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Social Phobia


Peanut

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Yes social phobia may be a gross eggeration however, I don't know what else to call it.

Like many people on this forum, whether indicated publicly or privately, I was abused as a child. (which I think may be the root to many spankee's problems)

Because of this, I have a few (hopfully not so opbvious) social issues. Aside from being rediculously akward (which is fun to joke about and has honestly played to my advantage at times), there are some social interations which I seem incapible of preforming.

The first of which is addressing people. While it is less difficult here on a forum which I had initally thought would be completely anonymous, it is still somthing to be struggled with. Even when giving out (((hugs))), unless the person being referred to is using a screen name as opposed to their real name, I tend to find ways around addressing people, even those with whom I am most close. Even my fiance says he has never heard me say his his name.

The other is eye contact. I can fake it pretty well by looking at people's noses or chins but actually looking people in the eye makes me so nervous that i feel as if I am going to be sick. I have recently started to work on this one and it has actually been quite rewarding. Its easy to miss alot when you dont actually look at people.

The point to all of this is: Given may of us have similar roots to our problems, does anyone else experience these social phobias? If so do you have any tips as to to how to alleivate them?

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I have a social anxiety too. It is difficult at time but as I am getting better at it. There have been times that I wanted to run and hide but I am learning to deal with it in most situations. Everyone's social anxiety is different. I am good in formal situation, but really suck at informal ones. Get togethers are a nightmare for me.

There are lots of books out there on social phobias, you might pick one or two up. They have lots of good explanations and exercises to try. Go to Amazon and you will get lots of books on the topics of shyness and social anxiety.

The thing to remember is baby steps. I started by talking to cashiers. Really, it is a quick interact and will be over with before you know it so it is a great way to just make a little small talk and move on. Practice looking a person in the eyes. Btw you don't want to stare at someone's eyes, make eye contact and look, as you said at another part of their face. Maybe you want to make an effort to say your fiance name once a day. Hi, XXXX. Or Thank you XXXX. Just start out small.

When getting over something like this you need to remember to push yourself. On a scale from 1-10 1-3 is your comfort zone. Between 4-7 you are uncomfortable. 8-10 is panic time. You want to try and do stuff to get you into that 4-7 range. Stuff that makes you uncomfortable, but doesn't put you in a blind panic. So think about what makes you nervous and then do that a little more.

Hope that helps.

  • Like 1
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{{{{Lizzy}}}} I admire your courage for being so open about your struggles! Thank you for starting a thread that will undoubtedly help others.

I was always shy growing up. I was picked on mercilessly in grade school, and junior high school, and I was a computer nerd and band geek in high school. I never went to dances, never dated, never went to do anything social unless I had a close friend with me by my side. I still to this day struggle with a bit of social phobia.

But for me, the key to overcoming it, as I know you are, dear, was finding the good within myself and being accepted for that person - not just by others, but mostly by myself.

I found my stride in college by doing something unique, video production. I was the entire department. I was the kid with the camera all the time. But for some reason people thought it was cool. My group began to expand.

In the last 2 months or so I have become accepted on this site on levels that I could scarcely imagine growing up. This kind of support and friendship was reserved for the captain of the football team, not the computer nerd, not the quiet kid, not me. This... has been a godsend! It has helped me overcome so much! I have made so many new friends, and had so many wonderful new experiences (you know :D ). I feel for the first time in my life like... it's ok to be Eric. Not just the Eric that everyone knows, but the Eric that I am inside.

As lame as it may be, and as sick as you all are of me singing :P, to quote Demi Lovato from 'Camp Rock':

This is real

This is me

I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be

Gonna let the light shine on me

Now I've found

Who I am

There's no way to hold it in

No more hiding who I wanna be

This is me

Thank you, Lizzy for being a part of my journey. And thank you all for helping me overcome my own issues! Yeah, even us Tops aren't perfect!

Hugs,

Eric

  • Like 3
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Guest bella100

Lizzie

I love you my dear friend. And thank you for your post. You are right, our pasts have created us into the people we are today.

I know the struggles oh to well. I was sexually abused as a teenager, and that made me deeply afraid of men, no matter what the role they played in my life. I never opened up and felt things that many people take for granted everyday.

i to was picked on in school, I was a very tall, skinny and backwards girl. (never guess that today!!) I got called things like beanpole, carpenters dream etc etc till i was a senior in high school. Not very flattering when everyone else was going on dates, and I sat at home wondering what they were like. I went to my senior prom with a kid who bashed his window out over something i said --- set me back into the fear of men all over again!

I am socially backwards when it comes to men. I get along just great and am very open with women. I love to actually start conversations with women, to be able to compare lifes stories.

