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Old 03-14-2011, 01:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Emotional barriers

The concept of emotional barriers is something I've considered about myself for some time now, but just recently was able to really develop and apply the idea to the way I've been affected by social anxiety.

I wrote a essay about the subject this morning/afternoon, and would like to get some feedback on it and see how it applies to others. I apologize if the writing is scattershot or error-ridden. I wrote it just today with about half of my brain functioning. (dull-minded today)

Note: To get a better understanding of where I'm coming from in this essay, I'd recommend reading the mini-book I wrote "Thoughts of Mass Destruction", as Emotional Barriers is basically written as a continuation of the concepts I talk about in there.


Quote:
Emotional Barriers




I fear that people will “discover” me, “find me out”; so, I form a bubble, an emotional barrier that I put between myself and them. This barrier that will hide my true feelings, who and what I am. The thought of being exposed, of putting myself outside of this barrier is terrifying. I feel the sensation of being naked - no outer defenses to protect me.
Consciously and/or subconsciously, I am guarding myself from true/full exposure to the masses. I feel like this would be a weakness, that I would be made vulnerable (to: embarrassment, harm, or other negative situations) by exposing myself this way.
I put up the barrier, an exterior shell that hides my weakness, my true feelings, my essence. This would stand to create a disconnect between myself and others.

I confuse human emotion and sentiment with raw human essence, associating these things with “worth”. As a result, I begin to see displays of human nature and sentiment as pretentious and unfounded, and/or inappropriate.
On some level (or levels), I convinced myself that these thoughts, ideas, and feelings are foolish. A pretentious exercise in futility, fueled by human ignorance and desire to understand – mistaking sentiment for reason and logic.
Even discussions of certain typical human behaviors and interactions became a foreign concept to my way of thinking, and I would feel almost surprised, in a way, when others would divulge these things openly, as if they were “normal” and nothing to feel lesser for and ashamed of.


Going down the rabbit hole.
In my attempt to discard my vulnerability, I lock it away. I try to become a “thinker” instead of a “feeler”. I push my thoughts and feelings – my own human nature and essence - away from me; burying it deep down in the pit of my being.
By trying to embody this ideal, I widen the gap of disconnect I formed between myself and others. I create a facade of success – making myself more robotic than human, in order to live up to the ideal. Trying to program my thoughts and feelings to what I had devised as acceptable, logical and intelligent.

I elevated myself to a standard that valued intellect that is completely devoid of emotional influence. Anyone who would argue on behalf of “feelings” came off as foolish and dense.
The only feelings that are worth taking into consideration are ones that can be reasoned and quantified, and can be proven to have relevant and intellectual merit; and, are thus, acceptable.

Eventually, dropping the barrier and letting others into my “bubble” was practically unthinkable. I tried to force a shift in my thinking by openly making known things about myself that most would consider personal, and would be reluctant to divulge. However, this did very little to remedy the disconnect that I had forged with the world.

Ultimately, I would try to fill the void this type of thinking left in my life by searching for a connection to others that worked in harmony with this ideal. Continuing to not allow myself to connect to anyone in a real way, only basing the “connection” on tangible ideas, attempting to find worth and acceptance as a result of shared enthusiasm about a common interest – a justifiable circumstance.
This of course only lead to a false sense of acceptance and community that would last briefly before I would eventually realize/convince myself that I still had no worth, and thus no place, in the cliques I tried to fit into.



To whatever extent and applicability, the above illustration is just an example of the intricacies of this thought process.




A mechanism.
I believe I began to develop this thought process at a rather young age. I assume that it was likely a coping or defense mechanism, if not both, developed as a means of protecting my thoughts and feelings from my negative self-view - attempting to hide myself from my feelings of inferiority.

Unfortunately, however, the thoughts and feelings I attempted to hide from myself must also be hidden from others. This brought on feelings of fear of being “found out” or discovered as a fraud. Not knowing what the “real” me was, drove the fear of being discovered as lesser and unacceptable.

In reality, I think these feelings are the result of projecting my own self-image. What I see and despise in the trivial behaviors of others are the same things that I feared would be exposed in myself - my unhealthy view dictating negative responses to the idea of being “human”.


It will likely vary between people who suffer from this - or similar/related - thought-processes as to whether the feelings of inferiority begets the emotional barrier and disconnect; or, the other way around. But, I think understanding what we have done to ourselves is a big step towards finding a way to reconnect to our human essence (and thus, others), without feeling ashamed of it. And, perhaps, as a result, overcoming the irrational fears we experience in certain situations.
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Well barriers are really protection from seeming naive.

I mean if you don't have some sort of barrier, people will make fun of you.

The question is "Can you deal with being made fun of or not?" Even if you can, you might turn people off or away such that you won't become successful, especially in today's economy.

