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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am totally paranoid about my privacy in general and find myself getting really overly upset when I feel that it has been violated. I know some of it probably has to do with thinking people will negatively judge me for whatever it is they saw or know about but it has become such a bad habit for me to be so paranoid.

Like for instance, the condo I'm staying in right now, I can hear the people above me flush the toilet and so I know they can hear me too and so I don't like having to flush the toilet or they will know I just went to the bathroom, which should be a totally private moment.

Or if my neighbors are sitting in front of their big sliding glass door and looking out I feel I have to rush over and close my curtains - I don't want them looking in, seeing what I'm doing INVADING my privacy!!

Is that a part of the SA or am I just extra paranoid about stuff in general? Anyone else feel like that?
 

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I'm the same way. I'm super private about every detail of my life. I'm in grad school now, and there's always those awkward conversations with new classmates about your life.. where you live, if you're dating anyone, etc, and I always give as little info as possible because I don't want people to know anything about me.
 

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lol, I've thought the same thing about the toilet thing.

I value my privacy a lot and don't like anyone to watch me doing anything. I don't even like to sleep in the same room as someone else because I don't want anyone watching me sleep. I don't like when people ask personal questions, like "What did you do over the weekend?"
 

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Yeah. I pretty much feel the same way.

There's a girl around my age who lives upstairs who's really attractive and my worst nightmare is running into her in the hallway. OK. It's not my worst nightmare but honestly, I think that she would know just by seeing me that I think she's attractive.

There are some other people in the building who just have no manners. They're so noisy. Their kid runs up and down the stairs all day. They sit by their garage on lawn chairs and just watch everyone who comes and goes. I can't even describe how it feels to have these people's eyes following me when I go outside. Just taking out the trash feels like a violation.

I keep all my curtains closed because I don't even like the idea that people can look in. I left my curtains open one night when I went to bed and when I woke up the next day, there was some man standing right by my window just looking in at me. I have no idea who he was or why but that was like my privacy nightmare.

I hate being online sometimes because it freaks me out when I get targeted ads about something I was reading or looking up. I don't know. It's just creepy if I write the word "tea" in an email or something and I suddenly get inundated with ads for tea like an hour later. I'm thinking "If they're doing this, what else do they know about me and why do they want to know?". Honestly, I love the internet but as they say, it's a privacy disaster (especially if you don't bother to learn how to protect your privacy) and it's probably only going to get worse.

Then, one day, I found out that Google was keeping records of everything I search for. Like most people, I didn't read all the terms and conditions when I signed up for Gmail. Then I noticed this "your search history" button on some random area of the screen and was surprised to see everything I'd searched for in the last 6 months or something displayed neatly there on the screen. I was relieved to see that you can turn this "feature" off but the disturbing part is that I think it's on by default or you have to tell Google to turn it off when you're signing up and if you're not paying attention (apparently I wasn't), too bad.

I don't know. That's just creepy. I don't even know why. I don't search for anything embarrassing or that I should care about if anyone knew. It just weirds me out. And how do I know that the feature is really turned off just because I asked them to turn it off? Maybe they're still keeping this file on me somewhere. Again, creepy. Maybe I'm paranoid. I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They sit by their garage on lawn chairs and just watch everyone who comes and goes. I can't even describe how it feels to have these people's eyes following me when I go outside. Just taking out the trash feels like a violation.
OK see reading that makes me feel a little less weird because I feel that way too. I get so caught up about little things like that. Every day if I pass neighbors or others in their car on my way to my house - like I don't want the other people in the cars knowing where I live, it's none of their business (I actually say in my head or to myself in my car "what the F are you looking at?) or "You don't need to know where I live/what I'm doing"...etc.) - or my neighbors are ALWAYS outside and it feels like they are watching my every move and I can't even go about my life even though I know they aren't doing that. They may notice me but their goal in life is not to track what I do....it just feels that way when I'm being irrational!

This stuff is what was starting to scare me and make me feel like a prisoner in my own house. It's definitely good to be away in another city for now working on this stuff but I'm starting to freak about about going back home ) :
 

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It's really unnecessary because how much privacy do you really need?
You'll only know that when you need it and don't have as much as you need. Sometimes fears about privacy are technically irrational but humans have fears of certain things for historically good reasons. Gay men in pre WW2 Germany were often pretty open about their sexual orientation (They sometimes subscribed to certain magazines, etc). That was a really bad idea but they probably couldn't have imagined how bad.

I fear modern man will someday pay a terrible price for this flippant attitude about such fundamentally critical issues. Those of us who are considered to be paranoid in this sense are actually pretty normal. People should be careful with their personal information and to guard their private spaces.

I don't ask myself how much privacy I need. I take a given piece of information and I ask myself why anyone needs that information about myself. I don't go further into it by wondering how that information could be misused. I simply don't volunteer unnecessary information and then I don't have to worry about coming home and finding someone broke into my house because they knew my schedule or something. This information is still possible for someone to obtain without my giving it to them but they'll have to work harder.

