the hell out of me. If you share the same opinion then follow me on twitter. @TeamMusexx thanku xxx

  62. Mak says:

    Wow, i had to stop myself from reading this. I could feel my skin crawl. It is so ever nice to know that there are people who have a phobia of buttons. The thought of it makes me what to vomit. I can wear a shirt with buttons but it has to be BRAND NEW and if the button falls off well too bad it aint going back on and i have to use the vacuum to clean it up. I WILL NEVER pick up loose buttons. Its just not buttons its all small plastic or metal things. like beads or just little things. ESP SECOND HAND *vomit*, forget vintage clothing with buttons *vomit*.
    I get teased amongst my family plenty but when they try to annoy me with the button they see my temper rise.
    Well just happy to know im not the only one.
    I remember once in year 3 at school the teacher came out with a bucket filled with buttons and asked us to do art work, I REFUSED. I could not touch one nor go around one.

  63. Borb says:

    * should say *as YOUR issues
    not and

  64. Gerwin says:

    I’m glad that we don’t have to wear uniforms to school in The Netherlands.

  65. Robyn says:

    I feel normal now. I’m 12 and am sick at the site of them. I don’t mind metal ones like on jeans but plastic ones with holes in are awful. They are hideous and huge and ugly. I didn’t know it was a real phobia and I hate buttons and imagine what it would be like to actually like them. Since a buttoned shirt is required uniform for school I’ve got used to small ones but refuse to wear any other clothes with the horrible b’s on…..BAN BUTTONS!!

  66. fernan says:

    Nice to see that I am not alone. I am a 47 years old Costa Rican. My disgust for buttons became evident the first day of school: I destroyed the shirt and went under the bed. I want to vomit is a see a buttom, specially if it in the floor or hanging from a thread. If I know there is a button sitting somewhere in the room where I am, I cannot have peace. I also hate small coins, actually I throw them away or give them to my wife. I use shirts, but cannot use or support to see those that use buttons for a “decorative” purpose. The strange thing is that my mother and a cousin have the same phobia., probably an ancestor choked with one. Thanks

  67. Ellen says:

    I can’t believe how many people have this problem! My mom had a total aversion to loose buttons, although if they were attached to clothing she was okay. It was my job to sew loose buttons back onto stuff because my mom just couldn’t bring herself to do it. We all assumed she was the only person in the world with this issue. Maybe it’s related to a fear of insects???

  68. Susan says:

    I am so thrilled to find this information. Since I was little I have Hated buttons. I am still teased to this day by my family. I can’t eat if they are in my sight and if I have to touch on….well it is all over.

  69. Tony says:

    Sigh of relief; just like everybody else I thought I was alone in the world. I was always disgusted by them clear buttons with holes, especially the small white clear one; and to make things my paternal uncle came to live with us – this guy was a tailor and used to leave buttons scattered around the house. Most times I would throw up, others I wouldn’t go home from school until late night: I never told my parents about it because I thought I was weird. You guys can’t imagine how happy I am to read this post…phew :)

  70. Halston says:

    I’m 12 years old and I absolutely HATE buttons! I don’t know why, but my brother who Is now 21 was like me too. He didn’t start wearing them until 7th grade. I’m in 6th grade, and I hate them. I do have to wash my hands after touching them. The clear plastic ones don’t bother me as bad. Ever since I was like 2 or 3 and aware of them fully I hated them. I would kick scream and fight as long and as bad as I could to avoid wearing them. I can’t believe this is real. I’ve always checked the Internet for someone like me but never found anything until now. Everyone in my family is fine with them now. Except me. I don’t mind hugging someone with them on though. I have always hated to talk about “THEM” or some reason and I guess I was born like this. I HATE HATE HATE jeans! The metal ones are the worst for me. Like someone has already said clothes are soft and warm. They’re not meant for cold hard, naughsty, and ugly BLAH! I just hate them and I feel like the odd one. I always have a hard time finding clothes. I’m very picky, it’s not my fault though. I don’t want to be. I hate clothes with the waffle nit stuff. I hate clothes with the sewn on designs you can feel through the shirt. The only clothes I wear everyday going somewhere are ALWAYS sweatpants and a T-shirt. I hate polos and thinks like that. I hate zippers on clothes except for jackets. I wear a jacket all of the time. Zippers are fine on bags that doesn’t bother me. The thing that bothers me most though Is jeans, yuck. I just HARE them with a passion! Me and my brothers will only understand. Everyone else doesn’t! My life is too complicated with clothing. I might just go naked. Haha, they need a cure. My brother wears them now though. I hope I get over it but I also don’t want to because then I’ll deal with them. Ew…

