More threads by ^^Phoenix^^

When does a fear become a phobia?

For instance, I am afraid of spiders.... and when they move I run out of the room. But I can watch spiders on the T.V...

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Good question: All of us have certain fears - we call them phobias when they are extreme and begin to interfere significantly with our day-to-day lives in an attempt to avoid the object or situation that causes fear. Phobias are fears taken to an extreme, to the point where they become irrational and where the avoidance behaviors prevent one from living a normal life.

For example, your fear of spiders is a rather common fear - it would be considered a phobia if that fear caused you to avoid places or situations where there might be a remote chance that a spider could appear - at it's worst, you might be afraid to leave your home because of the chance that you might come across a spider somewhere.

Some definitions of phobia:

A persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that results in a compelling desire to avoid it

An obsessive, persistent, unrealistic fear of an external object or situation.

An intense fear of a specific object or situation. Most of us consider ourselves to have phobias, but to be diagnosable, the fear must significantly restrict our way of life.

Persistent irrational fear of an activity or object. This leads to avoidance. The fear is out of proportion of the reality of the threat.

Extreme irrational fear and avoidance of the object of that fear.

Pathological fear of some specific stimulus or situation.

An abnormal fear of an object, experience, or place.


Re: Phobia/Fear?

Robin Baxter said:
When does a fear become a phobia?
For instance, I am afraid of spiders.... and when they move I run out of the room. But I can watch spiders on the T.V...

Hi Robin, wow am I glad to see that I am not the only one terrified of spiders.

I have been bitten several times and have had reactions to their bites, so my fear is really large.

I even swear I can feel their presence before I see them, sort of like they are looking at me through all of their eyes. You are braver then I am, i can't even bear to see them on tv. If one happesn to be in my car when driving, I pull over very fast.

I don't kill them though, I vaccume them up in my vaccume cleaner. And I make sure that I catch them, because if you don't, they do come back and look for you.

think I am afraid of spiders? shuddering at the thought of one. ewwwwwwwwwww


Fear (Spiders)

Hi Momof5

My fear of bees matches your fear of spiders. I can spot them from quite a distance and doesnt matter where or what I'm doing......I take off running. It's those big black and yellow bumble bees and they can be quite aggressive. I did some reading on them and it seems they have a twin which is the carpenter bee. Apparently, the male carpenter bees which are the ones to go out in search of ? who knows what, can't sting you and here's my thought on that I'm really going to get close enough to make that distinction........NOT !


Hi Cybil2U,
Welcome to psychlinks!

Isn't it weird, when you think about it, how we, giant people, can fear small insects? And the weird thing about my fear of which I'm sure somewhere I have stated, I don't like to squish them. I suck them up in the vaccume.

My husband makes light of my fear of spiders. Its infuriating that he does so. And, the size doesn't matter. It could be a tiny tiny little thing and it still will create the same amount of fear.

And, I don't blame you for not sticking around to find out which species of bee is headed your way, I would "buzz" out as well!

My youngest can hold spiders and let them walk all over him, eeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww!! to that. But its good that he didn't inherit my fear of them. (But does he have to be so "Brave" about it?



Anyone ever wonder why all us arachnophobes have such a phenominal sense of periphial vision. It could be behind us, and we'd still see it move...
The only creatures that I don't like at all are moths and centipedes. I remember once when I was in high school I saw a centipede scurry across the floor right in front of me. Believe me, they are FAST! I also hate moths because they are ugly, and have a tendency to fly in your face.
My mom loves spiders. She says, "They're your friends." She puts them outside whenever they are in her house.

They don't bother me, but if one bit me I would have some serious problems with them. On the other hand I am terrified of snakes which is probably not an irrational fear. They ARE creepy. Shudder, shudder.


stevel said:
Not to mention, some are poisonous! Luckily no poisonous snakes in my neck of the woods.

I was bit by a brown recluse spider a few years ago and they leave a nasty and sometimes fatal bite - glad I didn't see him bite - I would have had heart failure first - re: snakes - i'll take snakes anyday over bees - in fact had 3 this past summer and one (almost stepped on him when taking laundry out) decided to check out my garage.

Last week my neighbor (has the build and resembles Mr. T if any of you remember him) anyway i walked down the street to visit and here he and his buddy have the garage torn all apart and holes in the drywall? lol looking for a mouse they saw.......they were too funny - his little finger is bigger than the mouse and with all that banging, clanging and knocking going on - I told them the mouse is probably over in the next subdivision ....



there are so many ways of viewing any situation, includes fears.

i recall my english class, i read a poem talking about how a captain killed a albatross(some holy bird i suppose?) cause it was 'bothering' the skies, and all his crewmen died. However, he saw ugly black snakes(the poem used a lot of descriptive words to show how much you wouldnt want to see those snakes) and naturally thought' oh no, another bad luck from killing the albatross. Though when the snakes flipped across the water, the captain, on the ship, safe from the snakes, started truly looking past the fact that they are 'snakes' and disgusting, slimy etc, and he concentrated on the *beauty* of their color. As soon as he saw beauty in creatures so dark(or as said in the poem), his crewmen all of a sudden were alive again and the albatross came back to life too.
i believe that this poem does teach us that there are always many POV's of any situation, and if we truly concentrate and keep an open mind, things may be easier to overcome than we thought.
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