Thursday, August 8, 2013

Overcoming Fears and The Slender Man

My family and I just returned from an amazing vacation at the ocean. We played, we danced, we swam and surprisingly, my oldest conquered his fear of The Slender Man.

This story is quite impressive and I saved it just for you. But I have to start at the beginning, the week leading up to our trip. It all started with a darn viral YouTube video about a fictional character named The Slender Man. This mythical creature apparently lives in the woods to stalk, abduct, or traumatize children. He’s described as an unnaturally tall man with no face, wearing a black suit. He’s considered the first great myth of the web. Honestly, just writing about him now creeps me out!

Well apparently my son saw this YouTube video and quickly turned it off at the beginning. Unfortunately, the damage was already done and once bedtime arose, his anxiety was at an all time high. For several days he dreaded bedtime with the same reaction: anxiety, trouble sleeping and mom lying by his side until he was finally asleep.

Flash forward to our vacation at the ocean and our son realizes that our beach house is not only near the ocean, but surrounded by woods, which he’s certain contains The Slender Man. On the first day there, I heard my son talking through his anxiety, especially on our hike through the wooded area, then out of nowhere, he declares, “I need to conquer my fear and the only way to do it is to walk through the woods at night!”

Impressed with his proactive solution to overcoming his fears, my husband and I agreed that we would assist him with this, but I think neither of us thought he would actually do it. 

Boy were we wrong.

As we approached the beach house after a day of playing in the waves, my oldest reminded us, “I can still walk through the woods tonight, right? I want to go to the “scary wooded” area, it’s the only way I can get over this fear.”

Surprised, my husband chimed in, “Sure, I’ll take you.”

At this moment, I was relieved to be off the hook, because honestly, there was no way I was comfortable going into the scary part of the woods at night!

So off they went, with a flash light and a determination to overcome The Slender Man.

As they approached the “scary wooded area” my husband confessed feeling apprehensive, “It was pretty scary at night, my head was “Blair Witching”, I would’ve never done it on my own!” 

Just so you can get the picture, the scary wooded area is a path surrounded by large trees blown over by the ocean wind, over the years the trees formed somewhat of a tunnel, thick with branches that hovered and blocked out the night sky. Along the way, people had drawn faces with charcoal on the exposed stumps, there were easily over 20 faces drawn into the woods (see photo above).

As my son walked through the woods he methodically focused on the scary thoughts that had occupied his mind, such as how The Slender Man can reach his long arms and abduct you from the trees. Through this process, he was able to address his fears head on.

Once they got to the end of the path my husband offered a different route on the way home to avoid the woods on the way back, but my son declined and said that he needed to go through it again. And he did.

Afterwards he explained how scary it was, but he said, “I didn’t want to do it, I NEEDED to do it!”

WOW! I was so impressed and so damn proud of him!

We used this unique opportunity to share with our son that what he did would serve him well for his entire life, that there would be many things in his life that he wouldn’t want to do, but that he would need to do. Having done this tonight, he proved not only to us, but to himself that he is capable of conquering his fears.

When I told him how proud I was of his courage, he said, “I wasn’t brave, I was really scared doing that.”

I replied, “No dear, doing something that scares you is the definition of bravery!”

Man do I love this kid!

* * *

I’m happy to report, that from that night on, my son has gone right to sleep with no more anxiety. His plan was a huge success!

The Slender Man (In case you’re curious):


  1. How brave of your son to face his fears! Most adults can't even do that when anxiety hits them. He should be so proud of himself!! I totally understand, coming from a mom of a anxious teenager daughter who has lost many a night's sleep from internet/cellphone/text/email viral meant to scare us!

    1. I agree, I don't think I ever could have done this as a kid, and maybe even now...

  2. Kudddos to the kiddo! That was very brave. We've had some Slender Man issues around here too. I'm not sure what he did about them, but they seem to be better--but then we haven't confronted any dark woods either. I had to face some different fears as a kid, and it was very empowering.

  3. That is so awesome! He's a lot braver then I am! I hope he is super proud of himself, he sure should be!

  4. Faces on the trees?! Geez.

    Reminds me of this quote from A Song of Ice and Fire:

    “Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?'
    'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him.”

  5. I think your son was very brave to do that. It I was scared of Slenderman I wouldn't have been able to do that. Your son should be very proud of himself.

  6. I am just a kid to and am really scared of this slender dude. So this article really helped me. Thank you!