  71. Wendy says:

    My grandson would not wear clothes with buttons on them and would say that he doesn’t like buttons. My daughter would gradually encourage him to wear some shirts with just a few buttons down from the collar. Just today his brother who is 2 and a half wanted to wear an anklet of mine that is made of shells but it does up with one button. While his brother was wearing it my grandson who doesnt like buttons who is 4 and a half said to me ” I don’t like that ” and pointed to the little cream coloured button on the anklet. Just out of curiosity I thought I would look it up and I am so flabagasted at the number of comments about the fear of buttons and that there is even a name for it. Thank you all for the info!! Very very interesting. I am hoping it won’t be so serious for my grandson.

  72. Nora says:

    Wow! So many people have what I have! I love finding what sets people off that also sets me off about buttons but what I really want to know is what causes it. I really want to know because me and my little sister sister both hate buttons but not our youngest little sister. My mom thinks it was because my dad used Yo hug us really hard when we were babies and he’d be wearing dressy shirts with buttons and they hurt us, my dad on the other hand jokingly blames the food my mom ate while pregnant which I know nothing of What she ate. So it has to be one or multiple/all of three things. It could be genetic(my sister and I both have it), learned(my sister may have learned it from me), or brought on by traumatic experiences(could be the same experience that made me and my sister have this horrible hatred).

  73. Maddy says:

    It’s nice to know this is more common than expected, my brother constantly winds me up about this, he tells all of his friends who find it rather amusing to chase me around. I’ve never told any of my friends because it seems so ridiculous, they make me go all shivery and the thought of one being near my face or mouth makes me feel incredibly sick!

  74. Beth Smith says:

    So glad I’m not alone in this either.. I’ve been mocked and ridiculed for 16 years of my life for this, nice to know there’s more B***** haters out there. People in school know about my phobia, some throw B*****s at me, I have had many hidden in my school locker, however today was the worst…a boy superglued B*****s all over my pencil case, my ruler, my calculator and my highlighters; everyone at school laughed, no once could understand why this repulsed me.
    Secondly another thing I find is that if someone sitting at the dinner table is wearing a plasitcy 4 holed B***** than if I notice that it, I wouldn’t be able to finish my meal as I feel like i’m going to chunder.

    I’m glad I’ve found people alike, I thought I was alone with this fear!

  75. Katie says:

    At last! I find them really disgusting even just to think about, and I’m only 15! If I accidently touch one, I have to wash my hands or touch something else and if I accidently see one then I have to look at something else very different. I unfortantly have to wear a school shirt which is horrible but I leave done up almost to the top so I don’t have to touch those disgusting things. Like everyone else, I’m fine with it on my jeans, as I don’t look at them and just leave them done up all the time so I don’t have to touch it.

  76. Irene says:

    OMG! And I thought I’m the only one in th world that has a button phobia! Like most of the entries here, I’m disgusted on the pastic ones but not the jeans buttons. I hate the loose button lying around, it gives me goose bumps everytime I see them! If I touch it accidentally, I have to wash my hands immediately. Is there any cure?

  77. Muzz says:

    I’ve suffered with this my whole life. Some friends will buy my kids a shirt or baby clothing with buttons on it and it will never be worn. Thankfully my wife is supportive and has gotten rid of all her clothes with buttons on them (although she wore a jacket with big buttons on it to our first date – luckily she was very beautiful so it counteracted that somewhat). At first she told me just to get over it, but then I told her it was just like her fear of looking at a handful of worms and she got the picture. I once knew a girl who was afraid of the kind of pattern that the surface of the moon makes, so I would say everyone has something. But I digress.

    Have any scientific studies been done on the other behavioural symptoms koumpounophobia people have? Would be a great thesis topic for someone because I’ll bet you’ll find all us koumpounophobia folk have similar “other stuff” going around in our heads.

    For example, I have:
    1) been through three months of stress related anxiety because I like to do everything just “right”. Went to hospital twice before they worked out it was just my head doing my body in. Now I’m fine, (thanks for asking).
    2) possibly mild aspergers, where I love everything technical and computers to the point of being obsessive. I tap my feet absently and like to fold my legs under which is also a sign of aspergers. But other than that I’m pretty normal.
    3) addictive personality, where I have a tendency of not being able to quit something. (luckily I noticed this early and able to avoid things like drinking, gambling, drugs etc).
    4) Very sensitive about the cleanliness of my hands. Wash them both before and after toileting. Wash them after touching anything.
    5) Have trouble sleeping because brain always ticking over. Very sensitive hearing.

