Shame attacking and beyond... - Social Anxiety Forum
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-20-2014, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222

Shame attacking and beyond...


Hi all,

First post here on this forum, although I've visited a few times before. I thought I'd share what I'm doing and planning to do, in order to try to alleviate or lessen some of my social anxiety.

About a year ago I got into ancient Greek philosophy, and it's reassuring to read that people 2000 years ago had the same hang-ups as they do now. It's pretty obvious that CBT's shame attacking was based on some of the techniques these philosophers used themselves, and on their pupils to overcome the fear of being disapproved upon. So with their cue, I've just started doing it myself. It's worth noting though, that I'd first intended to do this 10 months ago, but I found many reasons not to! First step is the hardest in anything like this I think.

I've done it for 2 days, but I plan to do it for 7, then see if I feel any different; although I can already sense small changes now. My first day I wasn't sure what I was going to do, or where, however I knew I had to buy some milk for later. So, bought a litre of milk and got back in my car. I tried to get out of going through with it AGAIN, but this time said no to the little voice. Anyway, parked up in a sidestreet, and started walking up a busy local road pretending the milk was a dumbbell, doing bicep extensions - facial expressisons to match. This got some double takes from drivers. Did that for a while, then decided I needed to be more obvious, so I carried the milk on my head like those African women carry things! This got much more of a response, some laughed, others gave bemused looks, and others just stared. I also balanced it on my head with no hands while standing still waiting for cars to go by, it felt good!

On my second day I packed a few items and drove to a village near me. I parked up, took off my top and put on a dressing gown, shades, and a red bandanna. I then walked through the village saying morning to people (it was evening) while monitoring their reactions. This outfit got some very good reactions, laughter, bemusement and even a bit of sympathy i think! I decided to up the ante by doing some stretching and press-ups against the wall, randomly sprinting alongside some cars, and dancing on the pavement - good reactions from the public again, as in; they were laughing at a "fool".

Third day today, not sure what I'll do yet, but I'll give you an update how it goes and ends! I can't say if this is going to work or not, but I'm willing to try. That's all for now....
Diogenes1982 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-20-2014, 06:09 AM
SAS Member
 
Woodoow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: France
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Posts: 179
Wow, you're a total BEAST ! I wanted to try shame attacking last year but didn't have the balls to do so.
Do you think the effects still last after that ?

PS : Ah, and welcome by the way.
Woodoow is offline  
post #3 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-20-2014, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodoow View Post
Wow, you're a total BEAST ! I wanted to try shame attacking last year but didn't have the balls to do so.
Do you think the effects still last after that ?

PS : Ah, and welcome by the way.
Thanks for the welcome. I think you find the sufficient motivation to try and tackle your anxiety issues when you get fed up of experiencing the same old destructive feelings over and over again. About 2 weeks ago I had a panic attack (hadn't had one of that severity for a long time) out of nowhere when in a group of friends and acquaintances - ok, I'd had a very unhealthy weekend of booze and hardly any sleep, so that didn't help, but no one else was in a state of mental flight other than me. The following week I could've propelled a rocket into space with my nervous energy, I was completely on edge and definitely felt like I was losing it. As a consequence, I've quit binge drinking forever - it's given me horrible anxiety hangovers for as long as I can remember, so no great loss. Anyway, once I felt relatively normal again, I thought it was time to actually do something rather than just read about ways to deal with SA. The ancient philosophers were always saying you need to put yourself through training in the real world, not just learn the theories, so, I decided to give shame attacking a go. If it's good enough for Zeno of Citium, it's good enough for me. Let's face it, it's easy to find enough people to act stupid in front of, so we've got this technique on tap for whenever we want!