Especially now that i have children.

Life is a major twist and turn sometimes, but I honestly think we have gone through the things we did, to make us stronger, And since I have started here, you seem to be becoming very strong in your own way. And i am proud of you. You are a beautiful girl, who will share much with the world.

I have found that the beginning to a very outgoing personality is to start writing things on paper. Things you would love to say to someone and cant. You know in the long run, eventually you will say them to that person, if not, it is giving you the skills to learn how to communicate!!!

Lizzie, be proud of yourself for the talking you do here, you have made alot of people happy and fulfilled with the things you say!! I know i love talking with you !! You have shared alot with me, a perfect stranger, and now we have become friends.

I love you and keep up the good work!!! You wont be shy for long hanging around me, lol

Wendi

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The other is eye contact. I can fake it pretty well by looking at people's noses or chins but actually looking people in the eye makes me so nervous that i feel as if I am going to be sick. I have recently started to work on this one and it has actually been quite rewarding. Its easy to miss alot when you dont actually look at people.

We should start a club called "horrible childhood survivors". I say survivor because I refuse to be a victim.

I have a problem with direct eye contact as well, the only people I can maintain eye contact with for more than a few uncomfortable seconds are my husband, my sister and my children. It can be camouflaged somewhat by looking directly at the spot between someone's eyes.

And, Wendi, I am exactly the opposite. Although I have found this site to be the exception to my own personal rule, my issue is with other women. I get along famously with men, almost every close friend I have ever had has been male.

I guess along the way somewhere, I learned to fake it.

Also, I just wanted to pass this along to others, like me, who deal with social fears. Bravery is not the absence of fear, it is being afraid and overcoming anyway.

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Guest bella100

We should start a club called "horrible childhood survivors". I say survivor because I refuse to be a victim.

I have a problem with direct eye contact as well, the only people I can maintain eye contact with for more than a few uncomfortable seconds are my husband, my sister and my children. It can be camouflaged somewhat by looking directly at the spot between someone's eyes.

And, Wendi, I am exactly the opposite. Although I have found this site to be the exception to my own personal rule, my issue is with other women. I get along famously with men, almost every close friend I have ever had has been male.

I guess along the way somewhere, I learned to fake it.

Also, I just wanted to pass this along to others, like me, who deal with social fears. Bravery is not the absence of fear, it is being afraid and overcoming anyway.

I am glad this site is an exception for u cause i love chatting with u!! And yes the survivors club is just about right----

I guess thats kinda why i am here -- to heal- to learn- to explore--- me --somoeone i haven't seen in a very long time!!!!

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{{{{Lizzy}}}} I admire your courage for being so open about your struggles! Thank you for starting a thread that will undoubtedly help others.

I was always shy growing up. I was picked on mercilessly in grade school, and junior high school, and I was a computer nerd and band geek in high school. I never went to dances, never dated, never went to do anything social unless I had a close friend with me by my side. I still to this day struggle with a bit of social phobia.

But for me, the key to overcoming it, as I know you are, dear, was finding the good within myself and being accepted for that person - not just by others, but mostly by myself.

I found my stride in college by doing something unique, video production. I was the entire department. I was the kid with the camera all the time. But for some reason people thought it was cool. My group began to expand.

In the last 2 months or so I have become accepted on this site on levels that I could scarcely imagine growing up. This kind of support and friendship was reserved for the captain of the football team, not the computer nerd, not the quiet kid, not me. This... has been a godsend! It has helped me overcome so much! I have made so many new friends, and had so many wonderful new experiences (you know :D ). I feel for the first time in my life like... it's ok to be Eric. Not just the Eric that everyone knows, but the Eric that I am inside.

As lame as it may be, and as sick as you all are of me singing :P, to quote Demi Lovato from 'Camp Rock':

This is real

This is me

I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be

Gonna let the light shine on me

Now I've found

Who I am

There's no way to hold it in

No more hiding who I wanna be

This is me

Thank you, Lizzy for being a part of my journey. And thank you all for helping me overcome my own issues! Yeah, even us Tops aren't perfect!

Hugs,

Eric

((((((((((Eric))))))))))) <---- I addressed you :)

Thanks so much for sharing your story! It's hard to beleive that at some point people did not see how awesome you really are!!!!

I'm so happy that we as a community were able to help you at least a smidgen in comparison to the amount you have helped so many here!

I'm honored to be part of your journey and remain ever grateful that you are willing to be part of mine!

PS the Demi Levato quote was hi-larious!!! You always crack me up :)

Much love,

Lizzy :D

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  • 3 months later...