    I’ll be very pleased in 2020 when buttons have died out and everyone only uses zips!

    • Sally says:

      Yes I think it’s all linked somehow, I hate buttons and have OCD and ADHD; I hate labels but they all seem to come as a package. I chose to do CBT with a counsillor hoping to find answers and the only conclusion I’ve come up with so far is that they are all linked to an inate fear of… wait for it… common fear of… rejection. Still can’t place the buttons in the theory thought. Incidentally I knew when one of my ex boyfriends had lost interest in me because he turned up to meet me wearing a cardigan with huge buttons Aggh!

  78. melisa says:

    hey…….. try watching coraline the movie,its about a girl in a world of boredem her parents all the time busy and while exploring the house she discovers this mysterious door and goes and opens the door but finds nothing but a brick wall.finally when the night comes she actually finds out that there is another world through that door and finds everything better but dosen’t know that her other mother is a trap and that she took her parents.and in exchange she wants to sow BUTTONS ON HER EYES. so she must be brave to confront her.
    SO WATCH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  79. melisa says:

    but what makes every one so scared of buttons. do they scare you for a specific reason or what?
    i have a friend scared of any thing that is circle shaped,espically BUTTONS.

    • Dave says:

      They are not scary the way a poisonous spider might be. They are repulsive, and having a bunch of repulsive shiny lumpy things stuck to my clothing is nauseating and embarrassing. At least that’s how it affects me.

    • Dan says:

      They do not cause fear, but rather the feeling of discomfort and distress. It feels like if there is a loose button around, the whole space is defiled because they are so ugly and the focus of attention. Clean buttons on clothers (not loose ones) do not cause as much distress, but they are still not pleasant to look at.

  80. Dakota says:

    Whenever I buy a new pair of pants, I always tear the button out.. I always tighten my pants with a belt..

  81. Kim says:

    My son, who is 2 1/2 years old has a real fear of buttons. Of course he can’t express why he hates them so much but he has a clear physical adversion to them. He even tells me he doesn’t love me if I am wearing them…and insists that I take off my shirt or sweater. He’s even said before, “I love Nana, she doesn’t wear buttons”. My daycare provider has asked what she can do to differently. Since I don’t know how this fear started, I feel at a loss for how to advise her. He’s now already savy at scoping out a crowd to see who is wearing buttons and will avoid them.

    • Greg says:

      Hello Kim,
      it might be worth trying exposure therapy. I was about that age when I started disliking them and I carried it on into adulthood. I started out wearing buttoned shirts with an undershirt (for my sisters wedding) and then gradually moved onto wearing them without an undershirt. I am by no means cured and I still feel uncomfortable wearing buttons but I can if the situation requires it :)

    • Kim says:

      That’s a good idea about the undershirt thing. His daycare provider had him make a “button wreath” at Christmas time and he did fairly well with that..but it needs to be on his terms..if people wearing buttons approach him, that’s when he’ll run away or start crying.

    • amgine says:

      I have a photo of myself as a baby that shows how unhappy I am when I’m forced to wear a cardigan. It’s very clear to me that I’m happy when I’m not in the cardigan, as soon as it’s put on me I’m miserable! I’m 50 now and I still don’t like them but it hasn’t ruined my life, instead of cardigans I wear pullovers.

  82. jon j says:

    I too suffer from this, have done from as far back as i can remember. My mother, two brother’s and now my daughter are affected by this. Strangly enough my other brother and sister are not. Christmas and birthday’s are the worst, opening a present with one eye opened in-case there is some big brown ‘badboy’ staring back at me !!!!

  83. dee says:

    I am a 67 year old woman who has hated buttons all of my life, but have ony just discovered that there are other sufferers. I am not too bad with covered or metal buttons but my worst hate of all is single breasted buttons on a coat or dress. I can cope with double breasted buttons. Does anyone else have this problem?

