ANYTHING BUT SPIDERS

I’m afraid of spiders. Not because they are dangerous, though some are. Not because they are poisonous. I’m afraid of spiders because they make my skin crawl. They scare me half to death and it doesn’t have to be a particularly malevolent member of the species. Under the right circumstance — like when I’m sleeping and wake up to find a spider on me — I can actually levitate from fear. Rise right up off the mattress, screaming. Wake everyone in the house.

A friend of mine was attacked by a wolf spider while sun bathing on her patio in Arizona. The thing was the size of a small dinner plate (dessert plate?) and landed on her breast, then proceeded to take a chunk out of her. The pain was one thing. The fear was so intense she promptly sold her house and moved to a place where there are no wolf spiders. I’m with her.

Giant forest scorpian (heterometrus laoticus)
Giant forest scorpion (heterometrus laoticus)

I lived in Israel and did not deal well with scorpions. I am not physically brave. I will take emotional and professional risks, no problem. One garden spider will unglue me.

Do I remember the last time this happened? No. There have been so many times. The best thing about a mindless phobia? You only have to imagine there’s a spider nearby to get your heart pounding, your blood rushing in your ears. It could turn be a bit of dust or dog hair brushing your leg. Or an ant.

It’s the thought that counts.


Fight or Flight – Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

46 thoughts on “ANYTHING BUT SPIDERS”

  1. Live in New Zealand. Our spiders are small. My fear is cockroaches. Last week while binge watching The X Files there was an episode about cockroaches. I just listened to it. Didn’t watch it. I have been known to strip my clothes off when I found one on me.

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    1. My husband is on the same page. Our cockroaches generally don’t visit anything but the bathroom and kitchen and as far as we know, THIS house doesn’t have any … but other places we lived DID. We moved. We had our stuff bombed in the truck so we wouldn’t bring old friends into the new house. Hate the crawly things. Hate them all, actually, but spiders most.

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      1. When we lived in Queens, NY during the late 40’s and early 50’s, the houses were very close to each other. Our neighbors to the left were very nice folks but also slobs. Cockroaches everywhere in their house. They had a TV. We didn’t. We usually declined invites to watch TV.

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        1. Crawling vermin is a bit of a turn off for most of us. It’s the trouble with apartment living. What your neighbor has in the way of bugs, you’ve got too, no matter how clean you are. Glad we don’t deal with THAT anymore.

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  2. I’m with you, Marilyn. I may have mentioned this before, but the reason I’m afraid of spiders is because when I was a child (5 or 6, I think), my dad let my older brothers take me to see the movie, “The Incredible Shrinking Man.” At or near the end of that movie, the now tiny hero has to fight a now humungous spider (a common house spider). I was absolutely terrified, and peeking through my fingers. My brothers thought it was hilarious (both the movie and me). I’ve hated spiders even since.

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  3. I believe most people (except God) dislike spiders. A common phobia. Some people can’t even endure a picture. I was bitten on the head and neck a while back when I was sleeping and had large welts that lasted for days. Believe that was a black widow .. but I don’t know. Least I didn’t die.

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      1. You don’t want to be bitten by a “Brown Recluse” the venom eats away at your skin and flesh causing a nasty, creeping, sore which doesn’t heal easily.., or so I’ve read.

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        1. Sometimes, as a delightful alternative (from first hand experience), you get this big, sore lump that takes months to go away. It depends on how big the spider was and how much venom you get. Delightful. At least we don’t have wolf spiders and scorpions. I take some small comfort in that.

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          1. Of course I live in the Land of Scorpions, but have seldom seen one. Wolf spiders.., I thought they were supposed to be fairly harmless.., albeit BIG?

