Childhood events that triggered your SA - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
 
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Childhood events that triggered your SA


I am curious to see if there is anyone out there who has experienced either emotional or physical abuse, ridicule in school, or something in your childhood that has transformed you into an anxious person today.

I was in therapy last year (when I was able to afford it), always talking about the present and any future events I was anxious about... and one day, after about a year and a half of being in therapy with the same doctor, Out of nowhere I began talking about my mother and my lonely and anxiety-ridden childhood.

I disclosed that I was a sensitive and yet very happy child until I was about age 4 or 5. This is about the time when my mother started to hide in my closet and make scary "ghost" noises until I screamed and ran out of the room crying.
She would wait for me to go to sleep then crawl at the foot of the bed and shake the bed, and when I started frantically praying loudly she stopped and stood up laughing hysterically.
Age 5 or 6 I was proudly dressed as a pumpkin handing candy out to the trick or treaters... and dressed as a ghost with a sheet over her she rang the doorbell thinking it'd be funny to scare me. I had no idea it was her, and so I gave this adult trick or treater some candy and went to shut the door. She re-opened the door and shook the bag as if she wanted more candy.... I gave her more, went to shut the door, and she again pushed the door open and began chasing me into the house... I ran to my dad and was screaming and crying and he got mad and told her to take the sheet off and to stop being ridiculous. When I saw it was her I remember being so angry.

She did these kinds of things often and I remember a lot of them and being absolutely terrified each time. She thought it was funny.... and it wasn't that she was an evil person, she was just very young and immature and had no idea it'd have lasting effects on me.

Needless to say, my therapist's jaw dropped, and she said that those events definitely have a direct correlation to my anxiety today.

I believe the "social" anxiety is due to the fact that my mom never let me play with friends, she never let me do anything at all really... I was always home playing video games or playing in the backyard alone. Over the years, I got used to the solitude.

Unfortunately I had to drop the therapy last year because I quit my job and couldn't afford it... but I want to know if there's anyone who feels comfortable sharing any childhood events that may have something to do with your anxiety today... and if you've learned to get past some of it somehow...
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 08:13 AM
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I'm sorry your mum treated you like that Although she probably wasn't doing anything malicious, she didn't realise the impact it would have on you. Some people can have things like that happen to them and just laugh about it, while others, like us, absorb these experiences and they affect the way we are now.

I just posted a thread this morning about my experiences with bullying. I was bullied in middle school and for most of high school, which I think is what caused my extremely low self-esteem and social anxiety. My dad was also quite critical and judgemental, and would notice things I'd done/ said, pick up on them in an obnoxious way and make me feel embarrassed.

When I was going through puberty, he sometimes noticed and pointed out things that were really embarrassing. It's weird how I have definite memories of these moments but can't remember much about the rest of my childhood. We hold onto insults better than compliments I guess.
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 09:54 AM
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I'm sorry you had to go through those experiences. Sometimes parents do things without realizing the consequences it will have on their kids, and like you said, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are evil and deliberately trying to scar their kids.

I don't recall any specific event or trigger...I only remember always being a sad, shy kid. I grew up in a loving, supportive family and I was never bullied or called names (I was such a wallflower that people usually didn't notice me enough to bully me anyway) but I was so shy that I was never truly happy.

My mom and biological father were also very shy so I think it is just genetic. I would say that my biological father most likely had SA too.