  84. Aliona says:

    OMG! I’ve always thought that I’m the only person in the world who dislikes buttons. I’ve hated them since my early childhood. I cringed at small mother-of-pearl buttons on pillow-cases, couldn’t look at plastic ones on shirts, and hated touching bright fruit-shaped abominations on the dresses my grandma made for me. Fortunately, now I’m not as squeamish about buttons as I used to be. I tolerate them on my clothes but I still get cold shivers down my spine when I see a loose button in my sewing box or on the floor. I can’t explain why I dislike them, and it’s the only phobia I have.
    I’d like to say THANKS to Greg for this topic and to all who shared their stories – you’ve helped me a lot.
    And, yes, Jaws and Freddie Krueger are cute kittens to me. Coraline, on the other hand, makes my hair stand on end.
    BTW, as English is not my native language, the word ‘button’ sounds OK to me. I found unpleasant its equivalent in Russian ‘pugovitsa’, though.

  85. Shelby says:

    Oh my gosh… this is so amazing. I was afraid I was the only one! I do hate the b-word. I hate looking at them, it stings my eyes and stresses me out. Especially small shiny ones. I can’t touch them. Ever. Never by clothes with them either. It was also mentioned that it can also relate to phobias of anything resembling in size or shape, and that is also a stressful thing to me! Like… dimes, b-words, little pieces of food or plastic, I just can’t do it. And earings. I can’t stand to see them laying out. I try not to act so disturbed when I see these things to avoid embarrassment, but I always have to cover it up with a tissue or push something in front of it so it’s out of my sight. I just can’t believe it, this is so amazing that others have an understanding of this. I feel less strange.

  86. Bridget says:

    i’m not the only one! ahahah

  87. jess says:

    I thought i was the only one, i thought i was mad myself but i cant say the word i cant read it ewww its making me cringe jus thinking about it. I get taken the mick out of it all the time and i get asked why im scared of them, and i dont know there not normal! is all i can come up with. But as a fashion designer its a pretty wierd thing to be scared of!

  88. sarah p says:

    I have had this phobia for 28 years thinking I was the only one as a kid, until my great aunt who i had never met had turned up to the UK from Canada and had exactly the same thing it was so nice to finally have someone in my family who agreed I wasnt crazy!

    I completely agree with everyone the plastic ones are the worst. but Jeans are ok.

    I think the worst thing for me is shopping when you accidently touch something with them on, Or visiting a museum with really old clothes which partly too makes me feel sick.

    I cant even say the word with out feeling sick.

    but glad to see im not alone!!

  89. j.j. says:

    this is amazing! i always thought i was the only one, and now it feels so much better to not be! i have the same story as everyone else, the plastic ones with the string make me gag and feel sick to the stomach. i wonde why we all feel this repulsion to buttons. for some reason i feel like this isnt psychological, because for a lot of us its not a fear, were just grossed out. maybe something went haywire and its programed in us to feel grossed out. like an instinct or something. i dont know, i just hope we can find answers someday.

  90. charlotte says:

    I’m so glad I have found this website as I am sick of being called a liar even the thought of plastic buttons makes me want to be sick I have been bullied and tormented for years about this even to the extreme of a teacher humiliating me in front of the class because he said it was just an excuse to not wear my blouse in which he wrang my mum in front of the class on loud speaker !! my mum went mad as over the years she has come to realise I really do have a phobia some people need to get a grip so selfish I’ll never forget that day!!

  91. Coco says:

    My daughter has this phobia too. As a very small child she cringed at buttons. I had to get her clothes with no buttons or put on fancy ones in the shapes of planes, phones, ladybirds etc. She’s now 38 and still hates them. The phrase ‘cute as a button’ makes no sense to her at all.
    She, like most others, finds it is the kind with 2 or 4 holes in them that she can’t bear; she’s not too bothered by the kind with a loop on the back and no holes visible when sewn on.
    I used to find my mother’s button box a thing of fascination, with its big variety of them and I liked the feel of running my fingers through them, to my daughter, the box is a thing of horror and she would not look at the contents, let alone touch them.
    I always wondered if people’s buttons dug into her when she was tiny and sat on their knees with her head against their chests; perhaps she hated the feel of shirt and cardigan buttons on her face and the phobia arose from that. I’m just guessing, though. If that was the case, it doesn’t seem such a strange phobia, as one can see how it might begin. She has a friend who is phobic about tomato seeds, so button phobia isn’t the only unusual phobia and I bet that girl’s not alone in her horror of tomato seeds. I’m a blood/injury phobic (my daughter is too) and have acrophobia (fear of falling/heights), so I suspect everyone has at least one, even if they don’t come across the thing much, so don’t even realise it.
    One really big problem with koumpounophobia, though, is getting your tongue around its troublesome, long and weird name!

