My uncle and I have a good relationship. He, unfortunately, lives in Colorado while I live in another state also in the U.S. Due to the distance, I don’t get to visit him very often, so when I get the chance I always try and take it.

Recently however, my uncle has become obsessed with turtles. He sleeps with them, talks with them, and even walks them on a leash with him. He has gone so far as to create and operate a turtle farm comprised of hundreds of turtles.

I am deathly afraid of turtles though. I’m sure it has to do with a bad experience during my childhood in which a turtle tried to chase me after I caught it while fishing.

My uncle has asked me to come to Colorado and visit him sometime in the next few weeks, but I’m certain he will try and take me to his turtle farm.

Although it may seem like the solution is to just ask him to not bring me to the farm, I don’t want to intrude on the time he spends with the turtles while I am there, so I am willing to go to the farm; however, I’m not willing to see any turtles there of any kind.

I have also not yet told him about my fear - so he is unaware that I am scared of them.

How should I tell my uncle I don’t want to see his turtles at his turtle farm?


2 Answers 2


First, just say you don't want to see the turtles. I don't think you need to do this beforehand. When he suggests to you that you look at his turtles, be honest and focus on your feelings. Be sure to tell him your experience and that you don't want to hurt his feelings.

Note that it is very likely that he is going to suggest looking at them/being around them to help you to get rid of your fear. Be sure to openly discuss it, since you are on a friendly basis with your uncle.

There was a suggestion to make a white lie about allergies (which has since been edited). I think this will only escalate if he discovers that you are not allergic. The coincidence of this lie is just too unlikely to be real.


Say that it's about you and your turtle-phobia, and that it's not any judgment of him and his wanting to have a turtle farm.

In general, trying to get people to see things from a different perspective is hard; one way to go about explaining your fear would be to start with,

I know that this might sound irrational, but turtles scare me and causes me to be really fearful.

and then proceed with,

As little or petty as it may sound to you, it is a real problem for me.

When you explain to others what your fear is and how they can better care for you, it makes it easier on both sides.

Source: https://www.7cups.com/qa-anxiety-16/how-can-i-explain-to-people-my-irrational-fear-5151/

  • 2
    turtle-phobia is also known as chelonaphobia
    – tox123
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 3:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.