Do overprotective parents lead to social anxiety?
I don't want to sound ungrateful or whiny about how my parents have ruined my life. They're actually very good parents who've raised me well and have taught me right from wrong. I have two degrees and a great job and I'm happy with my career. HOWEVER - I'm very shy, anxious and awkward in social situations and I think the reason for this is the fact that my parents have been extremely overprotective over my entire life. When I was in school, even middle school and high school, I wasn't allowed to go to birthday parties, hang out at the mall, go to the movies, sleep-overs, or to anyone's house. You can say I pretty much was not allowed to have a social life because my parents always thought something bad would happen to me.
I wasn't allowed to move away for undergrad so I stayed at home and commuted for an hour everyday to go to class. As a result, I didn't have your typical college experience and did not make many friends in university since I just went to class and then went home. For my masters degree, I was allowed to move away because my program was only one year. By that point, I didn't have any social skills because I wasn't allowed out when i was younger. I managed to make a few friends and had a good time going to parties, but still felt really anxious. Now that I'm working, those people I met during grad school still hang out and I get invited, but I feel so out of place. I want to be a part of that group and feel comfortable sooo badly, but I just can't. I feel extremely awkward in social situations at work too. And I just don't know how to feel more comfortable. I've never been allowed to have a boyfriend either so I never have. I\m not even allowed to go to the movies with a guy friend. My parents would only let me go somewhere with a guy if we were part of a group of friends - not two people alone together.
The one time I don't feel as anxious is when I'm traveling (to a foreign place) because I don't care what anyone thinks about me since I won't see them again. So naturally, I want to travel and you'd think that at 24, with a job, I'd be able to do that. But since I have no friends that want to go with me, I want to go alone which would be soo theraputic and would help me. But my overprotective parents won't let me go alone (I've been planning to go to Chicago).
Do you think my parents' overprotectiveness is to blame (at least in part) for my social awkwardness/anxiety? Does anyone else have parents like this? What do I do??