It's about pride mostly. A lot of the time you have to be a peon, and if you stand up for yourself, you risk losing it all, and people enjoy forcing each other into those risky situations where they don't have control. It's exciting and entertaining.
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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You are correct, Daktoria. But, what I am referring to here is irrational fears that occur for no obvious reason. Unhealthy emotional barriers that we create as a means of protecting ourselves, but are influenced by irrational negative self-images and/or fears that are, in actuality, not in effect at the time they we experience it. Barriers that end up trying to protect us from ourselves, rather than any realistic threat.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Barriers are irrational yet unrealistic?

Those are two different realms to me. Rationality is about abstract thought. Realism is about concrete sensation.

I also don't agree that barriers are irrational. Sometimes we think too much for ourselves, and our thoughts become convoluted such that our life strategies become inconsistent. We realize things early in life, and then we're thrown into worlds where believe the worlds' goals are important, and barriers are put up to reconcile between our early realizations and the worlds' goals.

Maybe that's why you believe rationality and realism are one and the same though - you believe the worlds' goals are necessarily compatible with our early realizations and that mistakes are made.

However, mistakes can only be made from deception, and the world is the only thing that can deceive. Even if the mind is generated functionally from the brain, that means the mind can only make mistakes if the brain is constructed deceptively.

AC, I don't like barriers, but the key to tearing them down is finding a way to recognize realizations and worldly impressions in a well founded and cohesive framework. For example, understanding a 4 dimensional cube in 3 dimensional context: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesseract (look at the videos half way down).

There are alternative reconciliations, but I don't see them as optimally proper or completely healthy.

For example, you can throw away your realizations and surrender to worldly impressions, but the problem with that is you no longer have a reason to be respected other than a lucky distribution of power.

You can also make a choice to impose your will on reality, but that can lead to heavy conflict, and reality always wins. The only way you win is if you didn't make any mistakes in the first place such that reality was compatible with you winning, but that begs the question of you winning at all because you might have just been an appendage of reality. Even a win-win possibility would be impossible because a game was never really played. You would just be a spot on the board or a card in the deck instead of a player.

Both of these are very dangerous ways to live. After all, nature is not all kind and friendly. In the cosmopolitan portions of the west, we have this peaceful interpretation of environmentalism, but nature can be rough, cruel, and abominable. It's a dog eat dog world in natural selection. Earthquakes, volcanoes, plagues, etc. Natural disasters go on and on, and of course there's the food chain and life cycle. If you ever visit the developing world, you can see how condemning going with the flow can be.

A barrier is really just a rough alignment between realizations and the world. I don't like reconciliation because reconciliation often involves compromise, yet the goal isn't to change realizations or the world. The goal is only to understand both in the same context.

When that barrier is turned in another direction, it becomes a path.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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To be quite honest, I'm having a rather difficult time deciphering your posts, Daktoria.

From what I can gather, though, it seems as though you have a vast misunderstanding of the issue I described in the OP. I can't be bothered to try and reiterate it at this time, but suffice it to say that - currently - I'm not seeing much relevance in what you've posted.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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This seems almost Vulcan to me. A complete suppression of emotion in favor of overwhelming logic. So instead of forming connections with people based on an emotional connection you search for logical similarities that exist between you which unltimately prove unfullfilling, because although these relationships should logically work out they lack the essential emotional connection that is required to maintain them. Or am I way off base on that? Assuming I'm not off base I can totally relate to that.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akorahil View Post
This seems almost Vulcan to me. A complete suppression of emotion in favor of overwhelming logic. So instead of forming connections with people based on an emotional connection you search for logical similarities that exist between you which unltimately prove unfullfilling, because although these relationships should logically work out they lack the essential emotional connection that is required to maintain them. Or am I way off base on that? Assuming I'm not off base I can totally relate to that.
Yes. This is one of the aspects of it.

My concern is how far this type of thinking goes in our lives, and how it may affect SA. Perhaps without realizing it, we're allowing this mindset to affect other aspects of our thinking.

For instance, if you're in a public situation and you feel paranoid that people are judging you, or you're simply afraid to really "be yourself". Maybe the emotional barrier we form in order to protect ourselves from the shortcomings that we irrationally fear is causing a disconnect from ourselves and others, which then causes us to feel paranoia about being "found out" for our weaknesses.

Basically, if we amplify our natural emotional barriers to the point of trying to eradicate the irrational, negative feelings that plague our psyche, we may allow it to go so far as to hinder our ability to relate to people on a very base level; thus, causing paranoia and irrational thoughts/fears (panic attacks/social anxiety) during trivial social situations.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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AnxiousCynic,

In your essay, you are, without a doubt, 100% describing toxic shame. It almost seems as if you know about it and are talking about it here! Just in your very first paragraph alone (of your essay) it clearly shows your toxic shame. I could go throughout the rest of your essay and point out many other instances of this. Your essay is just riddled with TS.

This is why I say in my thread (the link in my signature) that the majority of people with social anxiety have it because of toxic shame. SA is just a symptom of your true problem; toxic shame is the true problem.


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Visit the thread link below to find out the cause of SA for most of us and what to do about it: http://bit.ly/UeWprg
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