I found myself thinking of this post the other day...

As I was hanging out with my best friend (who also has ALOT of issues), i noticed that he was haing issues making eye contact...

Then I realized that i was only able to notice this because i was attempting to make eye contact with him!

I must be getting better at this whole social situation thing!!!

:D :D :D

I think it has to do with all the love and acceptace i have found here <3

Thank you all who have helped me along the way :)

<3 Lizzy

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Guest Cowgirl

I found myself thinking of this post the other day...

As I was hanging out with my best friend (who also has ALOT of issues), i noticed that he was haing issues making eye contact...

Then I realized that i was only able to notice this because i was attempting to make eye contact with him!

I must be getting better at this whole social situation thing!!!

:D :D :D

I think it has to do with all the love and acceptace i have found here <3

Thank you all who have helped me along the way :)

<3 Lizzy

(((Lizzy)) I am proud of you! I just saw this post. Isn't it a wonderful feeling when you can look back and see just how far you've come? Kudos! I know I enjoy seeing how I have improved/changed, by looking back at old posts.

  • Like 2
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Guest Aspenleafquaking

I really am uncomfortable in social situations for many reasons. I feel seriously inadaquate to others. I also fear what others think of me, and worry that I may offend someone somehow. When in a situation where I don't know people I will be the one who sits silently and observes. I have no issues talking with people in a forum like this where no one really knows me. I still have a desire though to meet people I have met here and made friends with. I guess I am confused and pretty messed up when it comes to social situations.

Aspen

  • Like 2
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I used to be really shy and have problems. But its not bad anymore. I can give a speech or play a song to a few hundred people but I dont like parties. Odd mix I know.

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I'm shy, but I'm usually in situations where I'm in charge and have no choice but to interact with people. A useful bit of advice I was given when I was starting was, "Fake it 'til you make it."

Think of someone who you believe is good in a particular situation, then act in the same way that they would in that situation:

  • make eye contact;
  • stand up straight;
  • speak clearly; and
  • sound like you actually know what you're doing.

You'll find that people will respond to you as if they actually believe that you are as confident as you are pretending to be; their response then gives you more confidence, and at some point you suddenly realise that you aren't scared any more. I still use that technique whenever I notice that I'm slipping again. It's surprising how well it actually works.

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Guest carebare

Yeah, sort of my life story. I gave up on people for years, a lot of them. Then I tried again but it didn't work. It was like being back in school again. Everybody spitting and calling names. Ganging up. Sarcasm and death threats. Blood in puddles on the floor.

I used to be afraid all the time. But I wasn't afraid any longer. Not even a little. That part was good. This time, I knew I had to stand up and fight back. I couldn't let them do it any longer and I didn't. But it was still pretty bad. I think it changed me permanently.

I don't think there's a magic button to fix things. Maybe sometimes if you keep at it you'll find people who are able to see you for what you are. Maybe there are good people out there somewhere.

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I really am uncomfortable in social situations for many reasons. I feel seriously inadaquate to others. I also fear what others think of me, and worry that I may offend someone somehow. When in a situation where I don't know people I will be the one who sits silently and observes. I have no issues talking with people in a forum like this where no one really knows me. I still have a desire though to meet people I have met here and made friends with. I guess I am confused and pretty messed up when it comes to social situations.

Aspen

Well, nice to see I'm not alone, lol, I always joke to my friends I'm not a good "mingle-er"and I actually envy others who can do it. I was at a conference recently, I went alone, and after it was over, everyone just got up and suddenly formed groups or started to talk to someone else and I remember trying to do that, but I just couldn't easily find someone to glide up too and start talking, I just left but I was disappointed as I wanted to talk to someone.

Still, for the most part I can do pretty okay in social situations--if I feel like I'm not being judged. I know asking personal questions is just a 'getting to know you' thing, but if I feel like those questions are being made to pre-judge me then I get defensive and angry and shy and just clam up. I will open up a lot if I don't feel like I have a spotlight on me and must answer all these interview questions right off the bat. And If I don't feel like I'm fitting in, I run. I know I should give it more time, but I will do it with the quickness and even on forums or chat rooms. I remember a chat room I loved going in, but a handful of people really knew each other and they always seemed to have some 'inside situation/discussion' going on, I never felt like I could fit in or include anything, but I found one person I liked and it was the only reason I kept going back.

I can open up more one on one, but not so much in a group,but it always depends on the situation.

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I wasn't abused as a child (certainly not by family), but I experienced relentless

bullying in middle and early high school, which sometimes transgressed into open

violence.