However, there are things that my mom said when I was a kid that I can remember that stuck with me even though I'm sure she meant no harm by saying those things. For example, there was this girl at school who was fairly popular and very pretty and I clearly remember my mom saying, "Now, that girl is a true classic beauty." I'm sure now that the comment was made independantly of me but I took it as I was ugly and could never be a classic beauty like that outgoing, popular, pretty girl.... Another example would be if I had a boyfriend (before my bf of today) and we encountered a bump on the road, her first reaction was not to say he doesn't deserve me but usually a variation of, "Maybe he doesn't like you..." That always really bothered me for some reason.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 10:28 AM
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I couldn't really think of a specific situation, but I was always discontent and sad as a child. If I was forced to hang out with a group of girls at church, I would feel left out and just walk away after hearing them talk about their similar interests. I was always different, and talking about my interests would always receive strange looks. Sometimes, I wish they would have understand how I felt, but if they ever came over and asked me what was the matter, I would have completely froze and replied "oh, nothing".
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 12:02 PM
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I was always looked down on at school, and people made fun of me because of the way i talked. I then became quite chubby and i'd constantly get people commenting on ''how fat i had become''...This constant scrutiny from people (even family) caused me to suffer from anorexia for almost a year when i was 14 -15. I was cured of it but nothing has cured my feelings of self loathing and inadequecy. I distrust people because i think that they are going to hurt me.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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I think I was born with SA, my memories of social isolation go back as far as nursery.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 01:05 PM
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My first memory of SA was not wanting to go to a youth group at my church. I went anyway though just because of how friendly the youth pastor was and he really wanted me to go.

Yeah, pretty much ever since that.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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uhmm when i was a kid (end of 3rd grade) i moved to california from new york and i hung out with the girls in my neighborhood but they knew me as the girl with the funny accent and i was ostracized .... one of those girls absolutely hated me and spread rumors around the whole school about me

those are my first memories of being ostracized, tbh...
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 03:48 PM
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To make a long story short, I was raised by a single mom who was very protective over me. When I was growing up, she pretty much kept me away from any sort of emotional harm and never let me deal with or take care of anything on my own. She also wasn't around much because of work, night school, boyfriends, etc. so I was pretty much raised by babysitters. I also never had any sort of father figure until I was about 13.
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 04:44 PM
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Where to begin? I think if my parents had it their way, they would let me stay four years old forever, and just hug me when something was wrong and fix it for me. They're good parents, but I never learned how to do things on my own.

Then when I got a little older I started feeling like a weirdo instead of just a shy little girl. Once neighbors of ours had a party, and there were other girls there my age, but I didn't know them, and they were all congregated inside one of their room's, and I felt like it would be the most awkward thing ever to walk inside this girl's bedroom and try to talk to them. It made it worse that my younger sister quickly became friends with them all. So I just sat on the stairs most of the time and tried to pretend like I was waiting for someone when someone would ask what I was doing. So from then on I felt like in situations like that, there was nothing I could do to make myself feel okay, and I was always going to be the weirdo, so that made me unneccesarily mad at people who were having fun without me.
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 06:37 PM
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Once at daycare when I must have been six or seven, this kid and his friend were bullying me and trying to make me jump off this wall surrounding the property. I wanted to stand up for myself and tell them off, but I couldn't do it. I remember feeling threatened and ashamed at being so passive about it. Only later would I recognize this as anxiety. That's the earliest memory I can recall of being ridiculed and demeaned by my peers in such a way, and I believe it may have influenced the later development of my SA.


Luckily, they weren't able to make me jump. The daughter of the woman who ran the place (an 8 year old with a blue belt in karate. Tough little chick ) got in their faces and scared them off
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 07:17 PM
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Even as a young boy in elementary school and before, I was much more of a quiet homebody than a kid should be. But I only became fully aware that others found me objectionable when I went to middle school and the three elementary schools in the area were mixed together in that one school. I can still recall being ridiculed on one of the first days of school by a kid I didn't know. Sitting in a room waiting for a class to start, a kid a few rows over asked me if I did drugs because I had natural dark circles under my eyes and looked gaunt (and still do). He said I looked like a zombie. Then he reverted to whispering softly "zombie, zombie, zombie" for a while.

And that was the start of several events in middle school where I was picked on, the most mortifying being several instances when some girls pretended to come onto me only to laugh at me in an auditorium. I wasn't bullied physically and this ridicule wasn't even as bad as others I knew but for someone who already had social problems, a little bullying went a long way towards making me retreat further away.
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 09:01 PM
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Aww, I'm sorry for what everyone has been through.

