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Defusing the Scariness of Diversity (1 of 4) | Conditioned to be Afraid

Welcome to the month of October which means settling into fall, enjoying everything flavored with pumpkin spice, and perhaps sightings of the Great Pumpkin on October 31st. That’s one of my favorite Charlie Brown specials because as a child, it took the scariness out of Halloween for me. One of the things I’ve always found to be scary are spiders. Needless to say, I can do without the giant-hairy-spider Halloween décor this time of year, which is one way to keep me out of the mall.

My father and I used to watch this television show, Night Gallery, hosted by Rod Serling. Well, actually, I would watch through the curtains from the living room because my parents wouldn’t allow me to watch it at all at my age. I’ll never forget one particular episode of Night Gallery. The featured story was about another person who was afraid of spiders like me.

At first, this person came across a little spider, and squashed it with their shoe. Then they found a bigger spider and washed it down the bathroom sink. This went on for a couple of scenes with each spider being bigger than the last one. Finally, as this person was walking down the hallway to the bedroom, they opened the door, turned on the lights, and found a spider that filled the room!

Do you know what happened next? I don’t either because I was so terrified that I tore off down the hallway to my bedroom and the minute I opened the door and turned on the light, all my little mind saw was a spider that filled my bedroom!

I believe it was that singular encounter that conditioned me to fear spiders for years. So, let’s think about how early conditioning can affect us later in our lives!

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