In Real Life
is an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme fear of blood. Treatments exist, but the condition tends to be lifelong and is usually caused by childhood trauma.
In fiction, being Afraid of Blood is much the same, though the symptoms tend to run a rather more colorful gamut from mere extreme discomfort or nausea to falling unconscious
on the spot to awakening superpowered evil sides
. Note that there is some scientific basis to this: physical reactions uncommon in most other phobias have been recorded in cases of fear of blood.
In the past, this trope was mostly associated with females
, in both fiction and real life, which is why most Damsels in Distress
share this condition (good thing there's No Periods, Period
). In the present, this trope is usually Played for Laughs
(or — with equal effort — for tragedy) by giving it to someone in a medical profession or other position where they're likely to see a lot of blood. If the character is justified in being afraid of blood, perhaps they fear The Power of Blood
Subtrope of Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?
. Compare Afraid of Needles
and Afraid of Doctors
. Contrast Hemoerotic
and Blood Upgrade
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Anime and Manga
- Ako Izumi from Mahou Sensei Negima! is an example of this trope being Played for Laughs: the class health representative and an aspiring nurse, yet deathly afraid of blood. In the original manga it's not played for laughs; it's implied to be an emotional scar from some sort of accident in her past (that also left her with a large scar across her back). At one point, she gets a small scrape on her forehead and when she realizes she's bleeding, she goes lightheaded and faints.
- Princess Tsunade from Naruto was another example of a blood-fearing medic, though the phobia started long after she became a medic — when her little brother Nawaki and her fiancé Dan died in front of her and she couldn't do anything.
- Gaara had this problem as well, not blood in general, but his own blood. Up until his fight with Sasuke, Gaara's protective sand made it so he'd never been injured in his entire life. Seeing his own blood for the first time didn't rest well with him.
- Naga from Slayers, as a result of watching her mother get killed before her eyes, so the bloodshed she saw gives her post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.
- Winner Sinclair of Karin, which can make his vampire hunting a little difficult.
- Being avatars of peace and harmony, the kirin in The Twelve Kingdoms aren't just afraid of blood (becoming faint or woozy just from the sight or smell of it,) they're physically weakened by it. Even suffering a tiny cut will incapacitate one from contact with its own blood.
- Excel from Excel Saga is mortally afraid of needles, and feels faint at the sight of her own blood. She's become desensitized about other people's blood due to Hyatt's influence, however.
- Seiya, the sidekick of Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, is a male example but is still Played for Laughs. He's lived his whole life in a hospital, but can't stomach the sight of the stuff.
- Inspector Misao Yamamura from Detective Conan.
- In a filler arc from One Piece, Dr. Kobato is deathly afraid of blood. Tough luck, all the other doctors of the base she works in were gone by the time the arc began, forcing her to treat patients herself, even though she's just a pediatrician. Thanks to Chopper and Nami's help, though, she gets over it.
- Ryuhi Kin from Ashita no Joe, due to an incident in the Korean War where he killed his father by mistake, and as a result he becomes weak at the sight of it.
- In Apocalypse Alice, Gunjou, when afflicted by the Labyrinth Disease, is weak to blood. It's implied that it's because she hates watching people die.
- Parodied in a The Far Side comic, where one of "the king's men" faints at the sight of yolk.
- In the comic book of The Mask, one character who goes after the Mask is a mob sniper who can't stand the site of blood. He manages to shoot The Mask (which does nothing because of his powers), but the Mask still makes a big show of the injury, only to pull his hands away causing a drop of blood to drip out of the tiny bullet wound. This causes the hitman to faint.
- In The Awkward Adventures of Meghan Whimblesby, blood triggers nausea in Meghan. She may vomit, or cry tears. For comedy, blood appears several times. In chapter 1, Meghan sees too much blood and faints. She wakes inside The Lord of the Rings, not a peaceful setting. Injured fighters, dead corpses, and Meghan's own period all bring blood.
- Played for laughs in Dead Snow, where the character Martin (who is studying to become a surgeon) is afraid of blood.
- Played for laughs in Just Like Heaven, when David is talked through giving someone a tracheotomy by Elizabeth's ghost. After he successfully does this, he asks what something on his hand is. Elizabeth calmly tells him that it's just a little blood and he promptly faints.
- In the movie version of Get Smart, apparently just talking or thinking about blood is enough to get Lloyd to faint.
- In The Three Stooges short "Merry Mavericks", the cowboy hero passes out when he sees blood trickling from an unconscious bad guy's mouth.
- In The Darwin Awards, Joseph Fiennes's character gets demoted from his detective position as he faints at the sight of blood.
- In William Castle's The Tingler, the theater manager's mute wife has an extreme fear of blood, which figures heavily in the story line.
