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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've come to realize I have so many avoidances I'm not aware of at the root of my anxieties; this is crazy. For example, I tend to go to lunch later so that there are fewer people in the room. I often go on the computer or on my phone just to distance myself from interacting with people. What's interesting is that I saw it as "that's normal because I prefer it this way, just a matter of taste," when in fact, it was avoidance. Do you sometimes realize that some behaviors you have are, in fact, avoidances?
 

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The way I see it, exposing yourself outside of your SA comfort zone can help or exacerbate your SA. Doing this correctly and in a gradual pace will do a lot in whether it helps or makes it worst. But avoidance for certain will make your SA worse and worse overtime. Even if it doesn't, it will not improve.

But comfort zone is always our refuge and our safe place. So for many, it's difficult to want to venture out of that. They less they do, they more harder it is for them to do so later on.
 

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Yes, I definitely do this. I think we all just get used to living a certain way because it's what we know and it's comfortable. In saying that it's pretty tiring to have to keep challenging ourselves though so it's not surprising.
 

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Yes, I find myself avoiding interacting with people when I should be seeking it out. Interaction with people reduces my SA but I find myself subconsciously avoiding it. For example I will text if at all possible instead of calling or meeting in person.
 

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Here's where I draw the line between avoidance and preference. Are you avoiding something that you would ideally want to do? (For any reason).

It's not at all clear to me I would benefit from making a phone call than sending a text or email. For example. That the world might expect me to phone isn't my problem, its reasonable that these preferences be taken into consideration.

On the other had, would I like to make a phone call because its quicker, or I find it easier to explain, its an avoidance.

It's important to draw the line because sometimes we assume we have to do every single thing that might generate anxiety.

Would I benefit from making small talk while having lunch? No? Then that person forcing me can **** off, it's not an avoidance its a preference and it should be respected.

I know the world isn't like this, but we can at least make the internal distinction and not just assume it's "avoidance". Might make no practical difference, but I'm not go to pointlessly torture myself just to fit the desires of others.
 

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I should also say, this is the difference between CBT and ACT of CFT. In CBT there is a pathologising of certain behaviours and thoughts. A thought is wrong and needs adjusting, a behaviour is an extension of this, and underlying what constitutes that pathology are social norms.

ACT and CFT are philosophically better grounded imo, and greater inquiry into what constitutes avoidance is considered. I refuse to accept that a dislike of a socially preferred communication device, or a norm such as small talk is justified as faulty.

Whether something is helpful or not, is a better guide than an absolute rule based on the tyranny of the majority, especially re how we internalise ourselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The way I see it, exposing yourself outside of your SA comfort zone can help or exacerbate your SA. Doing this correctly and in a gradual pace will do a lot in whether it helps or makes it worst.
Totally agree with this, I think the problem with CBT is that its very difficult to do correctly and all the therapeuths I have had didnt do it correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would add that a lot of people probably prefer to receive texts than phone call, because they also dont like interacting that much or just because its quicker for them to answer or they can answer later. So phone calling is not always better.
A problem I encountered with SA is that I tended to like less and less things. Being anxious about something made me think I didnt like it but when getting rid of the anxiety I realised I liked it but it was hidden by anxiety. I ended thinking that if I was anxious about something, I wasnt able to know for sure if I liked it or not.
 

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Yes, I am aware of a lot of micro-avoidances in my life.

In fact, from time to time I've intentionally "triggered" myself, or knowingly thrown myself into heavily awkward or risky situations as a kind of "exposure therapy/tough love" and failed miserably, and then tried to block out the memory afterwards lol. Even normal (non-anxious) people thought I was crazy. I think my problem isn't pure avoidance. It's more like a very poor gauge of "when should I avoid" vs "when should I expose myself" (that sounded wrong but you get my drift 馃槀). Sometimes the anxiety is unwanted, but other times the anxiety is actually good and protective. It's useful to be able to tell the difference between the two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, knowing when to expose oneself is difficult. Going to far with over-exposing is in fact probably an avoidance by itself : for example not exposing to the fear of avoiding and getting more anxiety as a consequence (this is probably not very clear!). This is why it's difficult to get out of these anxieties, they can be so intricated. The thing I'm sure is that it always need to be very light and progressive. And this is another issue : in some situations, it is either you do it, which is very difficult, or you dont and you avoid. Life doesn't always throw progressive challenges at our faces. In these situations we have to find a way to split the challenge in parts, which needs creativity.
 

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A few years ago I was very willing to go out and meet new people, however lately I don't feel like interacting at all. I've been avoiding bars and cafeterias for quite a long while and spending lots of time just inside my room. I only go out for work and for buying things at the supermarket. To my defense I can say I've been ill for the past months, so I'd rather stay at home than showing people my weak and ugly self now, I can't stand people's pity, it feels dishonest to me somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sorry to ear that, i tend to think that anxiety and illness often come together and reinforce each other. The other way is also true, when you get better it s often mental and physical. People's pity can be dishonest indeed, when social conventions tell them they should help you but they dont really want to invest time/energy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've been wondering if avoidance was not caused by multiple negative stimuli. I realized I could handle one stressfull event and have the "adequate" emotion such as anger for instance, but when I've had a second stressfull stimulus at the same time, I was overwhelmed and got anxious. An example is when someone was treating me in an unfair manner (according to me) I felt angry but then I realized becoming angry could make them agressive, which I don't like, so I would have to deal with anger+disgust which is too much at once and then get anxious. Of course it can be even more than 2 triggers at a time which is even more damaging. This is why it's so important to get consciousness of the stressful stimuli, to be able to separate them and expose on one at a time. Now i realize why CBT has always had mixed results for me when done with a therapeut, because I had to expose myself to the aversive stimulus proposed by him/her and to the negative stimulus of being in front of someone looking at me and telling me what I have to do (and to the negative stimulus of having to give them money for that). I could'nt concentrate on one or another.
 
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