Shame attacking and beyond... - Page 2 - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #21 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 03:32 PM
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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...
Sigh, young (late teens-early20s) nice girls are always the most anxiety-inducing ones .
Do you have some particular trigger to your anxiety that you didn't made an exercise to counter ? Just a suggestion.

Last edited by Woodoow; 06-25-2014 at 04:52 PM. Reason: Wrong interjection
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post #22 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Sigh, young (late teens-early20s) nice girls are always the most anxiety-inducing ones .
Do you have some particular trigger to your anxiety that you didn't made an exercise to counter ? Just a suggestion.
Good question and suggestion. Speaking in front of groups of people has always and still does make me nervous, however I plan to address that when I'm further down the path with this shame attacking. Seeing that I get tongue tied with pretty girls, that's probably a good one to base an exercise on in the near future.

Today I went back to the main supermarket as yesterday; there was a guy doing demonstrations in front of a group of people trying to sell a special kind of knife. I chatted rubbish to a few people watching, then I started clapping for a couple of seconds which drew attention to me in front of about 15 people - this definitely was on the edge for me regarding limits at the mo. He announced the price of the knife to be £25, I shouted out , "£5", then he said he wasn't there to negotiate, then I shouted "£7", he ignored that. Again, that was the limit for me in how far I could go at that moment. I walked off and did some backwards walking, a few jokes with people, odd questions, suggesting weird combinations of foods when I saw people looking at certain items, things like that. I think tomorrow I'll do an outfit shame attack, I want people to openly look and laugh or scoff at me, and feel immune to them. Peace
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post #23 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 01:00 AM
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Sigh, young (late teens-early20s) nice girls are always the most anxiety-inducing ones .
Can I ask why if you don't mind? Wouldn't you feel better if a young girl was nice and patient to you? I don't see why this would be anxiety inducing...?
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post #24 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 05:52 AM
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Can I ask why if you don't mind? Wouldn't you feel better if a young girl was nice and patient to you? I don't see why this would be anxiety inducing...?
That's true in a way, but I care less about how I come accross to rude girls.
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post #25 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Time for today's update...another big supermarket was the venue - good places for exercises in my opinion, because it's possible to initiate chat quite easily, unlike just walking about a town. I parked up, took my polo shirt off, put my dressing gown on and red bandanna, locked up the car and walked in. This was the first time I'd been to a local central place place dressed as a mentalist, but to be honest, my previous 8 days of training meant that I slotted straight into feeling "ok" almost straight away. This feeling of not caring while dressed like I was felt good, especially compared to my state of mind before I started shame attacking; previously I'd be very self conscious just walking about a supermarket dressed normally, now Im indifferent to people even dressed in a bandanna and dressing gown! This has to be progress. Anyway, I did some random chatting with people, jokes, some suggesting of items people should have, Christmas singing (bing Crosby - white Christmas), saying good morning to people (it was evening time) and the occasional bit of backwards walking.
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post #26 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Today's post: more supermarket shenanigans, usual stuff - I'm sure y'all bored of hearin about it! Actually today it took me a while to loosen up and feel relaxed while acting the fool. I think I was too focused on eliciting a certain reaction from people, instead of just saying what weird stuff came to mind. Anyway, after 15/20 mins I got in the groove. Went to a retail park after Asda, was on fire being the village idiot, while not caring for any negative reactions. Peace.
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post #27 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 01:18 AM
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Interested in your stories


This is some amazing stuff you're doing. As for me, I really enjoy hearing about it, gives me hope. I always start out pretty well at stuff like this but something happens that is really embarrassing to me and I lose steam after awhile.

For example, a few years back I was trying to get myself to go to parties more. If you ever heard of couchsurfing.org, the people associated with it often have parties at public venues. It was a little less scary than trying to meet strangers, because it's socially acceptable to talk to others at a party, but since I didn't know anybody, it was still awkward.

One time, I invited some people I met at my hostel (I was visiting Hong Kong at the time), and the people I invited ended up making complete asses of themselves. Getting ****faced, annoying everybody, pissing in the street, etc. I felt really embarrassed about it all since they were with me, and I couldn't force myself to go back the next time the party was held no matter how hard I tried.

Looking back, it probably wasn't a big of a issue as I thought, but try to convince me of that, then!

BTW, I noticed that every time you go out to shame attack, it seems you are playing a character, i.e. not being yourself. Have you ever thought of being real and saying normal things and asking normal questions to the people you meet? I mean, you probably have some things you'd really like to ask the people on the street, right? I just wonder if that would be harder than playing a lunatic character every time.

