Fear of Disapproval - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-15-2006, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Fear of Disapproval

Hi all,

It's my first post but I don't yet feel like talking much about my situation. I'll just say that I have very severe s.a.d. I'm trying to cure myself by getting to the root of the problem and examining beliefs and emotional reactions. So far I have found that the whole condition seems to be a fear of disapproval. I know, 'duh' . We don't get social anxiety symptoms around cats, dogs, insects. They can't disapprove and think something negative about us. It's only other humans that can make a 'social' judgement about us... and we care. I remember when I was first trying to find out what my weird condition was, I came across the phrase "fear of disapproval" and thought 'no that's not my condition, I don't fear disapproval'. It's astonishing how one's ego can hide such an obvious fact. Being honest with yourself is crucial to this process. It always comes down to a fear of other people thinking something negative about you.

It's only very recently that I've truly accepted that it is a fear of disapproval. Fearing disapproval is irrational/unintelligent/silly. It looks like the way out of this - through whatever method(s) you use - is to slowly make fearing disapproval such a silly thing to do that you stop doing it. To make it as silly as getting 'offended' if someone insults your mother.

I read some people posting that the solution is to think about all the good qualities about yourself, or to think that people aren't really disapproving. In my opinion, this is a very limited band-aid solution that keeps our well-being dependent on other people's opinions. We have to stop caring about and fearing other people's social judgements.

The fact is that some people WILL occasionally disapprove and assume something about us, we need not kid ourselves. However, does that mean anxiety about other people disapproving is justified? No way. We can all say "who cares what other people think!", but doesn't it feel weak? Perhaps we need to fix more strongly in our minds how truly silly it is to fear disapproval. We think we understand that it is silly, but as CBT reveals, there can be hidden beliefs holding you back. What if those people do think you're being 'rude'? What then? What if people do indeed think there's 'something wrong with you'? What then? This is the line of thinking and feeling that I am heading towards now.

I hope this is just stating the obvious, means I'm on the right track at least. It is sensible to be happy regardless of what others think about you.

Does anyone wish to contribute to why fearing other people's disapproval is silly?

Just my first 2 cents. Good luck all.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-15-2006, 07:00 PM
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You have a good first post! I am petrified of disapproval and even off-hand remarks from others that could or could not mean anything set my mind into panic mode & I wonder what I could've done or said wrong to offend them, and start going over and over and over the situation again, feeling worse about myself & my actions each time.

Sometimes I wonder if it's just too much analyzing and I need to not think too much about what people say to me. But then you bring up a good point...what if what people are saying is true & we need to fix a errant behavior? I guess I don't really know whether its a good idea to just be happy no matter what.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-15-2006, 07:13 PM
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I used to care more about what others think. Then I started to change a bit. It does get to me when I really don't have "friends" to go to because I am afraid if I make friends then they will eventually disapprove of me anyway. I have my mom, dad, spouse and two cats that I can feel accepted by.
Many years ago in HS, I lost trust in the so called "friends" I had. I always think about that and it really scares me to try and make friends. I always think that it will end up the way it did in HS.
Seemed like a waste of time. I should have focused on my school work more and that would have been better for me in the long run. I now see why kids I knew did not participate in all social activities. They were studying because that was their future. Not some friendships that would eventually be lost. Gosh, I sure ran to another area to complain about. Anyway, I do feel like people will disapprove of me and that makes me sick.
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