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Phobia Of Being Murdered?


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Hi everyone,


I appreciate this forum and everyone on it because I always receive such amazing, helpful advice


I just wanted to put this more dark, troubling worry I have had with me for pretty much all my life on this forum just to get another opinion.


So, here goes, it is a bit strange!


Ever since I was very small, I have had nightmares about being murdered, tortured, killed - however you want to put it, including sometimes my family being hurt or killed in some freak accident.


I realise it's irrational, and it probably doesn't qualify as a phobia (not sure how you really diagnose a phobia), but it doesn't stop this worry or slightly obsessive thought popping into my mind every now and then.


Strangely I have always had an intense fear that the way I would die would be through being murdered. I have an awful fear of dying in pain, whether it be through disease or some other horrific way. I realise the actual chance, statistically, for being murdered in the UK is very very slim, but still! Why won't this worry leave my brain?!


I work as an estate agent and everytime I go to do a viewing I have this slight panic in the back of my mind that the person I meet is going to be a psychopath and try and kill me!


I am a massive Stephen King fan and I have read true crime stories from a very young age - maybe this has affected me in a deeper way than I know? The scariest thing about the real life crime stories is the seemingly normal day the victims had leading up to the murder, and the awful circumstances ordinary girls find themselves in that lead to a living nightmare. It freaks me out!


Anyone going through a similar thing? I would love a second opinion on this. I definitely need a way to calm my nerves and let reality take over the irrational part of my brain.


Many thanks,


- Lolita

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I am his fan too. Same thing, have read his books for years. It has not affected me that way though.

I'm wondering if you should have this addressed as it is affecting you as a 'deep fear'. It should not be consuming so much like it is.

No one really likes the fact we'll all be gone..someday. We have no control over that. Meanwhile you have to try and not let this get to you this way.

I wonder if there's an underlying reason for why you're having these feelings & re-occurring nightmares?


I think best to seek some counselling for it. Before it puts you away and you're overcome with anxiety etc.. not wanting to go out etc.


gd luck

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Hi SooSad,


Thank you for your reply!


I actually couldn't receive counselling as it is so expensive to go private in the UK and the embarrassment of actually going to the doctors to discuss this to be asked to go for therapy on the NHS would be just as bad as the thoughts!


No one I know has been for counselling (it's not really a done thing in the UK, unless you have experienced childhood abuse, sexual abuse, etc). I feel really pathetic actually as I don't feel it's a "real" problem.


I know it's in my head, but that really doesn't help it go away, it's very frustrating.


The underlying reason? I really am not sure. I used to think I wasn't afraid of dying and that it would just be the next adventure or I wouldn't know anything about it, but for the past two years I have had reoccurring fears of dying. I've realised I really don't want to go, I dread the day! And also, I fear my fiance dying before me and being left alone (he's 9 and a bit years older than me).


I'm also quite a hypochondriac and fear getting cancer and those near and dear to me getting cancer.


Oh god, I sound like a right nut case! I promise I'm not! I'm just paranoid about health, death - anything really bad happening.


My Granddad died a year ago, and before then I hadn't known anyone who had personally died. I think at the time, even though I didn't realise it, it kind of hit home that yes, people you love do and will die, and so will you. I'd never been to a funeral before, and I was kind of in a state of shock (or maybe denial) that he had died. My own sister even got mad at me and accused me of being 'cold' and not showing any emotion. It wasn't that I wasn't upset, I was just gob smacked in a way that it had finally happened to someone I knew.


At the same time, I felt a massive surge of appreciation and gratitude for being alive, and I felt a woosh of exuberance that I was still here able to enjoy life.


I sound like a complete loon now, apologies - just trying to be honest. To sum it up, I really don't know why I feel this way or what triggered it, but I do know I have an intense fear of death and that I think about it often.


- Lolita

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I have a similar thing and have for years. I'm a huge Stephen King, True Crime, CSI fan--you name it. In my case I had a personal experience that triggered mine in my early 20s. One I don't really want to repeat, but the way I dealt with the lingering paranoia was to take some really good self-defense classes, not martial arts, but straight up self-defense classes and how to stay safe in general. Also listen to your own intuition always and don't be afraid to appear rude or weird, if someone or something seems off. Additionally what I found helps is to view personal safety and security of your physical person in the same sort of light you view taking care of your health or other practical matters of safety. You brush your teeth and exercise and eat right to make sure you stay healthy, you wear a lifejacket on a boat, and in that same light you should take ordinary steps to remain safe such as not walking into dark alleys or parking garages late at night by yourself while you blithely chat on a cellphone oblivious to your surroundings or leave your doors and windows open and unlocked at night.


The fact is you are responsible for your own personal safety and it is something one can usually control and deal with if you're aware, alert and have prepared for it in the normal manner that we all do or should do. And having a fear of death is a very common one for just about everyone. I'm probably calmer about it than most and it still rattles me and I'm in my late 50s. Unless it's affecting you to the point of you not being able to function I'm not sure therapy would help that per se since I sort of thing someone who isn't afraid of death at all actually has the larger problem. About the dreams I don't know what to tell you, I dream very vividly and they aren't always happy dreams. I just deal with that by watching a comedy and making it a point to surround myself with humor for a day or two. It helps. Also stop reading true crime stories and/or reading news articles about such. A bit of it's not harmful, but if you're anything like me I can get on a roll where I just surf for stories that get worse and worse until I'm a freaking mess. So I just don't do that any more. I'm not about to give up reading Stephen King books though--nothing comes between me and my King!

