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I went to dinner tonight with some acquaintances and I didn't say more than 10 words throughout the entire dinner. I left that place feeling like **** and stupid. And wondering why the #@!$ do I care so much about how I am perceived that I stay almost mute.

I moved around a lot and didn't grow up with many friends. I moved again to start high school and I didn't adjust properly so this is where my problems started. Now, almost 9 years later, I did not build proper socializing skills and I fear that it's too late to change. To put it bluntly, my mind is F'ed up. I'm not joking. I'm not a crazy person or anything, but I have a screwed up mind that makes it hard for me to get close to others. I'm so withdrawn and insecure underneath it all. I'm paranoid.

I'm comparing myself to these people I had dinner with because they grew up in the same area, went to elementary, middle, high school with the same people so they have lifelong friends. They grew up socializing instead of someone like me who spent the majority of the past 9 years isolated and inhibited. So they have laid the CRUCIAL building blocks especially in high school and continue their social success. I, on the other hand, am awkward, quiet, and what hurts the most is that I was not supposed to be like this. I can not be myself while makes it hard for me. I'm a talkative guy around my family but I can never show this side around others. Why can't I just be consistent?

I heard once that the ages 13-17 are the most important for your psychological and social development. Those were the worst years of my life where I spent all day isolated, withdrawn, addicted to the internet to escape my reality.

I came home tonight thinking that I hate my life. I just want to be myself around others, but I can't. There's this mental wall and this will hold me back for the rest of my life....
 

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(First of all, screw the most important years of your life. The most important year is this year! The most important day is today! Or possibly tomorrow.... But that is so easy to say, isn't it)

You're thinking social skills are like language? That after you reach a certain age your brain becomes rigid (or whatever) and you can never learn true fluency? Or like art, you are either talented or you're not? It's true it's true, the similarities are there. Maybe for a lot of people this is reality.

Lately I've been thinking about social skills like science. People are like puzzles. Gather evidence, form hypothesis, experiment, revise hypothesis. You don't learn the really tricky (and interesting) sciences until you're older than 13 -17 (unless you're some kind of crazy science prodigy, but I don't think the analogy goes that far...).

For the longest time I felt like I wasn't paying attention to life if I wasn't constantly analyzing myself. But while I was stuck in my head, the conversation around me had moved on to other things....
 

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Question....How did you get invited to this event?

Would traveling to various places broaden your horizons and help make you the person you want to be? Or would it be something like a hobby?
 

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Well I was pretty much a near mute 14 to 18 ish. In high school I went days without speaking and had no conversational skills whatsoever. But now at age 35 I can converse well and most people I know would never suspect I had any form of SA. I've made enormous progress in communicating and most of it in my 20's.

I still have problems but it is mostly from avoiding people. Anyway, the brain is pretty plastic throughout most of life and if you're still in your 20's I think you have plenty of time to change.
 

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I do not believe it is ever too late to change. It may become harder, they long er we have thought and behaved in certain ways but I think we can always change. At least I hope so as far I have next to no social skills. At least you went to dinner. I probably would have stayed at home wishing I'd gone. Don't beat yourself down about things in the past. Just try to make progress from here. There are not many rigid social 'rules'; they are mostly conventions and you can learn them from watching and listening to other people. But of course, it's harder to put them into practice.

I have that mental wall too. I can be ok with my close family, but anyone else I just withdraw into myself and can't be myself around others.

Don't hate your life. You can beat this thing :)
 

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Wow I am sorry. I have had some similiar things happen but it is like a room in my mind that I have cleaned and do not enter often to talk about. But personality is not set. I have read it determined by your glands/physiology and by your beliefs/chronic thoughts and by your experiences. Those 3 things. By changing your health you change your physiology/glands/strength and by changing your chronic thoughts/beliefs and then getting into new experiences, people change and are shaped by their experiences. It is easier to enter a new experience when you are physically feeling good and when you have realistic good thoughts about yourself. This is my hope for myself.
 

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I went to dinner tonight with some acquaintances and I didn't say more than 10 words throughout the entire dinner. I left that place feeling like **** and stupid. And wondering why the #@!$ do I care so much about how I am perceived that I stay almost mute.

I moved around a lot and didn't grow up with many friends. I moved again to start high school and I didn't adjust properly so this is where my problems started. Now, almost 9 years later, I did not build proper socializing skills and I fear that it's too late to change. To put it bluntly, my mind is F'ed up. I'm not joking. I'm not a crazy person or anything, but I have a screwed up mind that makes it hard for me to get close to others. I'm so withdrawn and insecure underneath it all. I'm paranoid.

I'm comparing myself to these people I had dinner with because they grew up in the same area, went to elementary, middle, high school with the same people so they have lifelong friends. They grew up socializing instead of someone like me who spent the majority of the past 9 years isolated and inhibited. So they have laid the CRUCIAL building blocks especially in high school and continue their social success. I, on the other hand, am awkward, quiet, and what hurts the most is that I was not supposed to be like this. I can not be myself while makes it hard for me. I'm a talkative guy around my family but I can never show this side around others. Why can't I just be consistent?