Keep up the good work! Hope you succeed at breaking out of your anxiety.
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post #28 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 05:49 AM Thread Starter
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This is some amazing stuff you're doing. As for me, I really enjoy hearing about it, gives me hope. I always start out pretty well at stuff like this but something happens that is really embarrassing to me and I lose steam after awhile.

For example, a few years back I was trying to get myself to go to parties more. If you ever heard of couchsurfing.org, the people associated with it often have parties at public venues. It was a little less scary than trying to meet strangers, because it's socially acceptable to talk to others at a party, but since I didn't know anybody, it was still awkward.

One time, I invited some people I met at my hostel (I was visiting Hong Kong at the time), and the people I invited ended up making complete asses of themselves. Getting ****faced, annoying everybody, pissing in the street, etc. I felt really embarrassed about it all since they were with me, and I couldn't force myself to go back the next time the party was held no matter how hard I tried.

Looking back, it probably wasn't a big of a issue as I thought, but try to convince me of that, then!

BTW, I noticed that every time you go out to shame attack, it seems you are playing a character, i.e. not being yourself. Have you ever thought of being real and saying normal things and asking normal questions to the people you meet? I mean, you probably have some things you'd really like to ask the people on the street, right? I just wonder if that would be harder than playing a lunatic character every time.

Keep up the good work! Hope you succeed at breaking out of your anxiety.

Thanks for your post, and I'm glad you're enjoying reading the thread. It's always been the negative thoughts that have stopped me doing this up to now, but once you take the first step and then commit to it, you just end up getting in a routine; like any type of training. In my opinion we need to embrace the embarrassment - I've felt my face go red a number of times, but it's about controlling those feelings and realising that it really doesn't matter what people think of you anyway.

Yes, I've heard of couch surfing, and fair play to you for putting yourself out there in direct and close social situations with strangers - something I haven't been good at in the past. Obviously if we were to look at your situation rationally, you're blameless and shouldn't feel embarrassed, as you didn't know those guys would end up being drunken louts. Their behaviour was completely out of your control, therefore you shouldn't feel any responsibility for their actions. But of course, I know how irrational we can become at times!

You raise a good point. I've wondered with shame attacking; how far should we go with trying to provoke shameful reactions from the public by acting weirdly, while not becoming too much of a "character" which is easier to hide behind. Although it may sound like I'm always playing a character, I'm making sure that it's just an exaggerated version, sometimes very exaggerated(!) version, of myself, but "different" enough to provoke a strange look, laugh or complete shunning from the public. The aim of these exercises in my view; is to treat other's opinions of you with complete indifference, thereby freeing yourself from the fear of being judged by others, which as a consequence stops you doing the things you want to do in everyday life. Therefore, in order to challenge this hang-up I have about what people think of me, I believe the most effective and time efficient strategy for myself, is to do what I'm doing, while upping the ante a bit each time. Interestingly, sometimes after I've done a shame attacking exercise, I like to go and interact with the public just as myself, like you suggested mps625, in order to monitor my feelings of anxiety, and whether they've decreased. For instance yesterday, after my shop antics, I went to a couple of pubs and chatted normally to people without any great feelings of nervousness. I hardly had any worry about walking into places on my own, or what people thought of me. So doing this type of thing afterwards can be a valuable evaluation of how your training is going. Thanks mps625 for your comment.
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post #29 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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I've decided to take today off, feeling tired and just generally feel like having a break. I did 6 days in a row this week, of 30-60 min durations. My plan is to continue tomorrow for another 6 days. Ideally I'd like to do 30 days in total and see where I am after that. So far I've done 10, and I do feel like it's making a positive difference. Have a good evening everyone, or day, depending where you are. Peace.
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post #30 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-30-2014, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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This evening I walked around my hometown in my dressing gown and bandanna, I felt comfortable almost straight away. There wasn't many people about due to the time, but I was surprised at how little attention I was receiving. People only seemed to laugh or smile when I said "good morning" to them, otherwise they either ignored me or just didn't notice. I had a couple of chats with people, one in the street and one in the betting shop. However in the betting shop I made myself laugh by telling the guy working there that I was going to have turkey for dinner. Not sure why I found this funny, but I did, so left shortly after and came home. Quite a short exercise today, but the location was a step up for me, even without huge numbers of people there.
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post #31 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-30-2014, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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By the way, I'm having pizza for dinner.
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post #32 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-30-2014, 12:56 PM
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I don't know about the other guys, but I certainly don't feel bored when I read these. If anything, I feel the opposite, anxious.

