How often do you encounter bugs or spiders, and how much of a burden on your life does this aversion impose? Is it getting worse, better, or neither?
Your reaction may be stronger than others’, but that may not in itself be reason enough to invest lots of time and energy in self-modifying to not have this strong reaction. Especially if it’s not getting worse over time.
Years ago I had a similar “yuck behaviour” regarding food, I would refuse to eat anything that had been in contact with even a small bug: for instance I’d generally turn down lettuce, which when purchased in heads almost always comes with a few “residents”. (No screaming though.) It always turned my stomach upside down to see folks (e.g. my parents or my wife) do things like cut out part of an apple that had a worm in it and eat the rest.
Over the years and without doing anything special I just got over it.
Oops. Apparently “got over it” was wrong (or at best premature). Tonight my appetite has been defeated by a chinese cabbage riddled with holes, even though they probably cover less than 10% of any given leaf’s surface.
I’m less squeamish than I used to be, too.
For example, I’m willing to eat cooked fish with the head on—this was intolerable for me when I was a kid.
I wonder if becoming less squeamish over time is typical.
If it’s typical, then I’m atypical. I’m much more squeamish than when I was a kid. As an 8 or 9-year-old I played with live worms and caterpillars and various bugs, and was equally fascinated by the dead ones, even sometimes cutting them open to see the insides. I thought it would be cool to take an anatomy class and dissect cadavers.
Now I cannot bear the sight of bugs. Just looking at them gives me a visceral feeling of horror. Touching them freaks me right out. And I’m pretty sure if I had to dissect a cadaver I’d scream and vomit.