But, very early days for me still, in fact I only did my 3rd exercise today. Basically I wore the same mental looking outfit as yesterday; dressing gown, red bandanna and shades. Parked up, and started strolling up and down a busy road with the usual stares and weird looks from passers by. What I chickened out of yesterday, was actually going into somewhere enclosed, like a shop, dressed like this - that was my main challenge today. So, I walked into a newsagents, put the shades on top of my head, went over to the ice cream freezer and picked myself out a white Magnum. Paid for it and the girl didn't even blink. I ate it outside infront of all the passing traffic, looking suitably crazy I think. Something interesting started to happen though; I was feeling that during the 2nd half of today's exercise like I was actually dressed relatively normally (obviously I wasn't), because I either wasn't noticing the reactions as much, or I just didn't care anymore. That could be an encouraging sign. Continuing with today's story, I initiated a few pleasantries about the weather, people answered back normally, although most avoided eye contact. I saw a guy on a bike riding towards me, so I challenged him to a race and ran alongside him for a bit - he was fine about it! Then I saw an old guy with a walking stick making very slow progress - I chatted to him, to be honest I don't even think he noticed what I was wearing. It turns out he'd fallen and damaged his spine a while ago, and he missed his bus. He was intending to walk a mile and a half but I insisted I gave him a lift in my car which was just parked up the road, so that's what I did! We must've loooked a good pair to oncoming drivers! Anyway, dropped him off and drove back towards home, needed to stop off and get some beers (responsible drinking of course) for later. I was planning to change before going into my most local Tesco, but I thought screw it, so kept on my dressing gown, bandanna and shades, and went in to buy my beers. Again, some double takes and long looks but no one cares. Exercise completed.

Will update tomorrow I expect. Peace.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
 
post #4 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-21-2014, 08:42 AM
SAS Member
 
Woodoow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: France
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Posts: 179
That's kinda... drastic.
I didn't know people could respond that well. I wouldn't get in a car with someone dressed like that haha.
Just waiting for your next experiences (7 days in a row ?! That's intense).
Woodoow is offline  
post #5 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-21-2014, 05:46 PM
Carpe Diem
 
AndreaXo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: California
Gender: Female
Age: 26
Posts: 145
Dude, you have balls. I don't know if i'd able to do something like that though sometimes i think i should, as it would probably help a lot. Good job though. The best way to overcome your fears is to tackle them head on.
AndreaXo is offline  
post #6 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-22-2014, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodoow View Post
That's kinda... drastic.
I didn't know people could respond that well. I wouldn't get in a car with someone dressed like that haha.
Just waiting for your next experiences (7 days in a row ?! That's intense).

Neither would I, but this guy was quite senior in years, so he wasn't really looking at what I was wearing. Anyway, I just gave him a lift because he needed one, not to "shame attack".

My fourth exercise has been the most extreme yet. One bit of advice for anyone who wants to try shame attacking; plan it all in advance so you know exactly where you're going and what you're going to do. This eliminates indecision leading up to it, giving you less chance to back out. So, it was a hot and sunny afternoon in England on Saturday. Parked up in a different small town, got out and put on a leather jacket, black leather gloves, bandanna, shades and took out my umbrella. Put the umbrella up and started walking around this town. More looks and stares as per normal. Having shades has made me feel more comfortable doing these exploits, so I decided it would be more beneficial to take off the shades, as I think I was hiding behind them. Heart rate went up once all could see my eyes, but gradually I got used to it. So much so, that I decided to use zebra crossings and walk backwards across them in front of waiting cars. I could see a bus driver was saying something at me, but I just didn't care - so that's a definite plus. I became more confident as the minutes went by, so started whistling (umbrella up all the time) and walking backwards in front of people, which I couldnt imagine myself doing at the start. Many strange looks, some laughs, some acknowledgements, 1 bit of non threatening abuse, but the main takeaway of this is that I didn't care about any of these reactions. All in all, very happy with how it went.

Today I had family visiting, so I couldn't really vanish off without informing them of what I was doing, and I haven't decided who I'm going to tell as of yet about this. So I've done 4 days in a row, day off today, resume tomorrow. I do think it's given me more confidence already, but I might have to do it for a month or more, to really destroy my SA. By the way, it's actually quite enjoyable once you get into playing the "fool"!

I'll let you know how tomorrow's exercise goes. Peace.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #7 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-22-2014, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreaXo View Post
Dude, you have balls. I don't know if i'd able to do something like that though sometimes i think i should, as it would probably help a lot. Good job though. The best way to overcome your fears is to tackle them head on.
I wouldn't call it balls, just the required motivation. I could never have imagined myself a few weeks ago doing all this, but here I am. Start slow and small, and build up. You can do it, we all can. Thanks.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #8 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 12:46 AM
ΓΤΖΜ
 
masterridley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Athens, Greece
Gender: Male
Age: 33
Posts: 3,731
Diogenes would be proud!

I like how you're constantly upping the ante eg taking off the shades. If you can do the same things at your hometown in the end, I think you'll be cured. It's not the things that affect us, it's our perception of them - Epicurus.
masterridley is offline  
post #9 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by masterridley View Post
Diogenes would be proud!