My father left when I was a baby. I believe I internalized feelings of rejection behind his abandonment.
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 09:11 PM
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It feels pretty black and white for me. I was a loud kid, and always saying exactly what was on my mind. Every adult I encountered from 5-14 told me that this was wrong and punished me for it. When 15 came I found myself unable to honestly communicate with anyone at all. Shocking, I know.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 10:08 PM
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Im so sorry you had to go through that.

Personally, I think it was a combination of events throughout my life.
Earliest anxiety memory was going to the babysitters (which I was in full time), she would force me to eat meat (because I could never swallow meat). I would sit there for hours. While the other children played in the playroom. I felt embarrassed around the other kids. I must of only been 3 or 4.
Then in prep (was 5) at recess I wanted to climb on the pile of woodchips (they were prolly re laying the playground) so I ran up the top of the pile and some big kids pushed me off and I fell face first into mud, I tried to get up and they kicked me down again over and over.
I was always forced by my mother to play with other kids in the neighbourhood, or my many cousins. I hated it, because I would always feel scared of other kids.
In grade 5, I had a horrible teacher, that would always make an example out of me, he was also our PE teacher, he made me run twice and the other kids only once. I felt picked on by the teacher.
So then in high school, I wasnt really bullied or called names etc, but made to feel invisible and ignored. We had 2 seat desks, I would always have to sit alone. When we had to pair up, Id always be alone, and always the last person picked at P.E/Gym. I dreaded when the teacher said 'okay pair up'. No one really acknowledged me and the group of girls I did hang around at lunch breaks were just people I tried to stay close to because if I didnt have someone to hang around, Id end up in the library, hiding behind books (not that I was into books, it was just an escape). They ended up being total *****es.
I think my parents played a part in alot of my anxiety too. My mothers has no empathy, I think narcissistic and my dad is a perfectionist (possible OCD).
I never felt good enough or that what I did was ever good enough. I feel like they put high expectations on me and when I failed them everytime, I was nothing to them anymore.
I cant name every event, because some are just so hard to explain. But these are the stand outs.

I tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, do not be fooled by what I am saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying. ~ Charles C. Finn

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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 10:17 PM
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I was always shy but a few things factored into me being scared to socialize
1) moving in 4th grade and freshmen year
2) in middle school i had two fairly close friends that were not real friends but one week i went on vacation and came back to school and they wouldnt talk to me anymore. That was when i realized that people that i think like me may actually hate me.
3) when i was in 7th grade i was in a group with 3 other people who started calling me names and were laughing if i turned and looked at them, such as loser, dumbass, stuff like that
4) controlling dad
5) a ****ing douche **** tool

They say its the quiet ones that really want to scream
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 10:20 PM
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I have mild cerebral palsy. Around 5th grade, I started getting teased by kids. You know how it gets at that age. When I was in 6th grade, we moved from Washington to Georgia where I attended a school that was 95% black... and I am this little white disabled girl at a new school... I pretty much got tormented every day. I would fake sick to stay home, make myself throw up, beg my stepmom to homeschool me, and I'd even find places to hide AT school to avoid certain classes. I actually got my first F that year. In 7th grade, we moved back to Washington and the teasing went down A LOT, but by then the damage was already done. :/

Unlearn me. Ditch what I read, behind what I heard. Look. Find. Free.
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-22-2009, 06:10 AM
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-22-2009, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chantal View Post
Aww, I'm sorry for what everyone has been through.

My father left when I was a baby. I believe I internalized feelings of rejection behind his abandonment.
thats horrible I hope you one day get over these feelings

They say its the quiet ones that really want to scream
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-22-2009, 10:08 AM
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I use to be a very social and happy child until around age 7. I was overprotected by my grandmother (still am), and my mother was a total ***** to me my entire life, and when I was a kid would constantly verbally abuse me with phrases such as "I hate you, I wish you had never been born/don't ever have kids, It'll be the worst mistake you'll ever make/etc...". Also from grades 1-9 I was made fun of on a daily basis, sometimes even by the teachers. So I'm pretty sure that's why I'm the self-loathing, misanthropic person you see before you today.

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