Social Anxiety Support Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm reading this book Shyness: How normal behavior became a sickness by Christopher Lane and it's helping me out a lot. It just raises the question of whether or not SAS really exists or if it's just a product of our culture. I mean we live in a pretty outgoing culture and being shy doesn't seem to work. Anyway I highly recommend it to anyone who's struggling because it's really helping me to accept who I am the way I am.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Yeah I think this is really interesting. I read a few articles along those lines at university. The pathologising of normal personality traits is really problematic. On the one hand, I think that diagnoses can help a lot of people to find the resources to solve their problems, and it can help a lot to have your problems validated from an "official" source like psychology.

But I think it can also be really destructive. You can slip into viewing yourself solely in the role of the "mentally ill person" and it winds up having more of a controlling and miserable effect on your life than simply understanding it as shyness ever could. The stigma of mental illness that unfortunately still exists also means that a diagnosis of social phobia can compromise fragile self esteem even further. Doctors need to be careful of the diagnoses they casually bestow on people, because those words can effect people for the rest of their lives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes I totally agree! I've thought about it a lot and thinking about it from an academic standpoint makes me question whether or not our perception of a 'normal' individual is biologically accurate or if it is a cultural construction. I feel like it's the latter. I'm not sure how it is in Australia (excuse my ignorance) but in the US we're taught that we have to be outgoing and if we're not outgoing something is wrong with us. This pressure to be an outgoing individual affects nearly all aspects of our lives. I think it's incredibly destructive to expect people to change themselves in order to function 'successfully' in society.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
A very late response... but I'm reviving this as I still think this is an interesting topic! The idea of national differences in the definition of "normal" personality is really interesting. I think you're right that Americans are pressured to feel that they need to be outgoing. In Australia I think that there is more of an emphasis on being "laid back". You know, the relaxed Aussie - "She'll be right mate". I think the definitions of "normal" personalities also differ along temporal and gender lines... A woman needed to be a lot more reserved 100 years ago... Being too outgoing would have been the problem then! Not appropriate behaviour for a lady!
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top