That is a fear of spiders. And I should probably not admit this so close to Halloween.
I’m not always afraid of spiders.
If they are where they belong – outside – I have no fear of them (of course, unless one is crawling on me!). In fact, I am fascinated and admiring of their architectural abilities. Can you imagine building your home from something coming out of your belly button???
And, of course there are the folk tales from Ghana, Africa about Anansi, the trickster spider. He is very self-involved and greedy always trying to get more without adequate compensation.
In spite of these ideas, my fear has kept me from seeing the movie “Arachniphobia” and Charlotte’s Web has never interested me.
The first time I became aware of this fear was when I was about 4 ½ years
old. I am the youngest of four girls. Late one night two of my sisters woke me up from a sound sleep. Our parents were arguing very loudly in the living room. My sisters told me to go into the living room to find out what it was all about.
Now, I am 4 years old and have a very limited vocabulary. These two sisters
were 5 and 6 years older than me (so, 9 and 10). I don’t know what they were thinking, and I was probably thinking something like that as I made my way
down the hall. As I got closer and closer to the living room, I heard only one
voice yelling, my mother’s, and I got more and more scared of the anger behind her voice to the point where I couldn’t understand even one word of what she was saying. I looked back toward the bedroom wanting to return to my safe bed. My sisters were peaking out from behind the door and urged me on leaving me no choice – I knew they wouldn’t let me back in until I had accomplished the mission. They had no idea I was suffering from some kind of aphasia at that moment.
When I finally emerged into the living room, what I saw didn’t seem to match
the loud noise coming from my mother’s mouth. I expected her to be up,
moving around and wildly gesticulating with her arms and hands. The living room was lit by two low-wattage lamps. My mother was sitting in a dining room chair, leaning forward as if she were whispering, but screaming at my father who was seated on the couch, not saying a word, head hanging down. I don’t know how long I stood there before they noticed me. I only know that, at
some point, my mother escorted me back to bed (my sisters pretended to
be asleep), tucked me in and left the room. That night my mother kicked out my father. He never again lived with us, and we never saw him.
It may have been later that night or a night or two later that I suddenly
feared there were spiders under the sheets crawling up to get me.
Why spiders? Spiders build their own homes, for god’s sake. My home, that
night, had been destroyed figuratively and literally, it turns out. I wouldn’t
find out until I was well into adulthood that my father, who was an obsessive
compulsive gambler, had secretly taken out a second mortgage on our
house by forging my mother’s name and then gambled away all the money.
This didn’t really surprise me when I found out. The story had long been told of the night I was born. My father was somewhere in Gardena, California, playing poker (and losing) while my mother’s life hung in the balance. It turns out that, after I was born, she was hemorrhaging badly and needed emergency surgery. The medical personnel couldn’t find him to sign the consent forms. My mother’s sister had to rush to the hospital to sign the consent forms.
My mother obviously survived my father’s Anansi-like behaviors that night. Later on her marriage and our house did not.
Hypnotherapy works with just these kinds of fears or phobias. A fear comes from an actual experience of something threatening to the self or life. A phobia usually has no direct connection with an event. Sometimes it seems to come from out of no where.
Now, arachniphobia has not really affected my ability to function in the world. But, believe me, if it had or if I suffered from another kind of phobia that prevented me from functioning in the world, I would definitely seek out my own services!