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In trying to determine my core fear I compiled a anxiety hierarchy on paper. Basically that means you start with something that's the biggest fear and work your way back at an attempt to find what's at it's root. It may be a helpful exercise for some of you. I hope you don't mind my sharing.

I'll try to keep it brief and summarized. At the top is my main situational fear. Directly below it, is my main fear about the situation. After that, I'd ask myself "Why?" and answer that question accordingly. When I found I could no longer answer the question "Why?" that seemed to be my core fear.

I have 4 situational fears, Working, Family Gatherings, Social Gatherings of my Peers/Parties, and Running Errands/Shopping.

And, there is HUGE IRONY at the end, so please take the time to read all the way through and you may find the same irony for yourself.

This is my Core Fear Anxiety Hierarchy:

Main situational fear:

WORKING

>
I'm afraid of making mistakes.
Why?>
Because I'm afraid of aggravating and frustrating others with my questions and mistakes.
Why?>
Because I'm afraid of appearing stupid and appearing to lack common sense and appearing to be a slow learner.
Why?>
Because it makes me feel like a failure.

Core fear for working=failure

FAMILY GATHERING
>
I'm afraid of hurting someones feelings.
Why?>
Because they will think I'm mean and hateful and selfish if I'm too quiet.
Why?>
Because I won't be acting happy enough, talkative enough, interested enough or out going enough.
Why?>
Because I care about them and in turn care what they think about me, which makes me anxious, which makes me quiet and I don't want to disappoint them.

Core fear for family gatherings=disappointing others

SOCIAL GATHERINGS OF PEERS/PARTIES
>
People will think I'm skinny and weird.
Why?>
Because they will judge me on my appearance and awkwardness.
Why?>
Because people tend to point out my flaws and laugh at me and make comments.
Why?>
Because I am different from them.

Core fear with social gatherings of peers/parties=feeling different

RUNNING ERRANDS, SHOPPING
>
I feel extremely judged.
Why?>
Because I am uneasy about making mistakes.
Why?>
Because I am feeling very conspicuous and awkward.
Why?>
Because I feel like an outsider, like I shouldn't be taking up space on the road, in the store or on the street and I shouldn't be bothering people.
Why?>
Because I feel like I stand out and everyone knows my business and can see my thoughts.
Why?>
Because I feel different from them.

Core fear of running errands and shopping=feeling different

If you are having trouble determining your core fear, try this exercise. I thought I had a good idea of the answers until I started asking myself WHY and really pondering.

THE HUGE IRONY:

My core fears: failure, disappointing others and being different from others is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here's how: If I never work, never TRY, waste my college education that will be a failure. If I continue to avoid my family that will do nothing but disappoint them. And if I live my life like a hermit, avoiding people like the plague, not shopping, running errands or attending parties like everyone else that is being different. My three worst core fears are, every day, being fulfilled BY THE SA. Food for thought.

Sorry so long - just wanted to share this exercise.
 

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You're smart!
I've thought of this, once.
Really, once.
The thought depressed me, so I put it out of my head. It kinda gave me a headache too.
But now when I see it laid out like you have it,
it makes more sense.
For me,
my main fear is losing my mother.
I've been dependent on her since I don't know when.
Why?
Probably because my dad was an abusive a*shole before they got divorced.
Then why am I still paranoid?
Because of two reasons:
a) He still won't give up & is trying to get joint custody of me since I'm the only minor. He wants to put my mom through hell. I know that sounds like it's in my head, but I PROMISE it isn't. He took off without a word, when my mom was out of town, after they agreed to divorce ammocably. She called him. He said, "I'm gonna bury you and those kids."
Fuc*ed up.
b) She's dating now. I am probably always going to have a messed up perception of men & their intentions. I know that since I've already labeled it as 'messed up', I should be able to change my perspective, but it's difficult.

As for friends,
I've lost a few friends due to my intolerance.
So now, I've shut my mouth. I don't say much anymore. Because when I talk, I tell people things that should be said in kinder words.
Also, I'm afraid of aggrivating people because all the people I've mouthed off to, aggrivated me. That was what led me to tell them such things.
I don't want to push someone to that point with me. Because, then they'll embarass me in front of people. And it's like I can't afford to be embarassed in front of people because, as it is, I'm short on friends.

But I feel like I can't carry those ideas any further to where I can solve anything.
 

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We end up causing the things that we fear the most to actually occur. It is very ironic and sad. In some ways it comes down to short term vs long term, do you work through something that you find difficult/uncomfortable or end up with the long term consequences that come with avoiding most social situations. By acknowledging what the end result of our actions will be, it should make it easier to work through the daily situations that we avoid or fear.
 

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Wow, that's deep:)
 
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