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Starting to realize sources of my social anxiety?

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  anita 13 hours, 7 minutes ago.

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  • #202561

    Katie
    Participant

    I have not been diagnosed with social anxiety (and I don't even think I have it anymore) but honestly social anxiety is the only way I am able to explain my feelings in middle school. As I grow older, I am beginning to remember events that happened that may have caused me to socially shut down. I can remember freezing up when people would talk to me. I would isolate myself from my class mates because of the amount of anxiety I felt around them.

    Today, I have friends and am around people often. The only thing is I am very awkward. I think I am just awkward because of the years I spent in isolation. I didn't get any practice talking to people who I don't know well. I don't know, that's my conclusion.  But this isn't the point. I am posting this because I am beginning to remember certain events that caused me to feel worse about myself… and I think ultimately made my social anxiety worse.

    1) In 6th grade I moved to a new school and became friends with a couple girls. They were my first friends but they weren't my best friends or anything. Just school friends I guess. Then, half way through the year they began to be mean to me. They would talk bad about me on purpose right in front of me so I could hear. I remember this was very painful for me. They would get in big groups and talk bad about me. The other girls in the groups would usually just agree (they didn't seem to actually care about me or agree with what the 2 girls were saying, they probably were just agreeing to agree), while the 2 main girls were usually the ones actually saying mean things. While this seemed to make my anxiety worse, I remember feeling a little anxiety in social situations before this. When people used to whisper near me I used to assume they were whispering about me, although I feel like a lot of people felt like this. However, I felt enough anxiety about that kinda stuff that I feel like it was a problem, you know? I became super quiet and uncomfortable simply when people around me would whisper. I am not trying to self diagnose, but people…. this was so hard for me to go through. If I didn't have social anxiety, I had something. Because I KNOW something was wrong. I was such a quiet, awkward, uncomfortable, sad kid.

    2) In middle school my younger brother used to get in fights with kids on our street. Older kids would gang up on him. I personally felt like this was because I wasn't good enough, I was inferior to everyone, and that my family was also inferior. I don't know why I felt this way. Today, I don't feel that way at all my dad is an extremely successful businessman (CEO of a company on the fortune 500 list) and I come from a long line of awesome people. I am not saying my “awesome” family makes me worthy of anything, I am just saying I had no reason to be embarassed about my family or feel as if I was worthless. Anyway, one of the kids who would fight my younger brother was older than me. He would basically bully me (it wasn't a big deal, but it was kinda harassment).

    I don't know why I typed all this I think I just needed to write it out. What are your thoughts on this? Does it seem logical? I am not saying these things CAUSED my social anxiety but they made me feel so worthless. I hated myself. I had extreme self esteem issues. I am just on a slow but steady journey to figuring out why I am so shy and uncomfy in social situations. I am about to enter college and I want to be able to have fun with people. I want to easily make friends, you know? All of my life I had felt like an outcast. I hid in my shell. It wasn't until 2 years ago that I was motivated to make friends. I forced myself to become friends with everyone and I had so many friends. Popularity is such a dumb concept but my boyfriend was “considered” the most popular kid in high school. (I literally don't care about popularity and that's such a middle school thing to say. My point is he had so many friends. He was so confident and literally had no trouble in social situations. So the fact that I am with somebody like that proves I am not as unworthy of friends as I once thought I was).

    • This topic was modified 5 days, 2 hours ago by  Katie.
    • This topic was modified 5 days, 2 hours ago by  Katie.
    #202633

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    You are a very intelligent, very young person. But you will not think about what matters most. You think a lot about things in the periphery while staying away from the center.

    Your intelligent thinking is keeping you a distance away from what does need to be looked at, examined, thought about and figured out.

    You wrote: “my family was also inferior. I don't know why I felt this way”- this is the center. But you know nothing about it.

    Would you like to go into the center with me?

    anita

    #202929

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    Yes I would like to go into the center

    #202951

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    The center, I believe, is in your childhood experience at home, with your parents, with your family of origin. I believe it is true not only to you but to every human being.

