They’re more scared of you. Rubbish!

As an end of term treat, I decided to cover Behaviourism with the Foundation degree students. It may be a strange thing to say, but they love it because we cover the topic of phobias. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are phobic, but it seems a healthy approach to have in some cases. A snake phobia, where you end up avoiding poisonous snakes, seems a cunning plan. The worst thing for a phobic however, is someone who is not afraid of anything. I am married to such a person. He helpfully comments on my fear of spiders,
‘They’re more scared of you than you are of it.’
Rubbish! Anyone who is scared of spiders will know that if something is scared of you, it runs away. My experience is that the little critters run at me. They sit on walls, where I can see them, watching me in a menacing way. I put it to you these are not the actions of a scared creature. Yes, it is true, that when the non phobic person enters the room they disappear. They can be seen scurrying across the floor to a dark corner. So I understand why these people don’t understand that spiders have it in for me. As soon as they leave the room, it emerges, waving its eight legs at me in jubilation. Yet again I have not been believed.
I used to live in a house with a very hairy carpet in the bathroom. It was a haven for the spider fraternity. As soon as I got into the bath, they would emerge, leaving me stuck in the bath for hours, waiting for them to go away. I would throw books at them, but unfortunately I’m a rubbish shot. I actually had one that was so vicious it actually managed to survive my attempts to crush it with an encyclopaedia.
A friend (I use this word in loosest sense) told me to put horse chestnuts on the window sills, as apparently they hate the smell. They love it. They flocked to my house and actually sat on the horse chestnuts, smiling at me.
Another friend, who had a spider that could carry a rat in its mouth (I kid you not), leant me its shedded skin to desensitise me. It took me three weeks to go near the box with the skin in it. In the end, I left the box by the rubbish bin. My rubbish was not collected for a fortnight. It was heartening to think that even the rubbish collectors don’t like them. As for the friend, I never did go round to his house to visit.
Another approach I have tried, was suggested by my husband. Like behaviourists, my husband believes that phobias are learned. He did not want my sons to learn to be scared of spiders, so I had to act like I loved them. This worked to an extent.
‘Oh look at the lovely spider.’ I would croon as I watched my sons pick them up. ‘Don’t pick them up. It really upsets them.’ I would persuade them to leave them alone. I managed to convince them for a couple of years that I loved spiders. However, last spring my oldest decided that I would really like to hold the enormous one he found in his bedroom. He brought it into the lounge whilst I was writing my book and put it on my knee. He is now under no illusion that I like them and the chapter I was writing at the time was filled with profanities.
I do have a solution now for my spider problem. No, its not hypnosis, or some Psychological approach. It’s cats. My cats love spiders. They like to play with them and then chew them. It’s fab. They’re entertained and fed and I am spider free.

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~ by envisioningutopia on December 20, 2011.

One Response to “They’re more scared of you. Rubbish!”

  1. hahah love this 🙂

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