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  4. I could barely read this post, honestly I skimmed it. I can barely even think about spiders, and that description in Arizona, nooooooooooooo. Scorpions- can’t even entertain the thought of that one. Thanks for making my skin crawl Marilyn!!!!! 😀

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      1. Fear, whether rational or not, is, never the less, very real to the person experiencing it. So I make it a rule never to make light of other’s fears. I’m not particularly afraid of spiders.., but I don’t like them. I know, intellectually, that in the scheme of things natural, they are another of God’s creatures and have a purpose here on earth.., and I know they are important in controlling the rest of the insect population. But for some reason, the appearance of spiders and snakes, is very unsettling to many of us. And the statement from some that “they are as afraid of us as we are of them,” doesn’t really make me feel any better.

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        1. They are NOT as afraid of us as we are of them! If they were, they wouldn’t crawl on us. I don’t think they actually “see” us. We’re just these big things, probably no different than a tree or a rock, except we move. Of course, mosquitoes think we are dinner and other bugs “see” us as food sources in other ways … but they are blatantly NOT afraid of us. Snakes — small harmless ones — are afraid of us. Big nasty poisonous ones are NOT. That’s just a myth we like because we want to think we are big and scary. I am not big and scary. I’m big and SCARED 😀

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          1. Maybe you’re right.., I mean, if they see us as just another surface to trod upon, then why would they bite. Do you take a bite out of the sidewalk? There’s got to be another answer? I know I’d be afraid If I saw the sidewalk move, or the threat of a big hand, or foot, descending, with hostile intent, towards my fragile ecto-skeleton, I’d lash out in any way I could. This is not in defense of the critters.., just trying to understand it all. Maybe it really doesn’t matter, except to an entomologist?

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            1. We worry about understanding aliens from outer space, but a lot of creatures right here on earth are as alien as anything could be. Do spiders think? Whatever their reasoning process, would we recognize it as thinking? I’ve been bitten by bees, spiders, other bugs for no apparent reason. But they must have a reason … just nothing that makes sense to ME.

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  5. I am not a fan of spiders, but they don’t scare me quite like they scare you — especially the small ones that aren’t furry. And even though a Daddy Long-Legs is not small, they don’t bother me either. I will usually try to catch them and take them outside and set them free.

    As to wolf spiders, seriously, Marilyn, why would anyone be afraid of such a sweet looking critter as this:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, why be afraid of that? I almost fainted when I saw the picture. You know, I HAVE A HEART CONDITION. You coulda killed me. Yow. I think I’m going to never look at that picture again.

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  6. As you know I have no problem with spiders. OK, we have no really dangerous poisonous spiders in Switzerland, just one particular spider that likes to sting, but he usually spends his time hovering in his web and making food parcels of any flies or such that might tend to stick on the threads. I find them a good subject for photos. They just hang nice and still as if they were posing. My garden has a wonderful variety, now and again we even get a zebra spider, the stripy black and yellow ones. The nursery spiders usually have an offspring of about 150 kids and that is a good action photo when they are being looked after by mummy in the web. No, I have no fear of them. I don’t kill them. If they happen to be indoors I return them carefully to the great outdoors where they belong. What I hate are the offspring of moths. Yuck and again yuck. How can a mother insect love such a maggot ?

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    1. I have loved some people who other people thought were maggots. Love is blind, so we don’t notice they are a bit slimy, wriggly, and disgusting. Wait a minute … that was my second husband. Never mind.

      My fear of spiders is irrational. Garry has a similar fear of snakes. I dislike maggots and worms and slugs, but I don’t fear them, although stepping on a slug with ones bare foot can (did) cure you forever of walking barefoot in the garden.

      I’m not afraid of most things. I’m wary of wild creatures because we have a lot of rabies around. Anything behaving strangely is potentially carrying a lethal disease, but there’s nothing irrational about that. It would be irrational if I wasn’t afraid. Mostly, I’m okay with bugs, mice, and other stuff … as long as they stay out there. Except for ants. I’m relentless about ants and they are relentless in their continuing determination to invade my home.

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        1. I haven’t spoken to her in years. We lost touch after she moved to Staten Island in the late 1990s. I think of her often … but geography finally did us in. And it was pre-email. I should try to hunt her down on Facebook. I might find her. That’s a thought.

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