    You wrote: “my family was also inferior”- will you tell me about it. Something was wrong, or inferior in your family. The child that you were noticed it and it bothered her. What was it, tell me best you can, anything that may be relevant.

    anita

    #203081

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    I can't really remember. I am trying hard to think. Maybe it was because my mom? She would complain about how none of the other moms like her. And she may not have been crazy in saying that because I can see other moms being rude to my mom. Girls are mean. Even grown women. But I constantly felt like everyone disliked my family. I don't know, I honestly can't remember a specific thing that caused me to feel like my family was inferior.

    But one thing that I can remember made me feel inferior in general was the fact that I was chubby. Kids would be super mean to me about it. They would make fun of me for it. They would say “oh, she wears a size L” (I would get mad because I honestly wasn't even a size large I was like a size medium). Funny thing is, my mom used to tell me about how she went through bullying because of her weight. I never told my mom that kids were mean to me about it, but my mom openly told me she used to be bullied for it. So, in my head, I think I thought “oh, my mom was made fun of for her weight and now I am being made fun of for mine” While I can't say I was bullied (my mom was bullied verrryyy badly), I was definitely put down for it. Maybe I saw this as something in my genes. Like I was born to be chubby and to be inferior. I don't know. That's my best guess but I honestly could be completely off/missing a lot. I feel like there is more to it than only that. There were lots of things that bothered me when I was young. I felt inferior because I couldn't concentrate like other kids. It was like I had a learning disability. This doesn't concern my family but I think that was definitely a reason for my low self esteem for a long time.

    #203087

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    I will read and reply to your recent post when I am back to the computer, in about sixteen hours. Take good care of yourself, and feel free to add anything else that may be relevant to the topic.

    anita

    #203153

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    It will take some time and effort to explore this one sentence (“my family was also inferior”). I have time and patience, and will be asking you questions. If you have the time and patience and are willing, we can proceed.

    You wrote about your mother, “She would complain about how none of the other moms like her…other moms being rude to my mom…my mom used to tell me about how she went through bullying because of her weight…my mom was bullied verrryyy badly”.

    Reads to me that your mother expressed to you a lot how she was bullied as a child and how she is still bullied, as an adult (by the other moms). Will you tell me more about what she shared with you, regarding being bullied as a child and as an adult? How often did she share with you how other people mistreat her, disrespect her and so on?

    (This is a note to myself, a quote from your recent post that I want to attend to later, following your next reply: “I constantly felt like everyone disliked my family…Maybe I saw this as something in my genes. Like I was born to be chubby and to be inferior… I felt inferior because I couldn't concentrate like other kids”)

    anita

     

     

    #203247

    Katie
    Participant

    Yeah, bullying really affected my mom. I remember sitting in the sun room almost every evening with my mom as she would sip a glass of wine. This is when she would talk about her life to me. She wouldn't always talk about bullying/ her childhood but sometimes it would come up. She would tell stories of how she was bullied for her chubbiness. One story I remember went like this… one of her neighbors came up to her house and asked her to play. So my mom said yes and then she was led to an entire group of boys who then threw rocks at her saying “lose some weight”

    Obviously this wasn't my mom's fault. My mom was just a little chubby, it wasn't her fault the kids in her neighborhood were so mean. She also grew up in a very bad neighborhood, there was a lot of violence. So this probably wasn't unusual for that area. Kids were just super mean. Maybe this, in conjunction with other kids not treating me the best either, made me feel very insecure.

    In addition to telling me stories of bullying, my mom also told me stories of how she went away on vacation one summer and got super tan and lost 20 pounds. She said as soon as that happened to her, everyone wanted to be her friend and she became super popular.

    Popularity is something that is kinda unavoidable when you're a kid, but usually adults tell you its fake. But here my mom was telling me stories about it. So… maybe I felt like I was very low on the “popularity scale” because I wasn't skinny nor tan.