Do you think that after some point your mind will get it that there's nothing to be afraid of? Or do you think you'll relapse if/when you stop doing that?
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post #33 of 309 (permalink) Old 06-30-2014, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know about the other guys, but I certainly don't feel bored when I read these. If anything, I feel the opposite, anxious.

Do you think that after some point your mind will get it that there's nothing to be afraid of? Or do you think you'll relapse if/when you stop doing that?
Thanks, I'm pleased to hear it's not too boring to read about. Actually, I had the same feelings of anxiety which you have from reading this, when I watched some shame attacking on YouTube. A natural thing if you contemplate yourself doing something similar in the future I feel.

I'm not sure of the answer to your question to be honest. I think a month of these exercises could break the back of my social anxiety. However, I'll also need to prove to myself that my prior beliefs were false. So in order to really conquer this, I think I'll need this "2-pronged" approach; exposure/endurance and analysis/instilling of correct beliefs. I'm sure I'll have relapses sometimes, but perhaps the severity and frequency will be less and less with time. Something I've thought about is maybe just doing some shame attacking in the future when I feel like I need it - pretty easy just to go out for half an hour sometime in the day and do an exercise if you're feeling you need a boost, because that's what it gives you afterwards; quite a large boost!

Thanks for your comments and questions.
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post #34 of 309 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Yesterday's update


I went to a retail park yesterday and basically went in each shop there and initiated conversation with people. Sometimes it was normal with some added strangeness to get them to double take me, other times it was jokey and weird. On one occasion a man was looking at a table for sale, so I went up to him and acted liked I worked there, and told him it was "Amazonian" wood and we'd just got some in. He seemed to believe me; after a bit more chat I said, "come and find me if you have any more questions". This felt quite outrageous, but fun too. I was tempted to go home after this retail park, but as there wasn't loads of people there I decided to go to the supermarket to get more exposure. Usual stuff there; bit of backwards walking, random chats, singing White Christmas and suggesting to a woman she tries various yoghurts with fish and meats, and also to a big bloke that he should try pouring tea and coffee on his rice when he has Chinese food.
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post #35 of 309 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Forgot to say; I did some strange running and sidestepping outside the stores, as well as telling people they were selling computers for £5 inside.
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post #36 of 309 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 01:10 PM
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I'm not that much on the internet these days but your stories are far from boring.
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post #37 of 309 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not that much on the internet these days but your stories are far from boring.
Thanks Woodoow; I'm relieved I'm not droning on too much.
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post #38 of 309 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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More supermarket capers


Yes, you guessed it, back at a supermarket again today. They really are the perfect venues for this type of thing, in my opinion anyway. Always plenty of people there - whatever the time. Proximity to said people is also very good for chatting to, or being seen doing whatever you want to be seen doing. More backwards walking, a couple normal chats, several weird chats, some asking for strange items (bone shaped crisps that taste of sardines, meringue flavoured peanuts), weird food combination suggestions, White Christmas singing and whistling, stopping a staff member and pretending I'd forgotten what I was going to say - plenty of awkward pauses too, and paying for my items acting as if I hardly pay by card (asking if they accept cards, what's the minimum spend, giving my snooker club card as a loyalty card, forgetting PIN number). I also shouted out "hello" loudly - this could be a new one to start doing, as I felt a bit out of my comfort zone.
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post #39 of 309 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 11:09 PM
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Iíve never heard of shame attacking before, so reading this thread is really inspirational. I would never have the gall to do any of this stuff in public, at least not sober. For me itís often the little things, like making small talk, that are the most challenging. I really look forward to finding out what effect all this has on your anxiety.
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post #40 of 309 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 02:31 AM
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Today's post: more supermarket shenanigans, usual stuff - I'm sure y'all bored of hearin about it! Actually today it took me a while to loosen up and feel relaxed while acting the fool. I think I was too focused on eliciting a certain reaction from people, instead of just saying what weird stuff came to mind. Anyway, after 15/20 mins I got in the groove. Went to a retail park after Asda, was on fire being the village idiot, while not caring for any negative reactions. Peace.
This has got to be one of the best threads I've ever read! And funniest too.

When you feel vulnerable and your psychological defenses are failing the best defense mechanism is to be more trusting.
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