Social Anxiety Support Forum banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How could you differentiate a child who has selective mutism or feels socially anxious and shy and does not speak.

When i was child i was capable of speech at home perfectly fine. At elementary school i barely talked, i had trouble talking to other kids. Its like something got my tongue, i want to say it but I can't. I wanted to play with other kids yet i stood there struggling to say something to them. In my teens and adulthood, i was able to communicate but i still had trouble communicating with alot of people. I notice through my entire life, i talked alot (like excessively) to certain people and very silent around most people. Is it because of selective mutism? I dont if this is because of my shyness, society anxiety or selective mutism. Sometimes i feel like its because of social anxiety because i dont want to be criticized other times i felt like communicating but nothing comes out of mouth when i was trying so hard. Is this normal? I know many people have been through this but how do know if this is normal or selective mutism?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
SM is when you want to talk, but you can't bring yourself to do it, due to anxiety. Your mind goes blank, you get the "deer in the headlights" expression, because you can't cope with the anxiety. You can't even talk to people you like. It is not shyness, which is a personality trait. People with SM tend to seem controlling of their environment and what goes on around them, in order to reduce their anxiety.
One of the main distinctions of a kid with SM, is that they are capable of talking and do so sometimes excessively when they're comfortable, like at home. But, as soon as someone they're unfamiliar with is around, the kid won't speak or even want to draw attention to themselves. Some people with SM can't even speak to one or both parents, even though they're comfortable and love the person. It's very irrational in that way, I couldn't even speak to my favourite aunt or uncle. I only spoke to my parents and my brother until I was at least 6 years old.
My sister also has SM. She was eating at our uncle's house and she looked worried, so he asked her if she was choking. She actually was choking, but said no. She would've preferred to choke than to even nod that she needed help. With SM, you will do anything to avoid attention because of the anxiety it induces. It feels like your mind goes blank as a way of dealing with anxiety overload.
So, I'd say the main distinction between shyness and SM is the extreme, irrational anxiety. If you realize that not being able to speak or want to show any emotional expression when you're uncomfortable is irrational, and you WANT to do these things but feel like your brain isn't letting you, you might have SM.
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top