SPIDER PARENTS: why can’t I just move out?

Nov 19, 2020

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

The spider is a symbol of generative and destructive capabilities. As creator, spider spins the sustaining web of life. As predator, spider’s sticky web is an inescapable trap. Parents weave webs of familial ties, cultural norms, and generational patterns that contain—or restrain–their children. Emotional strings of attachment or enmeshment affect how—or if—a young adult child is released into the world.

A net of comfort and connection can become a web of entanglement and stultification. The tale of Sleeping Beauty portrays the stasis that ensues when parents try to protect their child from future dangers. Hindering destiny’s call to independence and individuation only obstructs the flow of life. Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. Kahlil Gibran

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I was on a hospital bed, due to a heart attack. Doctors were trying to send an electric wave to measure my heart damage–and I was terrified of the pain it may cause. Doctors told me that if it hurts I need surgery immediately. I was watching the screen, and it didn’t hurt at all. Doctors told me that my heart was really strong and that I can go home. I felt relieved. Then a nurse walked over to me and handed a piece of paper, a note from someone, and said I have to go see this other patient. The note was from Su, a high school female friend that betrayed me, a person that I don’t think about at all. The note said that I need to take care of her babies. I was so confused. I walked over to the room, found her sitting on the bed. She pointed the babies to me and asked for help. I didn’t talk to her. She has just given birth, and 3 little bundles were in a crib next to her. I lifted the bundles and they didn’t look like babies, they were marble white and looked weird. Almost looked like the Hindu god with the elephant trunk- god Ganesh I think. I dropped them on the floor. I wanted to check whether they are real. I filled them with milk and said they are alive. I was so confused. I woke up.” 



On Children by Kahlil Gibran: https://poets.org/poem/children-1


  1. LAB

    Thank you for this episode. As a college professor who works with many 18-21 year olds I can say that many of these young adults struggle with overbearing parents who often teach their kids that they are not capable or strong enough to deal with normal amounts of stress, discomfort, or life challenges. It does not occur with every student, but it is distressing to see how common this dynamic is becoming with this generation of parents.

  2. Gary

    Good episode! Having faced the spider parent archetype on both fronts, I appreciate this lecture. My advice to those who are facing some really twisted shit: understand how false love has been used to trap you, which is the most evil force in the world. Your willingness to face the darkness is how you will purge evil from the world by becoming a whole person. Do not fear your loneliness nor your hollowness. It is the precursor to total creativity which is what your parents have repressed in you and them. Take as much time as you need to find your path, no matter what. One day, you can go back if that is what seems right. Until that time, do not accept an ounce of guilt. If your parents are honest, your strength will become theirs. If not, you cannot connect with them anyway.


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