Phobias are constant, irrational fears that afflict some people. Their fears should be taken seriously. They should never be made fun of or belittled. But, as writers, we can bless (or curse) our characters with phobias and make the story so much more interesting.
What happens if someone encounters the object of their fear? They could feel dread, nausea, or breathlessness. They could sweat excessively or lose the ability to think or speak clearly. They could lose control and become angry. Detachment from reality is a possibility, as is a full-blown anxiety attack.
Pick one of the following phobias and see if you can create a character with ballistophobia, chiroptophobia, or doraphobia. Have fun!
Ballistophobia is the fear of missiles and projectiles. It is also the fear of bullets or of being shot. I can truly understand a fear of being shot. Is there really anyone out there who really has an overwhelming desire for someone to shoot them? This fear goes a bit deeper, though. You don't walk around worrying about being shot, do you? I know the only time I would be fearful of being shot is if someone was standing right in front of me with a gun pointed towards me. But a person with ballistophobia walks around with this fear, even when there are no guns in sight. Would a person with this phobia be able to function normally at any time? Or would the overwhelming fear of being shot keep him from even venturing outside? How would this person manage to hold a job or anything?
Chiroptophobia is the fear of bats. Most people think of bats as flying rodents, but bats are not rodents. They are mammals. Bats are more help to mankind than most realize. They pollinate some plants, and they eat mosquitoes and other bugs. I especially like it that they eat mosquitoes. Anyway, there is only one situation in which a vampire bat would even dare to approach you to lick, not suck, your blood. For this to happen, you would have to be in a country where vampire bats dwell and you would have to be sleeping outside on the ground with part of your skin exposed. In this situation, you may be in danger of having a bat sneak up to you, bite you, and lick the blood that comes out of the wound. Otherwise, you are perfectly safe.
Or maybe you think bats are dirty, nasty creatures. That is a myth. Bats clean themselves just as often, if not more often, than cats clean themselves. The plethora of vampire movies and books have greatly added to people's fear of this flying mammal.
Perhaps someone who has chiroptophobia is so afraid of bats that even the mere mention of them throws them into a full-blown panic attack. How would this person function in the world today?
I wonder, if your character had both ballistophobia and chiroptophobia and he was surrounded by bats, would he overcome his fear of bullets long enough to shoot at the bats?
Doraphobia is the irrational fear of fur. More specifically, it is the fear of the animals that are covered with fur. That not only includes wolves and bears, but also less aggressive animals such as dogs, cats, and beavers. Why do they have this fear? Well, it could be from stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and other stories that talk about fur-covered predators. Some could fear these animals and their fur because of the possibility of rabies.