- Another comedy example is El Primo in Juan of the Dead; he's a big immensely strong man who instantly keels over at the sight of blood. He eventually (successfully) starts fighting zombies blindfolded.
- Richmond Valentine of Kingsman: The Secret Service has a weakness stomach when it comes to blood or death and cannot stand to see it despite the fact that he's a supervillain in all but name. When he shoots Harry Hart, he turns his eyes away at the last moment and freaks out about it. In the end, when Eggsey spears him from behind with Gazelle's prosthetic, he vomits at the sight of his own blood.
- In The Finishing School Series, the best friend of the protagonist, Dimity passes out every single time she sees blood. Her brother Pillover is exasperated and derisive of this trait of her.
- Audrey, Wait! features Carol, Audrey's mom, who nearly faints when she walks in on Audrey covered in red nail polish. She gets better when the confusion is clarified. Also the Noodle Incident where Audrey's mom helps Audrey's dad with a pumpkin carving accident, which Audrey describes as "the incident that was almost a pukefest in addition to the other problems".
- Bella from Twilight gets sick from seeing a tiny bit of blood in the first book. It's actually the smell that gets her. She can watch an extremely gory action movie with no problems.
- This trait of hers seems to turn into a forgotten trait by the time of the fourth book - she certainly sees no problem with having to drink blood to stop herself from dying during the pregnancy.
- The book Boo featured a horror novelist who fainted at the sight of blood, as the main character learned when they watched a movie adaptation of one of his books.
- In Janwillem van de Wetering's Grijpstra and de Gier mysteries, Rinus de Gier suffers badly from this problem. This makes investigating homicides awkward.
- Tre in Stuck is horribly afraid of blood, and as a result he passes out at the sight of it on two separate occasions.
- In the Aubrey-Maturin series, Jack laughs at Stephen when the latter questions the former's ability to view surgery. Then the former views surgery and very nearly passes out. It turns out that the heat of battle covers quite a bit. Contrarily, Stephen never shies from anything.
- In James Herriot's books, he occasionally deals with men of the Yorkshire dales who are convinced they can handle anything. Then he starts operating on their pets or livestock and they learn that a difficult calving is not the same thing as cutting it open, snipping away at its bits, and sewing it back up. Herriot rather humorously points out that while the big burly farmers drop at the sight, their wives are more than willing to help him out, without so much as a flinch to be seen.
- In The Shamer Chronicles Nico's afraid of blood after sitting with his family's blood on his hands and clothing for days, thinking that he killed them and not being allowed to clean himself.
- In Septimus Heap, Merrin Meredith's fear of blood probably explains why he reacts so aggressively to being restrained by Nicko in Magyk.
- In Bryan Miranda's The Journey to Atlantis, Mickello gets queasy around human blood. Animal blood doesn't affect him since he hunts for food, but when he is exposed to human, blood, he gets dizzy and almost collapses.
- Inverted with Richard Mayhew in Neverwhere. He shies instinctively from horror movie gore, earning a reputation as overly sensitive, but when he's presented with actual blood from real injuries he is perfectly calm and pragmatic, and has no problem dealing with it.
Live Action TV
- Dexter Morgan from Dexter has this, to the point that his entire career involves interpreting and cleaning up blood. If too much of it is in one location—-say, several murder victims' worth absolutely soaking a room—-he will pass out (or vomit, or both). This is tied to his witnessing the chainsaw murder of his mother when he was a toddler.
- Gus from Psych has a very strong fear of blood:
- In the episode "Tuesday the 17th" Shawn was able to figure out he was being tricked by Gus when his friend casually wiped blood on his pants (which was actually fake blood) instead of the expected reaction to run screaming from the room.
- In "This Episode Sucks" Shawn accidentally squirts the contents of a blood bag on Gus, leading to Gus going into a catatonic state for a short time.
- Hurley from LOST.
- Martin from Doc Martin. Sets up the whole series, as his aversion to blood halts his high-flying medical career in its tracks and causes him to become a GP in a small rural village. He sought therapy to correct it in season 4 and seemed to be over it by season 5, however in season six he started to have problems with blood again.
- An episode of The X-Files called "Blood" contained a man with this phobia. Which makes it amusing and concerning that he's more afraid of the person coming to his house to collect a blood sample for a "cholesterol test" than the appliances in his house that are telling him to kill people.
- In an episode of Hogan's Heroes, LeBeau was shot in the shoulder and they found him unconscious. It turned out to be a very minor wound and he had simply fainted at the sight of the blood.
- Another episode has Klink ordering Schultz to take Newkirk to dentist to treat a supposedly rotten tooth. When Klink orders Schultz to stay with Newkirk every minute even when the dentist is working on him Schultz says that the dentist may have to pull Newkirk's tooth and that he cannot stand the sight of blood.
- An episode of Doogie Howser, M.D. focuses on Doogie helping a young nursing student with her fear of blood. The result? The girl spends the night in Doogie’s room “fantasizing”… with the help of a cute little Survival Mantra he teaches her: "Plasma and platelets and cells, oh my! Plasma and platelets and cells, oh my!"
- Papa Lazarou from The League of Gentlemen is so freaked at one point, he runs out of his own show. Granted, it's probably nosebleeds which he's probably never encountered before, rather than the actual sight of blood.
- This happens twice in Everybody Loves Raymond:
- In one episode, Ray tries to be a man and aggressively fights with Debra over the tweezers in order to remove a splinter from her hand. Then he sees the blood and has to sit down.
- In another episode, Ray volunteers at a hospital, sees some bags of blood, and feels dizzy.
- In an episode of Lie to Me, Lightman proves a suspect couldn't be a serial killer by cutting himself, which immediately causes the man to faint.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Goren demonstrates to Eames a suspect's innocence in a brutal multiple stabbing by cutting his hand and shoving it in the man's face, causing said suspect to briefly and slowly lose consciousness.
- CSI: In the first "Miniature Killer" case "Danny Partridge" is murdered and his kitchen is soaked in blood. The detectives suspect his son, an architecture student with access to scalpels, but he claims he faints at the sight of blood. He later proves it by going on a "tipping table" and losing consciousness.
- In People Like Us, documentarian Roy Mallard passes out at the sight of blood, or even at the thought of it.
- Happens in an episode of Bones where a fanboy of her books is accused of reproducing the murders in her latest novel to come out. He faints after being given a Nose Bleed. A bit of a 'did not do the research' as he was in the pilot episode and had no problems staunching the bleeding leg wound on the murderer after Bones shot him. Unlikely he would have developed a blood phobia after that, when showing no problems at the time.
- The Spanish series Doctor Mateo starts with the eponymous world-famous surgeon suddenly becoming afraid of blood.
- Henry from Sanctuary has a weird relationship with blood. When several wounded refugees are brought in, he is asked to help bandage them but is reassigned when he says, "You know about me and blood." But when he is asked how he'd feel if he came across a dead animal and he'd smell its blood, his pupils dilate—even though he answers "Sad".
- Kari Byron of MythBusters is a surprising aversion. To those unaware, Kari is a (usually) strict vegetarian who is absolutely disgusted by the sight of animal parts and meat in general, and since producers are fond of putting Kari around meat and animal parts just get her reactions on camera, fans are very well aware of this phobia. Which makes it rather surprising when one episode has Kari reveal that she doesn't mind the sight of blood at all, and actually finds it "kind of pretty".
- In Game of Thrones, Renly Baratheon becomes a bit queasy at the sight of blood due to his lack of combat experience.
- Jon and Ygritte have a brief conversation about this trope in which Ygritte points out the problem with the idea of girls fainting at the sight of blood:
Ygritte: Why would a girl see blood and collapse?
Jon: Not all girls are like you.
Ygritte: (smirks) Girls see more blood than boys.
- In Get Some In!, one of the reasons National Service aircraftman Matthew Lilley dreads being assigned to a nursing training course after completing his basic training is his fear of even the mere thought of blood or the other gory aspects of medical treatment, any of which cause him to lose consciousness (though usually with enough warning to give his glasses to someone so that they are not broken in the fall).
- In the TV version of Neverwhere Richard Mayhew states his fear of heights, blood, and rats. Naturally, he encounters all three.
- In The Outer Limits (1995) episode "Living Hell", protagonist Ben Kohler faints at the sight of blood. This is what convinces his doctor that he's unlikely to be the vicious killer whose visions he's been inadvertently receiving.
- On All My Children, Natalie was kidnapped by her sister Janet, who imprisoned her in a well, assumed her identity, and took over her life. The first hint to anyone that something was amiss was Janet freaking out at the sight of blood when her housekeeper cut her hand—Natalie was a nurse and would have been completely unfazed by this.
- Niles Crane from Frasier will automatically pass out if he sees even a tiny little speck of blood. In one episode he accidentally pricks one of his fingers on the sharp point of a pair of scissors, and the drop of blood he sees causes him to faint and reawaken only to notice the small bit of blood on his finger and go through the whole cycle repeatedly.
- Draculaura, the vampire girl in Monster High is a literal Vegetarian Vampire who is so hemophobic, she faints when someone even says the word 'blood'.
- In the Total War series of games, your generals can suffer from this. It makes them less effective battlefield commanders, what with battles involving lots of blood.
- Kurthnaga, the Dragon Prince in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn can't stand the sight of blood. This is more or less used as an excuse to justify him not becoming playable as soon as he joins your party, and he (mostly) gets over it by the end of the game. It also has the effect of rendering him Awesome but Impractical, however, because by the time he does join your other characters are so much stronger than he is you have little reason to use him.
- In Duel Savior Destiny the ninja Kaede has a surprising weakness to the sight of blood. It developed after she saw her parents killed in front of her and she was splashed with the blood, which is a rather dark spin on the idea considering how it's almost always played for humor.
- Ben Paul in The Walking Dead. He faints even when it's not his blood.
- Danganronpa: Touko Fukawa faints at the sight of blood, which causes her alternate personality Genocider Syo to come to the fore. Fortunately, Syo has a very specific MO, and has little interest in killing any of the other members of the cast - except maybe Togami, who both her personalities are obsessed with.
- Cross Channel: The sight of blood triggers Taichi Kurosu's psychotic episodes.
- Ace Attorney:
- Dick Gumshoe can't stand the sight of blood, which is especially odd considering he's a homicide detective. This is lampshaded a few times by characters.
- Dual Destinies introduces Norma DePlume, who is also afraid of blood. Apparently Norma was once attacked during an interview and was badly injured. It helps what she thought was a violent orca attack which resulted in a large amount of blood leave a strong impression on her.
- Hannelore of Questionable Content is not haemophobic per se, but with her OCD it makes little difference; she freaks out when she hits her head on a cupboard door and starts bleeding.
- Abel in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures is, in fact, haemophobic, which causes him some trouble.
- Karkat Vantas of Homestuck is bothered by blood and at one point passes out after seeing a dang lot of it. Bothered mostly by his own. Blood colour is a serious business in troll society, and Karkat kinda got the short end of the stick. That is why he never lets anyone else know what colour his blood is.
- Liam "Brook" Brooks of Survival of the Fittest v4 suffers from this. Sadly, he's also on a Deserted Island and forced to kill his classmates. He's not the least bit scared of it anymore...
- While not afraid of blood outside of a certain context, the Lets Player raocow reveals in the description to this video that he has a rather strong aversion to facial damage (even if done as crudely as in said video), after witnessing an accident in his youth. He also mentions that heavy make-up will sometimes unnerve him in a similar fashion. He also feels uneasy about bones.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: Numbuh Four is hemophobic, fainting at the mere sight of blood.
- Count Duckula is a haemophobic vampire duck. Because Nanny made the mistake of providing tomato sauce instead of blood for his last re-incarnation ritual, he prefers veggies to virgins.
- Donkey in Shrek.
- Chicken Joe from Surf's Up faints at the thought of the sight of blood.
- In 6teen, Jonesy admits he's afraid of blood since he was a kid. He had a nosebleed which "wouldn't stop".
- Tommy from Rugrats develops this phobia after he cuts his finger on a bush and he worries that if he gets injured again all his blood is going to come out, in the end Chuckie helps him get over it and then upon seeing Tommy's bleeding hand Chaz passes out.
- Butters from South Park due to a tapping dancing performance that went horribly wrong and caused many people to die.
- The minor character Sheena on Hey Arnold! is extremely phobic of blood and violence. Served as a small plot point in the School Play episode, as this is how Helga gets her to give up the part of Juliet.
- Dr. Nick Riviera in The Simpsons. In the episode "Homer's Triple Bypass" he passes out during surgery when he sees the blood.
- Bob's Burgers - Bob promptly faints at the sight of blood.
- As a result of growing up in a tannery, in any setting other than a battlefield, Ulysses S. Grant hated the sight of blood to the point that it would drive him in to near-hysterical paralysis. Needless to say, even on the battlefield he always ordered his beef well done. He tried to keep it cool on the battlefield, but inevitably needed a freaking drink afterward...which was unfortunate, because he couldn't hold his liquor, which gave him an undeserved reputation for alcoholism.
- Heinrich Himmler allegedly suffered from this. Ironic, considering, well — you know. The Nazis generally acknowledged this trope. They ordered the gas chambers to the death camps for the sake of being more humane — to the guards, who were suffering from various types of traumas and stress disorders for shooting defenseless civilians by the thousands at that point.
- Eli Roth, believe it or not. In fact, many horror directors known for putting large amounts of gore in their movies are actually hemophobic.
- Sam Raimi, despite making the goretastic Evil Dead movies.
- Ironically enough, Maximilien Robespierre, despite instigating the Reign of Terror, was incredibly hemophobic.
- Charles Darwin was so afraid of blood that he would faint at the sight of it. Needless to say, this meant his father's intended career for him (medicine; both his father and grandfather were doctors) didn't work out so well and he dropped out of medical school and wound up taking a job aboard the HMS Beagle and becoming the most famous biologist in history instead.
- Another ironic case: Clive Barker has described himself as growing faint at the sight of blood.