  92. Mac says:

    I am just finding this insanely identical to a close friend of mine. I am genuinely annoyed at myself now for ever doubting her and being inconsiderate to her phobia. I am amazed at how much this website has helped me and I hope it helps her too!!

    I just want to point out that I find it incredibly unusual (not freaky, just different) that SO many of you have detailed a phobia of plastic buttons. I really think this needs to be looked into, as I find it so interesting that they are viewed as different to the buttons on jeans (that most of you have expressed are ‘fine’).

    Good luck to all!

  93. Aaron says:

    i watched it with one eye open, like you, i hate the plastic onces, yuk, sick nasty! urkgh..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQC0QVXa33o

  94. Ella says:

    Wow, I’ve never seen a site with so many people like me…… I feel so strange.

    Does anyone else feel like… disgusting…. when they need to wear them? Or like no one would like you if you’d wear them?

    I’m not extremely afraid, and I have the plan to go shopping and just try on a lot of clothes with buttons on them. Would that help? Can I get used to them and live a normal life?
    I just want to be normal. Not that we are all not normal right now, but I just want to be able to wear clothes with buttons. WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY HEAD, WHY CAN’T I LIKE THEM?

    I haven’t told it to anyone, ever. It’s so hard to have this secret, I’m ashamed and I am so afraid for someone to find out.

    • rick says:

      Dont be ashamed, I cant stand the site of them. I dont mind a womans silk or satin blouse if they are covered ones, but the plastic ones…gross..

    • amgine says:

      I can cope with the procedure but I have to go into a temporary mental state and disassociate with the process. I can do this as long as the procedure doesn’t take too long. Therefore, I wash and iron clothes with everything pre-fastened.

      I can’t wait until my husband retires and I can burn all his shirts.

  95. Wendy says:

    I am exactly the same. I thought I was on my own till someone on Noel Edmunds Mr Blobby show went on there and Noel cruely made him watch those London Easteners in their clothing covered in white buttons. That poor guy was gagging, and I identified with the feeling. Its not a funny thing. Its a fear that grips the stomach and I gag and vomit when I am forced to hold a button. I wear clothes without them, and cannot abide seeing good clothing have buttons attached for decoration. My phobia started when I was about 5, I cannot remember an earlier time, but I remember telling a friend that I didn’t ever want boy children because of the white knickers they wore with those sickly white buttons. Its good to know that there are others like me, but I can only assume the problem lies in some past life, maybe we were forced to swallow buttons? I do not know, but seem to have an inkling that it has its roots in something like that. When my children had school shirts, they were never unbuttoned from new to ragged, even through washing and ironing, in fact ironing them made me feel really ill having to guide the iron around the buttons, more often than not I swept it straight over the top of them. Even the word button is making my throat tighten just writing about it. Brrr horrid little things!

  96. Kevin says:

    Im so glad to find this site …. most of the above story’s reflect my situation , Im 30 now and the problem is still as bad as it was at 3 years old.
    Its fine with certain metal ones (jeans etc) but plastic ones really make my skin crawl …school was torchure, polo shirts were the uniform and it made me ill everyday … i didn’t ware polo shirts at school as i always had an excuse of some kind to avoid it …. now polo shirts are every where i go sadly …. my girl friend thinks it’s funny but she doesn’t really understand what i go through every day

    Down with b*tton’s .

  97. Anna says:

    Oh thank you for this website. I am so glad I am not alone. Everyone around me thinks I am crazy, including my mother. She thinks that it’s just something that i came up with to be different or something. But to me, wearing or seeing something with plastic buttons is equivalent to wearing or seeing vomit. I tried different ways to get over my phobia, including forcing myself to wear button-down shirts (yes, I tried to put it on and off without touching the buttons), but it did not help. The whole time I am wearing the shirt, it feels like I am wearing something with vomit on it. And if I see someone wearing something with buttons while I am eating, I instantly lose appetite.

  98. danielle says:

    I have this not really fear but just overall disgust with the b word. It’s not as bad as when I was a kid but I still just don’t like them. I’m not really sure what caused this but my mom is kinda mean and impatient and my sisters say when she dressed me in shirts like that she’d get really frustrated and just yank them over my head and they’d scrape over my face so maybe that’s what started it all. i don’t know but i was really really shocked to see that other people are the same way.

  99. Fajar says:

    Me and my sister aren’t alone now!!