    I'll think more about this and if I think of anything else then I will add on. I still don't feel like this completely explains it. My mom's stories may have warped my perception a little, but I feel like it was also things I observed in school. The popular kids were smart, athletic, skinny. I wasn't ANY of those things. I honestly think something was going on in my life that caused me to completely lose the ability to concentrate. Maybe it was anxiety? All I remember is being unable to concentrate. I felt like teachers disliked me. I was struggling a lot in school. I really try to emphasize the fact that later on I ended up doing VERY WELL in school. Proof it wasn't my actual intellectual ability that was causing me to fail all my tests. For all I know maybe it was just the fact that I was lazy and dumb. My parents would spend hours with me just trying to teach me multiplication.

    I remember once my mom and dad sat me down for at least 2 hours helping me with my math homework (we were learning how to multiply double digits). I was about 9 years old. I remember being so unable to grasp it. My parents aren't math teachers, but they were doing their best to help me through the steps. It took so long just to do one worksheet. It was extremely frustrating for me. I couldn't do it but after 2 hours I finally got through it. I came in to class the next day and my teacher asked me to do a problem. I couldn't do it because I still was unable to grasp it. Despite spending so long on it the night before, I couldn't do it when my teacher asked. My brain would not grasp it. I remember my teacher yelled at me so badly and began accusing me of using a calculator. I felt so upset because it literally took me HOURS to do this yet still couldn't understand. I was crying uncontrollably, which made my teacher believe I was just crying because I got caught. I don't remember getting in trouble, just yelled at. I felt so frustrated and hopeless. I felt stupid. This was my life from about 3rd grade to 5th grade. Just feeling completely inferior to all the students who could learn it effortlessly. Why didn't my brain grasp it? I don't know. But I was such a good kid, I never did anything wrong. So getting yelled at CONSTANTLY by my teachers just made me feel like complete garbage. I was yelled at so often for simply being dumb. I felt stupid, I felt slow. I felt like something that would take a normal student 20 minutes to learn took me 2 weeks.

    I know I kinda went off on a tangent but maybe that has to do with it. Doesn't really have as much to do with my family being inferior but rather how school made me lose all self esteem.

    • This reply was modified 1 day, 6 hours ago by  Katie.
    • This reply was modified 1 day, 6 hours ago by  Katie.
    #203321

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    In previous threads you described yourself as shy: “I am a very closed off, reserved, antisocial human being. I am one of the shyest people I know…I still am super shy”. But to me you come across not shy at all, not in any of your threads. You come across to me as open (not closed off), expressive, extroverted (not reserved), very social (not antisocial) and daring (not shy).

    You wrote: “I come off as having no personality, as somebody who has no brain, or somebody who is extremely awkward”- again, on your threads you come across to me as someone with lots of personality, lots of brain (although scattered on periphery as it may be), and not awkward at all.

    The way you see yourself, I am thinking, is not the way you are. Why is that, I ask myself and look for answers.

    February, you wrote: “I had a brief conversation with my mom… she was telling us stories of when we were young… a bunch of stuff about me at preschool…She told me that all the teachers thought something was wrong with me. They made my parents have me taken to see a therapist to find out what was wrong… but my mom said that each time they found nothing wrong with me and that I was simply a quiet kid”

    I will address the “quiet kid” claim. You naturally believe what your mother says, children do not question what their parents say. But I question what your mother told you, that you were a quiet kid. I don't have your story in front of me now, about how in preschool, I believe, on your birthday, you stepped on a chair and sang out loud, was that the story? This story fits better with how you come across on these threads.

    For some reason, what your mother told you about who you were (and who you are) is simply not true.

    And then, there is this issue: a mother telling her daughter that she and others thought there was something wrong with her.. but there isn't really, that is so wrong of the mother to do, so damaging, irresponsible. She told you that when they found out each time they took you to therapy or to a professional, that there was nothing wrong with you, that you were only quiet. Why tell the story then? What is the purpose?

    I will wait for your reply to the two items I brought up in this post.

    anita

     

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