I like how you're constantly upping the ante eg taking off the shades. If you can do the same things at your hometown in the end, I think you'll be cured. It's not the things that affect us, it's our perception of them - Epicurus.
Thanks for your post. Diogenes and co. have actually given me some of the confidence to go out and do it, maybe they're watching from above. You make a good observation - my home town centre is much bigger than the ones I've been too so far. That amount of people is a bit mentally overwhelming for me currently, so I need to build up to get to that stage. Ideally I'd like this training to culminate in me being able to stand in a busy part of my hometown and read out jokes from a jokebook, or tell a story, without any regard to the public's reaction.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #10 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
I've been to*
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #11 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
There was one bit of Saturday's escapades that I forgot to mention; I saw the same bus driver, who mouthed something derogatory at me, a 2nd time in a different part of town. He kept true to form and was saying something at me as he approached in his bus, so I just kept watching him and staring at him (a bit crazily), and when he went past he pulled a hillbilly/"dumb and dumber" type face at me as if I was truly crazy. This has been making me laugh ever since it happened. If you think about it, his faulty judgments have caused him to regress to playground age where he's making faces at an adult like an 8 year old. What does this say about him? I hold no animosity against him though, I just find it very amusing. But on the flip side, some people have been sympathetic/caring by saying "hi" to me first. It's as if they want to treat me normally in order to help me. Of course, I could be imagining this, however I've said hi before to "crazy" looking people, for the very same reason I think people say hi to me first; a caring attitude towards others worse off than ourselves.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #12 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
Today I left all the outfits at home, and decided to do more on interaction with the public. Went to my local Tesco Express, parked up and walked backwards across the car park, and backwards through the entrance. A couple of people saw I think, but had to watch where I was going! Bought a Pizza, did some more walking backwards in the aisles, not many people there but I was making it visible to see for anyone who looked up. Paid for the pizza, but thought I could spice it up by giving him the wrong change. Picked out 4 (3.89 was the required amount) and gave it to him, then I kept putting coins in his hand way over the amount. I apologised saying I failed every maths test at school I took. He was very kind, I thanked him and walked away backwards for a few steps.

Then I drove to a retail park, chatted to a guy in the car park saying I'd had a bad day and wanted to come to Halfords to cheer me up. Very decent bloke even though I was acting weird, I said bye to him and walked away backwards for a while. Entered Halfords normally, said "good morning" to two different workers there, then basically walked out. Saw the same bloke again, said "bye, have a good morning".

Next I drove to a local newsagents; picked out some crisps and a chocolate bar, took them to the counter. Then I picked out a lottery scratchcard to buy, and asked what the total was, he said 2.40, I gave him 2.10. I told him I can't do maths, he was fine, just picked out the right money from my hand. Then I asked him to explain the scratchcard, which he did well; I played stupid and pretended not to understand, he was very patient. I said, "can I scratch it here at the counter?", he agreed. Scratched away at an area where I knew there wasn't any symbols underneath - I said "it's a con", amongst other things. Playing this lunatic type character was actually a lot of fun. Anyway, after taking painfully long to scratch away all the card, with random chat thrown in for good measure, it turns out I won 2! I put it in the charity tin on the counter and said my goodbyes. A very successful exercise and equally enjoyable.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #13 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
With reference to all the "good mornings" I was saying, it was evening time.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #14 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 10:35 AM
SAS Member
 
Woodoow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: France
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Posts: 179
That bus driver showed how people can be rotten...c'mon, a full grown bloke poking fun at a (false) lunatic .
Seems like most people are way cooler than they look like though.
You have a lot of courage. The exercices I planned weren't that stressful but I still can't manage to do them.
Good luck for your last 2 days.
Woodoow is offline  
post #15 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodoow View Post
That bus driver showed how people can be rotten...c'mon, a full grown bloke poking fun at a (false) lunatic .
Seems like most people are way cooler than they look like though.
You have a lot of courage. The exercices I planned weren't that stressful but I still can't manage to do them.
Good luck for your last 2 days.
There'll always be people like that bus driver, however from my experience so far that's about 0.5/1% of people - maybe even less! Don't let that put you off...most people just ignore you, smile or laugh. I'd encourage you to try shame attacking, but just start off very small and slowly build up. Why not just wear a hat you don't like, or a t-shirt you think is unfashionable, and just get used to walking about town in it. Then the next time, go a bit further, and so on. The first step is the hardest, it really is....