  100. Shana says:

    My son has been afraid of buttons since he was just a tot. We have always thought it was really strange! He also doesn’t like zippers, jewelry or for a girl to have her nails painted. I am so glad to hear that he’s not alone! He too will only wear buttons if he has a shirt underneath the buttons. We have made him wear buttons before without a shirt underneath and he would bring a small blanket or something to cover his chest and would curl up in fetal position and go to sleep. I’m definitely interested in learning more about this. I hope someone can help better educate us. Thanks for posting guys!

  101. Grace says:

    My daughter is 17 and has disliked buttons since she was a tiny girl almost as soon as she could identify them. She will tollerate buttons on school uniforms and jeans and shorts if it is just to hold them up and they are subtle but no other clothing in her wardrobe has buttons on it and she notices them everywhere especially if they are big and bright…we will be shopping and she will ALWAYS make some comment about someones buttons…I dont think it causes her anziety at all and I hope it doesnt turn into that. We make light of it and she doesnt mind if other people wear buttons but only they are not gross ones. So dont worry anyone your not the only ones :)

  102. fjavfdnk says:

    I have this too, so happy to know theres other peoople out there too!

  103. valera says:

    And how to beat this phobia? I’m 22, most likely I’ll never find a girl, it’s sad, because with such a phobia, only 1 person in 75 thousand. Maybe try a hypnotist?

  104. Please come and join our facebook group. There’s people there who need support :)

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2408469420

  105. HANNAH says:

    I HATE buttons especially the one’s that only have one thred in it and i never wear them .I think they look horrible and i am the only one in are family that’s having one.

  106. Nobuttons says:

    So glad I’m not alone. My daughter thinks I’m crazy as I’ve actually expressed my dislike of buttons – something that I’ve never told anyone before. I can’t bear to see necklaces made out of buttons or large (completely useless) buttons on clothing. If I ever buy a piece of clothing that has even the tiniest “decorative” button on it I cut it off and keep contact to a bare minimum. I never touch the buttons on shirts – I put them on over my head already buttoned and the buttons have to blend in with the material so I don’t notice them – can’t stand a black shirt with white buttons for example. And yes, plastic buttons are the worst. I can handle metal buttons, strangely.

  107. Sabrina says:

    I am glad I am not the only one – people look at me wierd when i say i hate to touch buttons or even look at them, if i accidentally touch one i wipe my hands off and have to wash them straight away. I am ok with metal buttons on jeans its just plastic ones, i dont know what started off the phobia but I have had it for as long as I can remember.

  108. Jonathan says:

    I don’t like buttons at all. Now that I read this website, I feel normal for once. I can’t touch, especially animal shaped ones. My fingers twitch at the sight of them, and I can’t even look at them without gagging. This website had made me realize that I am not alone. Thanks gregolody.net!

  109. Ana Andrade says:

    As I read the other’s stories, I am amazed that I have finally found other people just like myself.
    There is no reason to recount my story, because it is exactly the same word for word. I am 50 years old and I still feel just as grossed out as ever. I can’t even stand to look at cheerios or a can of spaggeti o’s. I just wonder what causes this phobia. South Dallas

    • rick says:

      youre not alone, i wont eat cheerios or spagettiO’s either,, lol too funny…whats worse i the damn buttons on the short sleeve top, or ugggg those tiny ones on a man dress skirt, on the collar…i will never wear one

  110. Jenny says:

    Thanks for this. I’m not alone! :razz:

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Koumpounophobia"
  1. [...] Koumpounophobia: fear of buttonsEvery heard the saying “cute as a button” – not so for koumpounophobics. Koumpounophobia is a fear of buttons and can also extend to similarly shaped things like discs, coins, etc. Here, one sufferer tries to explain their fear: “I have an intense phobia of buttons (I find it very difficult to say the word or even type it). If I touch one by accident, eg. in a clothes shop, I can feel my heart suddenly jump and sometimes I feel like I’m going to be sick. If there are clothes lying around anywhere, I will always arrange them so that there are no buttons showing anywhere. This phobia is a huge problem for me, as it affects my whole life. If I have to go somewhere where I would have to wear a shirt (e.g. a smart night-club), I will just not turn up pretend I can’t go because I’m ill or something. This thread is full of people who suffer a fear of buttons. [...]

  2. [...] lijd aan een (mijns inziens) ernstige vorm van Koumpounophobia. Gelukkig bestaat er een engelstalig wetenschappelijk (lees: deftig) woord voor want dat betekent [...]

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