I heard once that the ages 13-17 are the most important for your psychological and social development. Those were the worst years of my life where I spent all day isolated, withdrawn, addicted to the internet to escape my reality.

I came home tonight thinking that I hate my life. I just want to be myself around others, but I can't. There's this mental wall and this will hold me back for the rest of my life....
Wow, I think you just wrote how I feel. I constantly feel like my mind is f'ed up (not crazy either). I talk around my family well, anywhere else I say almost nothing. I see how others talk and I think "why can't I just do that". This is so messed up and I know what you mean. I have been like this for so long it seems impossible. I have tried everything. I feel destined to be this way forever. People say just be yourself and I think that is the problem. I don't know who I am. I put on an act when I am at work and feel exhausted from trying to act socially "natural". I hope I can change and I hope you can as well. It is unfortunate people don't understand social anxiety or social phobia. They think just go out there and everything will work itself out. HA. I don't wish this problem on anyone.
 

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I went to dinner tonight with some acquaintances and I didn't say more than 10 words throughout the entire dinner. I left that place feeling like **** and stupid. And wondering why the #@!$ do I care so much about how I am perceived that I stay almost mute.

I moved around a lot and didn't grow up with many friends. I moved again to start high school and I didn't adjust properly so this is where my problems started. Now, almost 9 years later, I did not build proper socializing skills and I fear that it's too late to change. To put it bluntly, my mind is F'ed up. I'm not joking. I'm not a crazy person or anything, but I have a screwed up mind that makes it hard for me to get close to others. I'm so withdrawn and insecure underneath it all. I'm paranoid.

I'm comparing myself to these people I had dinner with because they grew up in the same area, went to elementary, middle, high school with the same people so they have lifelong friends. They grew up socializing instead of someone like me who spent the majority of the past 9 years isolated and inhibited. So they have laid the CRUCIAL building blocks especially in high school and continue their social success. I, on the other hand, am awkward, quiet, and what hurts the most is that I was not supposed to be like this. I can not be myself while makes it hard for me. I'm a talkative guy around my family but I can never show this side around others. Why can't I just be consistent?

I heard once that the ages 13-17 are the most important for your psychological and social development. Those were the worst years of my life where I spent all day isolated, withdrawn, addicted to the internet to escape my reality.

I came home tonight thinking that I hate my life. I just want to be myself around others, but I can't. There's this mental wall and this will hold me back for the rest of my life....
I can relate to feeling like an outsider too. I have spent most of my life worrying about being pleasant to everyone else so they wouldn't reject me. It is a waste though.

I only moved once in my childhood, but I was not what you'd call popular for the preteen & teenage years. I was a girl the cheerleaders would make fun of. At my old age now (40), I still think sometimes that people can tell by looking at me that I was that unpopular girl that everybody rejected. Of course they can't tell, but, doesn't stop me from having those thoughts.

What can help is to try like hell to not jump into other people's minds and read them. Chances are, you're wrong anyway, you know? Then later, you could try imagining that they are thinking good things about you.

You know how your real self is--like when around your family and you are relaxed. That is the personality that people will like. The Real you is the most important one and you putting on an act is a way of protecting your real self from getting hurt. If I act a bit fake and get rejected, oh well, at least they aren't rejecting the Real me. I totally have done (still do) the same thing a lot of the time. But a little at a time, you could let it out around others and pay attention to the fact that they are accepting of you and do like you.

I know it's really hard, but try to stop comaparing yourself. It's a terrible habit that only makes you feel worse (I know from experience) because you always lose, don't you? But you lose because you are thinking bad things about yourself that aren't true in the first place, or good things about others that are exaggerated & inaccurate.

It is definitely not too late to get happy & be who you want to be. It will take some practice at feeling comfortable in different situations, and building on feeling confident about your real self, but you are not permanently damaged because of what happened in your teen years!

Would it be easier for you to go out to eat with just one other person? You went out in a group and a lot of the time us SAers get drowned out in a group, fade into the background, and end up feeling like "failures."
 

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yes,i'm still the same me 3 years ago.it'll never change.i regret spending my life alone,isolated,lonely throughout my whole high school years.if i know i had social phobia years ago then maybe it would be different.
 

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I've read that our personality styles are pretty much determined by age 3. I don't think I'll ever change. I don't know how many times I've told myself that I'll just put myself out there and talk more and then everything else will fall into place, but I just can't do it. I'm pretty sure that I'll be just as lonely and isolated ten years from now as I am today.
 

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We are not stuck like this, but it will take work to open up. I am still getting there myself.
 

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I feel like i'm not supposed to be like this too. In fact i like to talk and argue in the middle of people who know me very well but everyone who's less than that gets me an image of quiet, cold and withdrawn person. Even if their conversation is something that i would like to take part i can't say anything. It sucks.
 

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We are not stuck like this, but it will take work to open up. I am still getting there myself.
:agree

Thinking you can't change is a self-fulfilling prophecy - if you don't accept the possibility that you might get better, you won't. I've been learning, and deliberately changing all my life, it can be done!
 
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