Plus, I just think people who want to know too much about other people for no apparent reason are kind of creepy. Who the heck knows why but I don't want to find out.
 

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I don't know if this applies to this exact topic but I can't take a s**t if other people are in the house. I also have trouble eating in front of other people. If it's really noisy and loud then I usually have no problem but if were all watching tv and there isn't enough white noise, I have to leave the room to eat. There pretty much has to be white noise all of the time for me to get anything done. Same thing with sleeping, I can't sleep in another room with other people unless I'm drunk off my *** and I can't sleep next to a guy unless there is a fan going. I was told that I talk in my sleep and now I'm really uncomfortable sleeping next to anybody. I must appear to be really f**kin strange to people.

Oh yeah and the curtains have to be closed at night. And when I'm driving my car, the windows always have to be rolled up at least to head length.
 

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HaloOfDarkness
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Reading some of the previous post, I also don't understand why some people don't care what other people think. Like some lady yelling at her kids in front of everybody in a store, if I had kids, I could never yell at them in front of other people. I don't think I could even yell at them at home, not the way these people do it and they are in public for crying out loud. I get really jealous of people who ride their bikes or jog down the road, I could never have the balls to even cross the highway.
 

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I have trouble at home when I feel people can see me naked when Im not.
 

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I have trouble at home when I feel people can see me naked when Im not.
Yep. I also have major issues with privacy. I habitually hide whatever browser window I'm looking at on my computer whenever a family member walks by. I really wish I lived alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sadie08, you should consider talking to someone there about this to overcome your fear of not wanting to go home.

I've overcome a lot of my privacy issues by deciding to change my ideas of what should be private and doesn't need to be private.

I need to close the door when I use the bathroom, I do close the shades when I sleep at night, I keep medical things to myself (i.e. when I'm constipated, but I do openly discuss my SA with anyone), and respect other peoples privacy when they confide in me (I do not gossip). That's about it. I don't care if anyone wants to know about me. In fact, a lot of people ask me how I did some things (open businesses, and other things) and I tell them.

I decided if someone is going to look in my house as they walk by during the day, I'm OK with that. On the other hand, if they stop on the sidewalk and stare in my house, noticibly for a while, then that deserves a stern look of disapproval and a curtain closing till they move along, because that's rude. Rude and privacy are two different things.

The people sitting outside watching you take the garbage out may be knuckleheads, but I doubt they discuss your garbage removal habits for any amount of time afterwards and even if they did no harm is caused. (as opposed to co-workers watching your every move, waiting for a violation to have you fired, that can cause harm) So, this garbage disposal watching by the neighbors may be considered an unnecessary discomfort you are suffering that can be overcome.

I have a neighbor (small suburb with small single family houses) that is ALWAYS outside. Whenever I leave he says, "Hi, what are you doing today" or something similar. He isn't keeping a log of what I'm doing, he's being friendly. So, I tell him my plans for the day! It's easier to do that than to wait for him to go inside before I leave the house, and no harm is done by telling him what I'm doing. Often, when I get home he's still outside and asks, "How did it go". I tell him, "Fine, thanks" and walk inside, or "Fine, thanks, how was your day?" when I feel OK with talking for a while. He knows sometimes I talk and sometimes I don't. He thinks I'm normal, and I am, because people talk someomes and sometimes they don't because sometimes we're busy. Back to privacy, there have been times when I said, "I have to run now, I need to use the bathroom." Hows that for overcoming?

Privacy is really something new, it's expensive and if you consider it carefully its rather unnecessary. It's new because prior to indoor plumbing, you can guess the level of privacy one had at any given time. Indoor plumbing is pretty recent when you look back on history. How much privacy existed 100 years ago? How much 500 years ago before most people had locks on their front doors? It's expensive becasue the more money you have the more privacy you have. Spend on more insulation in your walls, ceiling and foor (condo toilet flushing). You can spend more money and sell your condo and buy a house to avoid that too. You can spend more on acreage to separate your house from your neighbors. And so on.

It's really unnecessary because how much privacy do you really need? Be careful, because I asked how much do you need, I didn't ask how much you want. You want a lot, I know. But, when you look at any person we all do the same thing. We all sleep, eat, use the bathroom, put clothes on, and "everything else".

Basic living is done basically the exact same way by all people. Any amount of effort to keep your's private seems unnecessary, when rationalized. Non SA'ers will hear your toilet flush and not care or think about it what so ever, or will watch you take out your garbage and only see you taking out your garbage (they won't be thinking about what's in the bag, judging you for taking out garbage, or anything else you may think about).

If you can try to work on keeping it in perspective, by knowing that no one cares (or thinks twice) about the things you do, it will be helpful for you to overcome. When this practice is applied consistently, and with anything and everything that worry's you, it'll help you overcome your SA. When you're capable, one time when you take out your garbage, consider walking up to those people that sit outside, and say, "Hi, I'm Tony (use your name of course). I see you outside here a lot and wanted to introduce myself and say hello." Then, if they start to talk and you want to run away, say "I'm sorry, I have a lot more cleaning inside before I have to ...(have something ready to say)... , so I have to go now, but it was nice meeting you". The more you elminate your desire for privacy the more freedom you feel. It's a tough first step, but it gets easier.