One of those experiences (the details of which are not publishable) keeps me from

being able to pee in public men's rooms to this day, unless I am in a closed stall

or by myself (okay, sorry if that was TMI ...).

I used to be incapable of performing any activity in front of a largeĀ® crowd of

people and I used to be afraid to speak my mind with most anyone. My time with the

military helped alleviate some of this (which is one of the few positive things

I can say about that experience ... ).

I am now speaking in front of larger groups of people (sometimes in excess of 200)

on a regular basis. But I only feel comfortable doing this, if I talk about a subject

within my field of expertise. I am likely to be the one person on a party standing

in the corner not really doing anything (other than drinking), unless I can find

someone to have a meaningful conversation with.

My hands get sweaty (and my face probably acquires an expression of pure panic)

if someone asks me to dance or wear a party hat.

But hey ... and here is the silver lining:

1) I still found someone to mate with ...

2) I successfully reproduced ...

3) I became a scientist, which includes "socially awkward"

on the job description ...

and

4) I manage to hide many of my insecurities behind occasional

outbreaks of profanity ...

Mike

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Guest Aspenleafquaking

Maybe some of you would like/benfit from learning face-to-face social skills. Not so sure those are best learned online. :)

Flamingcheeks, I spent the past ten years in a retail sales environment where face to face social skills were imperative to my livelyhood. I was very successful and able to gain the respect and trust of my clientel. So your statement does not always make a person able to be comfortable in a social environment.

Aspen

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest brattyfemale

Yes social phobia may be a gross eggeration however, I don't know what else to call it.

Like many people on this forum, whether indicated publicly or privately, I was abused as a child. (which I think may be the root to many spankee's problems)

Because of this, I have a few (hopfully not so opbvious) social issues. Aside from being rediculously akward (which is fun to joke about and has honestly played to my advantage at times), there are some social interations which I seem incapible of preforming.

The first of which is addressing people. While it is less difficult here on a forum which I had initally thought would be completely anonymous, it is still somthing to be struggled with. Even when giving out (((hugs))), unless the person being referred to is using a screen name as opposed to their real name, I tend to find ways around addressing people, even those with whom I am most close. Even my fiance says he has never heard me say his his name.

The other is eye contact. I can fake it pretty well by looking at people's noses or chins but actually looking people in the eye makes me so nervous that i feel as if I am going to be sick. I have recently started to work on this one and it has actually been quite rewarding. Its easy to miss alot when you dont actually look at people.

The point to all of this is: Given may of us have similar roots to our problems, does anyone else experience these social phobias? If so do you have any tips as to to how to alleivate them?

Yes, occasional shyness, but nothing approaching a "phobia."

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  • 3 weeks later...

once again i am so relieved I found this site. I feel a little less alienated each time I read a tread. I am kind of an oxymoron myself. I have hard times discussing serious topics. I use to drive Mom and one of my friends nuts because I would be standing right in front of them and hand them a note instead of communicating verbally. Also, if I am ever late for class, I just don't go because I can't stand the thought of grabbing everyones attention. I would also never go into the cafeteria by myself. I would wait for a group of students to go in and I would slip in behind them. I get dreadfully nervous when giving a speech or presentation. Now for the contradictory parts. I love acting on stage, making people laugh, and shocking people. One of my closest friends who is in her 50s says my brain is hard-wired for shock factor.....Oh, I almost forgot. All through school I hated getting group assignments. I would always ask as soon as possible if I could do the work solo. Most said yes, but one day to my pleasant surprise, when my english teacher denied that option, I instantly had three students rush over and argue over who got to work with me. We could only have three to a group. That day I wasnt nearly as nervous or anxious....

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once again i am so relieved I found this site. I feel a little less alienated each time I read a tread. I am kind of an oxymoron myself. I have hard times discussing serious topics. I use to drive Mom and one of my friends nuts because I would be standing right in front of them and hand them a note instead of communicating verbally. Also, if I am ever late for class, I just don't go because I can't stand the thought of grabbing everyones attention. I would also never go into the cafeteria by myself. I would wait for a group of students to go in and I would slip in behind them. I get dreadfully nervous when giving a speech or presentation. Now for the contradictory parts. I love acting on stage, making people laugh, and shocking people. One of my closest friends who is in her 50s says my brain is hard-wired for shock factor.....Oh, I almost forgot. All through school I hated getting group assignments. I would always ask as soon as possible if I could do the work solo. Most said yes, but one day to my pleasant surprise, when my english teacher denied that option, I instantly had three students rush over and argue over who got to work with me. We could only have three to a group. That day I wasnt nearly as nervous or anxious....

Glad it's all working out so well for you.

  • Like 1
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