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I'm not sure what you believe in terms of religion/afterlife but I've heard that people who believe in reincarnation believe that the way you most fear dying is a way you have already died in a past life, making it more of some deep seated memory rather than a premonition. That has brought me comfort and lessened my anxiety when it comes to my own worst fear(s).

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What about hypnotherapy instead of counselling? Probably cheaper & less "stigma" attached ?

I know in Australia they can help with a lot of phobias & worrying issues.


I am a Stephen King fan too, and watch true crime etc, and nothing worried me til I watched a UK series called "The Fall". It was about a stalker that broke into his victims houses & took items of theirs & arranged their underwear on their beds, then came back a day or 2 after to attack them. For some unknown reason this has really affected me too.

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Speaking as someone who has had nightmares and night terrors since I was a small child, even when my life was safe and secure and two parents tucking me in at night, and then someone who developed PTSD in my teens because my fears came to pass...


Possible follow ups..

*check to see if there are any underlying sleep disorders with you. I had/have one: and addressing the sleep disorder often goes hand in hand with addressing the anxiety and fear.

*really watch what goes into your brain and what you expose yourself to. You may be sensitive to start (this isn't a bad thing) and more prone to influence from environmental stimuli. This is very true for me. You may want to cut out the dark stuff; even if you enjoy it, try observing/journalling what you are consuming and exposed to and then what you dream about and how you feel in situations that are sometimes triggering off your feelings. Just like with junk food; if something is bad for you but you enjoy it, sometimes you gotta cut it back to feel and be healthier.

*Your grandfathers death - some of this may be part of your grieving process, and it sounds like you went into shock, so the process was interrupted. I have found personally having experienced an interrupted series of mournings; that this can impact greatly on fear and anxiety levels. Addressing the loss and processing it helps to lessen the fear.


You aren't a loon by any accounts. Most people fear death. And the things you listed. But when the experience is as you describe, it has/is becoming an anxiety and/or sleep issue now. Therapy is the best IMO way to get to the root fast. And I had to learn the hard way. A professional who is familiar with the particular issue at hand can help a lot to give you the tools to get at it most efficiently; you can shoot at it for years on your own, and be even fairly successful, but if you ever find you need/ want a hand with it...I recommend not hesitating and go for it. I had wished I had did it way earlier.


By the way, they know much more about neuroscience and sleep disorders and anxiety disorders now. You don't have to just deal with this on your own if you don't want to.


hope you feel better soon with this.

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Thank you everyone for your kind and insightful responses!


I have read through each one and I feel much better just knowing that some people have felt the same way and that no ones told me to check myself into the nut house


ParisPaulette - Ensuring I feel safe is a good way to calm myself, you're right. I do have very very slight OCD tenancies which try to refuse to indluge too much. Double checking locks and windows and other security issues is something I don't do just because I feel it could develop into a habit I don't want to entertain! Things I do do before I go out to leave for work are making sure my phone is charged (for when I go show someone round a house), making sure I'm saftey conscious at work (get the clients name, number, make them come into the office first so I can get a 'feel' for them), making sure I tell people where I'm going if I'm meeting a stranger and also I've started being more careful and not walking around on a night by myself when I don't need too.


When I was 18 I had no fear, I used to walk home from the bar job I had in college at 3am in the morning with no one around through an empty high street to my parents estate. Now, doing that, I would be freaking out!


Shellyf62 - I may consider this as an alternative option to therapy, thank you


itsallgrand - I do think I simply thought I couldn't get upset. My parents and sister and especially my mums side of the family are all very dramatic, over the top emotional people ( they should be Italian ) so I think at the time I felt like I had to be composed and hold it together for them. It was surprisingly easy and I think eventually that made me feel guilty. I think part of the reason why I can't let his death go is that I wished I'd seen him awake and said goodbye properly before he went. I did visit, but he was asleep and I never came back again when I knew I should of. Always concerned about my busy life and I feel exteremly bad because of it. I know when I was very young he was very fond of me and he actually was the one who sparked my love and interest in plants and gardening (he had a huge garden with a vegetable patch which he let me help him out in).


As for sleep disorders, I am really unsure. I know for a fact I am always very groggy on waking (sleep inertia?), but apart from that, I have always been able to get to sleep fine - I normally sleep like a baby!


- Lolita

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I'm not sure what you believe in terms of religion/afterlife but I've heard that people who believe in reincarnation believe that the way you most fear dying is a way you have already died in a past life, making it more of some deep seated memory rather than a premonition. That has brought me comfort and lessened my anxiety when it comes to my own worst fear(s).


Savignon, this is an interesting point.


I did used to be religious (Christian), as my parents are strong Methodists and brought me up to say my prayers everynight, etc. When I believed (up to the age of about 14), I was never really comforted by the thought of an afterlife. Infact, I didn't even give it much thought. I was always too stressed and paranoid about the fear of hell!


Now I am an atheists and I can say I couldn't even force myself to believe in any kind of afterlife or reincarnation process. In my opinion, religious or not, there is no relief from the fear of death as really, no one knows, so whatever we believe, we all seem to be in the same boat!


I can imagine it will help some people. I guess the thought of death being painful or fearful is what gets me, not the actual idea of not being here anymore.


I appreciate your insight


- Lolita

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