You know, you already did exactly what I said above. You did it successfully with nachos in the food court. Expound on that, and apply that same feeling to when you go home, and everything that happens after you get home.

When you mentioned "knowing where I live" and "what I'm doing", you're right, that's irrational. They don't care where you live and what you're doing. Talk to your therapist about this to learn methods to use to overcome and use that to practice getting and keeping those thoughts consistenly rational for comfort. It'll help you not freak out about going home. The whole purpose of what you're doing is to make it so you don't have to freak out ever again. If you need help understanding how to do that in particular situations, ask the people there to help you with those, and apply what you learn to all other situations as necessary. You can get there, keep going.

: )
Tony I see what you are saying, that is a helpful way to think about it. Ironically, my therapist prompted me today to start thinking more about exposure exercises that deal with "personal disclosure" so sharing things about myself with other people. I ain't gonna be fun, but I have to do this. Doesn't mean I have to share all my most personal feelings, secrets, emotions....just open up a little more. You're right - if they are doing no harm, it shouldn't be a big deal. My paranoia radar is just always going off and it's hard to fix!
 

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i have an obsessive need to have my bedroom door, closet door, and bathroom door closed at all times... i HATE when someone leaves it open. i feel like exposed and like... cold. it's weird but i don't think it's OCD or anything haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In case anyone was wondering why I dont' want someone hearing me flush a toilet or seeing me come out of the restroom.... Thanks Mom!

This an excerpt from a blog post I just put up:

My issues with privacy go back very far, as early as 4 or 5 years old. I was described by my mother and others as "a very modest child". My mother had to know every little thing it felt like, and growing up with a house full of kids in the daycare and sharing a room with my sister for a good while, there was not always a lot of privacy to be had. The daycare kids would nap in my room - I was afraid they would go through my stuff and touch my things. We only had one bathroom in the house for a long time, and a kid or two accidentally walked in on me when the lock wasn't working, or the key hole - I was freaked out all the time that someone was looking through it. To make matters worse, when I was very young my mother seemed to become obsessed with....TMI coming up for some of you....bowel movements. I guess she thought there was some problem maybe and she started trying to micro manage that, making sure I "went #2" and all that. Ugh this is even hard to write about but I have to get it out there. She unknowingly tortured me with thoughts and threats such as inventing a fake story about having a "trap" in the basement that would allow her to know for sure if I went or not. Before that she had insisted I not flush the toilet after I went so she could go in and check, but that freaked me out so bad I always just said I forgot and flushed anyway....so along came the "trap" which I fully believed was true. She would hold it over my head if I wanted something, say some ice cream, that she would go and check the trap and if I had been lying about it, I wouldn't get the ice cream. Yah...you wonder why I have issues with people hearing me flush a toilet!! She also threatened that if I didn't start complying that I would have to have this really awful humiliating procedure with my family doctor, it scared me to death.

Man I feel angry now and want to just cry! UGH!
 

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Yeah, I'm a very private person. I have major issues with gossip, and I think it's because of the privacy thing. I hate when people talk about other people behind their backs, and I'm always paranoid of people talking about me behind my back. I feel like when I tell people things, that's a private conversation...if I had wanted to tell a room full of people, I'd have told a room full of people. Unfortunately I think I may have recently been pushed over the edge, to the point of really never wanting to confide in anyone about anything ever again.

I also can't stand people being in my room without me there, or using my computer.
 

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Yup although my dear mother's a narcissist who fails to understand the very meaning of the word which probably made me value it even more.
 

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The funny thing is that just as I was reading this thread just now, I noticed the ad at the bottom of the page (By Google, naturally) is for a service called "WebSpy" (Maybe I'm messed up but it
it's funny or ironic or something that it's actually called that) that employers can use to monitor their employees online.

:eek: :afr
 

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No, I don't think your paranoid. Everyone has their quirks. Flushing the toilet while others are in hearing distance, isn't an issue for me. One thing that used to bother me like crazy was having another person in the bathroom while I was "going" to the bathroom or showering. The few guys that I was in a long-term relationship with, thought it was odd. It drove me nuts that they didn't have locks on their bathroom doors and they would always sneak in while I was in the middle of doing something I considered private. It was always a joke to them, but I considered it rude.
 

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i love this place.
'cause i am the exact same way.

i keep all my curtains closed, except for a place i rarely am just to seem that less of a freak in other peoples eyes.
 

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I have had nosy neighbors, especially the females. My GF came to my apartment, and I didn't answer the door because I didn't want to talk to her. My next door neighbor told her: "He's not here. He's never here. I never hear him. I don't ever even hear him walking."

I'm thinking: "Do you really pay attention to this ****?"
 
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