Thanks for your well wishes.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #16 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
Actually when I really think about the number of people I've walked past or have seen me, the bus driver type Neanderthals are more like 0.05/0.1%, and it's probably still less!
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #17 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
The whole point of these exercises are to realise that it doesn't matter what other's opinions are of you. Yes they might think you're crazy, but so what!? You know different. But even if you are crazy and other people think it too, it still doesn't matter. Your opinion of yourself is all that's important.

Anyway, went to 2 supermarkets today; lots of walking backwards in front of people, some whistling and a tiny bit of Christmas song singing (not loud), some random chats and odd questions to people, and making a bit of a scene when paying by card for my items by pretending to forget my PIN number and generally taking ages. I'm becoming much more comfortable doing this stuff in busy places now - couldn't have done this at the start, no way. In my humble opinion it's about challenging yourself little by little each day. Peace.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #18 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 11:13 AM
SAS Member
 
Woodoow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: France
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Posts: 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes1982 View Post
There'll always be people like that bus driver, however from my experience so far that's about 0.5/1% of people - maybe even less! Don't let that put you off...most people just ignore you, smile or laugh. I'd encourage you to try shame attacking, but just start off very small and slowly build up. Why not just wear a hat you don't like, or a t-shirt you think is unfashionable, and just get used to walking about town in it. Then the next time, go a bit further, and so on. The first step is the hardest, it really is....

Thanks for your well wishes.
That isn't so reassuring. I'm sure some people were thinking what the bus driver did.
If I ever start shame attacking, I'll start with something like walking weirdly as I have this anxiety to be seen walking (weird I know). Or eating disgunstigly in public, but I'll never have the nerve to do something this intense. Plus I'm scared some people might recognize me later, or worse, upload it on Youtube haha.
The problem is with social anxiety we're so attuned to what people think of us (or just a few of us maybe ?), that we lose our personality, and can't define our boundaries. It's awesome if you can manage to get over that.
Woodoow is offline  
post #19 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodoow View Post
That isn't so reassuring. I'm sure some people were thinking what the bus driver did.
If I ever start shame attacking, I'll start with something like walking weirdly as I have this anxiety to be seen walking (weird I know). Or eating disgunstigly in public, but I'll never have the nerve to do something this intense. Plus I'm scared some people might recognize me later, or worse, upload it on Youtube haha.
The problem is with social anxiety we're so attuned to what people think of us (or just a few of us maybe ?), that we lose our personality, and can't define our boundaries. It's awesome if you can manage to get over that.
Yes, I'm sure some were, but the aim of all this is to cause disparaging looks or similar, in order to stop being overly sensitive about what people think of you. Therefore getting disapproved of by the public is exactly what we want; therefore I can only quantify abuse, laughter at me, or complete ignorance, while personally not caring for these public reactions, as an unmitigated success!

We're all developing as people as we age, however at 18 you can't be too hard on yourself that you haven't got it all figured out yet, who has!? But I think this shame attacking thing could help younger people develop without being held back by social anxiety, like I was at your age. I certainly wish I'd given it a go 10 years ago, because even after 7 days (30-45 mins each day), I feel more comfortable in situations that caused me anxiety. It's not an overnight thing, but I reckon if I did another 3 weeks while upping the stakes a bit each time, I'd get quite close to where I want to be.

Thanks for your post.
Diogenes1982 is offline  
post #20 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
SAS Member
 
Diogenes1982's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Posts: 222
Today's shame attacking was similar to yesterday, except that I went to the busiest supermarket in the centre of town. Some walking backwards, strange questions to the public, whistling and singing, and just general odd behaviour, was the order of the day. I felt a bit more self conscious today due to the number of people there, however it wore off as I went along mostly. I did get a bit flustered by the girl cashier when I was pretending not to know my PIN number and taking a long time to pay by card, however it was all in my mind, she was very patient. The likelihood is; because she was younger, attractive and nice, I was more conscious of my behaviour. But I'd still give myself a 6.5/7 out of 10 for that part, so that's fine. I think I need to come up with something to push the boundaries a little, to get out of my comfort zone again...
Diogenes1982 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Shame Attacking...excersises? Fernando Therapy 3 11-20-2013 03:25 PM
On shame-attacking exercises... Shadowweaver Coping With Social Anxiety 6 10-23-2013 07:40 AM
Shame attacking craig1212 Frustration 4 02-12-2012 08:37 PM
Shame Attacking Exercises AndyLT Therapy 52 02-02-2010 01:23 PM
Shame-attacking exercises, anyone? creativedissent Triumphs Over Social Anxiety 1 12-05-2008 09:42 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome