We do not generally think of Superheroes as having fears, we just concentrate on the heroic aspects of the character.
Quite possibly it is because Superheroes tend to be aliens, or mutations, and nothing like us.
Batman is quite different, and he has no superpowers and is just an everyday human like the rest of us, making it far easier to empathize with him.
Batman has many fears that are always present in the back of his mind. However, there is one fear that stands above all others and is the single most dangerous fear that could stop him from functioning as Batman. Batman has an extreme fear that he could lose himself and no longer be safe to continue.
Fear #1: Bats
We will start with a rather odd fear for Batman, Batman is afraid of Bats, in some ways it is not od I suppose in that many people fear the velvety black creatures that are kinked in so many ways in horror films.
There is a special term for the fear of bats, it is called Chi optophobia.
The general fear is that they will attack and bite and give us rabies or drink our blood.
In the last two years, there has also been an extra connection to Covid to consider as well.
Batman’s fear of Bats goes back to his childhood, as do so many fears when Bruce Wayne fell into a well that contained bats that flew above him.
When Batman was later looking for a costume and identity for his crime-fighting persona, he was looking for something that would strike fear into the criminals.
Because of his memories from childhood, he went with the fearsome Bat.
Fear #2: Killing
The fear of murderers and killers is called Foniasophobia.
Batman is probably one Superhero that avoids killing at all costs.
We can be sure that Batman will do everything in his power to avoid killing the bad guys, however, it was not always so and in the early year’s Batman did not have a strict code of ethics and was often end up killing the bad guy.
He certainly thought little about their welfare.
Batman quite quickly repositioned his views on killing and since then he has gone out of his way to avoid killing anyone.
He has built a moral code around this and has a real fear that being exposed to the worst dregs of humanity that he will break that code and lose respect for life.
Fear #3: Fear of Failure
On the night that Bruce Wayne saw his parent slain by a criminal, he swore an oath that “Never Again” would such a crime occur.
This oath has driven Batman all his life and this oath is so much linked to avenging his parents that Batman is scared that he may fail in his mission.
It is that fear of letting his parents down that makes him keep stretching his effort and pushing on with his mission.
Fear #4: Loss of a Loved One
Bruce Wayne was severely affected by the trauma of watching the murder of his parents at close quarters.
Not just losing one parent, but instantaneously losing two parents has made a deep intact on his life.
Experiencing how easy it is to lose someone you love has given Bruce a fear of losing anyone else he allows to get close to him.
This is the reason why Batman so often operates alone on dangerous jobs and of course, it has had an impact on romantic relationships during his life.
There is always the fear that anyone else he becomes close to will also be taken.
Fear #5: Dreams of the Past
In the story “Dreams in Darkness.” Batman is an inmate of the famous Arkham Asylum, in Gotham City, and is exposed to the fear gas dispensed by the Scarecrow.
This gas prompts him to have repeated flashbacks to the night his parents were murdered.
He is forced to experience that loss repeatedly.
Batman finds this to be so traumatic that he develops a fear of further exposure to the gas and experiencing these dreams again.
Fear #6: Relationships
Over the course of the Batman stories, Batman/Bruce Wayne has had many opportunities for relationships.
Always with the most attractive partners of course.
The problem is that although he enters these relationships, something is always used as an excuse to end them.
With Bruce Wayne being so organized and focussed on other aspects of his life it would seem strange that in this one area, he has such little success in making relationships last.
Bruce’s feelings about losing people that are important to him perhaps have an impact on his commitment level.
Fear #7: Fear of His Parent’s Being Ashamed of Him
Many of Bruce Wayne’s fears are connected to the way he lost his parents.
This one life event has impacted his life in so many ways.
If his parents had not been killed the way that they were, how would Bruce Wayne’s life have panned outs a wealthy young man well established in Gotham City Society?
The playboy that Bruce plays when not being Batman may have become the real Bruce Wayne.
Bruce has built a role around ensuring the death of his parents was avenged and that their death would have been for nothing.
Setting himself almost impossible goals Bruce Wayne has convinced himself that only by being this supreme crimefighter will he be able to prove himself as worthy.
At first, he only thought about catching/beating the criminals and paid little attention to how he achieved his goals.
Leading to a phase where he killed and got the job done by any means.
Then suddenly he stopped and seemed to reflect on whether that would be what his parents really would want.
Bruce Wayne began again with a new moral code that he hoped his parents would approve of and made sure that taking the life of his opponents would only happen in the last resort.
The fear of disappointing his parents was the guiding point in his strategy.
For Bruce Wayne to think that his parents would be ashamed of him would be the ultimate betrayal of his life’s work.
Fear #8: Losing Himself
Now we come to what is Batman’s greatest fear, Losing himself.
Bruce Wayne has focussed on one aspect of his life since his youth.
Bruce has not experienced the casual enjoyment and lifestyle that most teenagers enjoy as part of their development.
No time to focus on the frivolous and fun aspects of life. Instead, Bruce spent his youth training in a multitude of disciplines to become a master in all of them.
We have all witnessed people who are driven to become champions in a sport or rise to the top in a career.
These people put in many hours of preparation while the rest of us are sleeping or relaxing.
These people are only seeking to excel in just one field. Batman has chosen to master many different activities and skills simultaneously.
The level of focus has left no time for living.
All this time trying to prove himself worthy to his dead parents, afraid that he will fail them and not prove himself worthy.
Once he had finished his preparation, he still no real leisure time to forget everything and just chill out.
Instead, he faces a never-ending stream of challenges and new villainous plots to foil.
Failure in any one of these tasks could result in his death or injury,
He has convinced himself that Gotham City and the World need him and that he cannot fail.
They need him to succeed and in proving himself this way, he is proving himself worthy of his parents.
Every day Batman is surrounded by the dregs of society, and he must control his anger at what they inflict on innocent people.
There is always a worry, Batman’s biggest fear, that eventually sheer exhaustion will result in him snapping and moving away from the high standards he has set himself.
Batman fears this event, for he knows that if he moved away from the framework within which he has worked, that he could slide into becoming little better than the criminals that he fights.
He knows that it could so easily happen, and he worries if he would be able to recognize when it happened, or would he justify his actions and slowly bend more and more of his rules.
That is Batman’s greatest fear. He fears that one day he could lose himself.
Almost everyone has fears.
They fear the dentist, they fear rejection, or maybe spiders.
This is part of being human and in most cases, we can compartmentalize those fears and forget about them until the moment comes, we face what we fear.
When we are unable to put those fears away and we dwell on them and make ourselves constantly anxious, then the fear becomes a phobia, and it impacts our everyday life to such an extent that our lifestyle is impeded.
Batman so far has been able to keep his fears in check and continue operating normally.
Imagine if Batman turned down a job because he knows there might be a bat in the home of the villain.
That would be when Batman is forced to retire.