Pretty much everything that LifeTimer has said has hit home with me.
For 25 years I've lived with a lot of this toxic shame resulting in never having a lot of good friends and never having a true friend that I felt I could tell anything to. Gone 25 years without feeling truly close to anyone except my mom to a degree. Hell, never even kissed a girl.
I really can't figure out where things went wrong. I feel like my parents were really good to me with the only aside being maybe there was some perfectionism, high expectations, and I was an only child. I know my problems started around age 7 when I became a fat kid and starting having problems being picked on in school. I feel like there had to be more to it but I can't pinpoint it.
Eventually I became relatively comfortable dealing with people in shallow ways but could never, ever expose myself and all the shame in all sorts of parts of my life that snowballed.
Last week I had a major breakthrough, I always had some suspicion that I had SA but never researched it. When I finally broke down and looked at all the evidence it became clear that I'd been living with it and in denial nearly my whole life. I came to this site, started reading a lot and came to a realization that if I was ever going to beat this I'd have to admit to myself that I'd been living with a terrible condition and it isn't my fault. I had to come to terms with the fact that I'm not a "normal person" who is bad and has many flaws, but that I'm a decent person who is living with a socially debilitating disorder.
I was able to come out of the closet so to speak about all this to my mom. I decided that I had to accept who I am and my problems, and if my fate is to live alone and accomplish nothing in life, I had to accept that too. I've tried my best to make up for all the horrible years and love myself.
This last Friday, I happened to get a message on a dating site from a girl who was interested in me and wished to chat. She seemed like a nice person and I decided that I needed to throw caution to the wind and not hide anything about myself. Told her about my SA. I was completely honest with everything she asked including being a virgin and never kissing a girl. She's been a great listener and I've received nothing but empathy and compassion from her and I feel so grateful. She has flaws also and I've been able to relate really well with her. She's been really open to any of my personal questions. We've been constantly talking all weekend and I feel like because I was able to shed my mask with her, it's been truly liberating and cathartic. Now I feel completely comfortable when I talk to her and am free to have fun, flirt, and be myself, and will be seeing her next weekend.