Fear or phobia is a very big word. I don’t know what I feel is fear or just plain discomfort or borderline disgust.
I have this huge revulsion towards reptiles. The snakes, crocs or any kind of slithering animals. I just have a huge fear of these things. Sometimes I wonder why. Mind you I have never seen these animals outside of the cage. Never had a bad encounter with any of them. But just the thought of them makes me cringe.
I will share a few instances. As in most households we put on the television while having dinner. And when it comes to TV channel all the four members of our family have different choices. If by chance my younger son gets hold of the remote he will put on his favourite channel – Animal Planet or Discovery. While I too believe that these channels are very informative and it’s better than watching mindless cartoons. But please, please not while having food. Just imagine you are having your dinner and right in front of you they are showing Bear Grylls of Man vs Wild eating raw worms or an animal catching its prey in close up. I don’t know about your reaction but my food takes a reverse gear and I puke.
In Pune there is a very beautiful Zoo. It was earlier only a snake park and then converted into a full-fledged Zoo. So a huge chuck of the zoo is still dedicated to snakes and other reptiles. My kids love going there but I can’t get myself to look into those cages. Even though I know they are safely locked up and can’t harm me. I just cannot bear the sight. During our last visit I sat outside the snake park with a packet of chips and cold drinks for company while my whole family went and admired all those slithering beauties.
Actually speaking, any close contact with any animal raises my self-preservation antennae. Like my dear friend Chiradeep I am really scared of dogs too. Even the pets. Even with the pet owner by my side I am never comfortable if the dog is roaming around in the room. The owners will try to sooth me by saying that “Don’t worry he won’t bite,” or when the dog is sniffing me and they tell me “He is just trying to be friendly”. I am standing very still and in my mind I am shouting at the pet owner – “The dog knows that I am afraid of him. He will definitely try to overpower me. Help!! Just send him to the other room.”
I know these fears are silly. But this is me. Can’t change. My husband tried to get a pet Labrador. A very cute little pup. But in a week’s time he realized that either he could keep his pet or his wife. Both can’t coexist. I was so scared of the little puppy that I spent most of my day on the bed. So that the puppy couldn’t reach me.
List of phobias are endless. I am very scared of watching any kind of horror movies. Even if I see a trailer of a horror movie and later forget about it during the course of the day. The trailer comes back in my mind at night to haunt me. So I am quick to change channels if there is any such advertisement is coming up.
I think I am not the only one. We all have such little fears and phobias. Do share your phobias in the comments section.
One of my biggest fear that makes my stomach crumple is the fear of being judged wrongly, the fear of people thinking that I am bad, fear of people believing that I am not good enough for something.
Fear of looking bad comes when I constantly think of “What people will think of me?” and the answer to that question actually drives my actions. This also means that my own opinions would not matter. It would always be defined and governed by what people want me to do and behave.
In the past I had a tough situation at work. Apparently, the team that I worked with did not think that I am doing enough work or performing to my capabilities. They always had reasons to find faults at me. Mainly most of them did not like me. I remember not wanting to go to work at all and even crying in washrooms during the day. It was a horrible time for me because somehow what people think of me mattered to me a lot.
“What can I do so that people like me?” “How should I behave to be in good books of people close to me?” “What does he/she expect from me?” These were the kind of questions always running in my head. It was so important for me to be a “Good Girl” that I would go to just any limits to make this happen. That doesn’t mean that I always followed what people wanted me to do. That meant that I would always give an impression to people around me that I am the best. It was more prevalent with my family members.
Long ago when I was studying, I had a close friend. She used in confide in me a lot and I used to as well. But there was one problem – she was very judgmental. Every time she would feel that I am doing something wrong in her opinion, she would simply invalidate my feelings and tell me that I was wrong. As a result of this I started to hesitate in sharing my feelings with her, because I knew she would come down on me. But the fact is that I had to be “Nice” to her so I started to hide things and even lying to her. So, it was double life – on one side I would things that I liked and on the other I would be a person that she would approve of. One can imagine what happened to our friendship, it died after a lot of trouble.
Things like these happen to me quite a lot – where being nice or looking good in the eyes of others is so important for me that I would step upon my own feelings. The result would be that I would end up being a doormat.
In Dec 2016, I took a resolution to make an attempt to get over this fear. I took a very conscious decision to have those difficult conversations with people around me to make myself heard. I made a list of people I have to talk and the topics I have to talk to about. Initially, it took a lot of preparation in order to come up with the conversation but now I think I am getting used to just telling people (in a nice way) that I disagree with them.
I think my parents did an amazing job of putting values of being nice, being kind, being selfless in me. But excess of anything is harmful. I have gone through a lot of emotional turmoil because of this fear. I have a feeling now that I might be on journey to keep this fear behind me. I hope so.