How do I get people to not antagonize my phobia?
June 28, 2008 12:28 AM Subscribe
How do I get people to respect my phobia? How do I make them stop antagonizing me by showing me the thing I'm afraid of?
posted by IndigoRain to human relations (53 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I am severely lepidopterophobic. Yes, I'm afraid of butterflies and moths. The teensy tiny ones don't bother me, but the bigger they are, the harder I fall, so to speak, and lately we've been getting some 2- to 3-inch-long moths with even bigger wingspans.
How do I get people to understand it's NOT FUNNY to point out butterflies to me in order to scare me? Recently I was at a friend's and one of the aforementioned oversized moths was in the livingroom, albeit dead. When I saw it I ran into the bedroom and locked the door, shrieking. My friend's daughter's 20-year-old friend was over and decided it would be hilarious to slip it under the door at me. Yes I screamed and cried and had to have someone open the door and remove the pest. In his defense he was not aware of my phobia. (Here's a big hint moron: If I run screaming from something, don't chase after me with it.) A few days later, a tiny little moth was in the house and he said sarcastically to me, "Hey IndigoRain, there's a MOTH in the house!" This was most definitely a patronizing tone and not a helpful warning.
How do I get jackasses like him to quickly realize that this is not funny and prevent the stupid things they do? I know many people don't understand my phobia - the most common replies I get are "but they're the most harmless creature on earth!" (not to me, to me they're big germy scary bugs) and "but they're so beautiful!" (see previous parentheses). I don't understand the people on Maury who are afraid of chickens or pickles, but you can be sure if I met them I wouldn't throw a chicken or a pickle at them.
I'm not interested in advice on overcoming my phobia - there's plenty of advice out there and I can't afford therapy right now. I just want to know how to get idiots to realize they're not making funny jokes - they're severely upsetting me. At least things that might work for the vast majority of people who aren't jerks who like to upset other people.