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Could it have been Michael Jackson? It is common knowlege that he's shy but as more people come out of the woodwork and write about their experience or encounter with him I think Michael Jackson (who just happens to be one of the most successful artists of all time) had S.A. And as masculine or hypersexualized (crotch-grabbing, trusting) he is on stage many people have insinuated that he may have been asexual (as old Girl friend Brooke Shields puts it). He even said he never had friends growing up.

Writer Steven King wrote in the Entertainment Weekly tribute article

You'll also see Jackson's sadness and almost painful desire to please. Yes, I am strange, his eyes say, but I am doing the best I can, and I want to make you happy. Is that so bad? This is a sadness that's all too common in people who possess talent in amounts so great it has become a burden instead of a blessing. Despite being extraordinarily beautiful (although he had probably already begun the elective surgeries that would ruin those amazing looks), Jackson was painfully shy, and difficult (sometimes impossible) to talk to, but watching that old video still makes me happy…and no, that's not bad.

Legendary producer Quincy Jones has said about Mike:

"[Michael] was so shy he'd sit down and sing behind the couch with his back to me while I sat there with my hands over my eyes with the lights off," Jones writes.
hahaha sounds like something I would do! and they've spent so much time together recording.

I don't think Mike became shy and reclusive because of his enormous fame. Pop Critic Robert Hillburn knew Michael when he was 11. He writes:

Michael struck me as one of the most fragile and lonely people I've ever met. His heart may have finally stopped beating Thursday afternoon, but it had been broken long ago.

During weekends I spent with him on the road during the Jacksons' "Victory" tour in 1984, I learned that he was so traumatized by events during his late teens -- notably the rejection by fans who missed the "little" Michael of the Jackson 5 days -- that he relied desperately on fame to protect him from further pain. In the end, that overriding need for celebrity was at the root of his tragedy.

I first met Michael in the early days of the Jackson 5 at the family home in Los Angeles, and the memory that stands out is that Michael, as cute and wide-eyed as an 11-year-old could be, was eager to get through the interview so he could watch cartoons before having to go to bed.

When I caught up with him a decade later, his personality had changed radically. That happy-go-lucky kid was nowhere to be found.

Michael's sales had fallen off dramatically in the mid-1970s, and by the time he reemerged with the hit "Off the Wall" album in 1979, he was scarred emotionally. There's often a gap between a performer's public and private sides, but rarely was it as noticeable as with Michael.

Sitting at the rear of the tour bus after a triumphant concert in St. Louis in 1981, Michael was anxious, frequently bowing his head as he whispered answers to my questions. In contrast to the charismatic, strutting figure on stage, he wrestled with a Bambi-like shyness. Despite the resurgence in his popularity, he complained of feeling alone -- almost abandoned. He was 23.

When I asked why he didn't live on his own like his brothers, rather than at his parents' house, he said, "Oh, no, I think I'd die on my own. I'd be so lonely. Even at home, I'm lonely. I sit in my room and sometimes cry. It is so hard to make friends, and there are some things you can't talk to your parents or family about. I sometimes walk around the neighborhood at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But I just end up coming home."

That's as far as Michael could go that night to explain his deep-rooted anguish. It would be four more years before he was willing to tell me more.

He used to keep mannequins around his house to keep him company:

I suffered a lot. I knew that something was wrong with me at that time. But I needed someone... that's probably why I had the mannequins. I would say because I felt I needed peopel, someone, I didn't have... I was too shy to be around real people. I didn't talk to them. it wasn't like old ladies tlaking to palnts but I always thought I wnted to make me feel like I had company. they make me feel like I am in a room with people.

During our time together, my conversations with Michael sometimes led -- once the tape recorder was off -- to darker moments from his past. One night when we were going through a stack of old photos, a picture of him in his late teens triggered a sudden openness.

"Ohh, that's horrible," he said, recoiling from the picture.

Michael explained that his face was so covered with acne and his nose so large at that time that visitors to the family home in Encino sometimes wouldn't recognize him. "They would come up, look me straight in the eye and ask if I knew where that 'cute little Michael' was." It was as if the "whole world was saying, 'How dare you grow up on us.' "

Michael said he started looking down at the floor when people approached or would stay in his room when visitors came to the house.

Michael vowed to do whatever it took to make people "love me again." The rejection fueled his ambition to be the biggest pop star in the world and to try to make his face beautiful. Unfortunately, Michael's need was so great that no amount of love seemed to be enough.

The stage was his sanctuary. There, he was larger than life and no one could threaten him. Every time he left the stage, he said, he felt vulnerable again.
 

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The stage was his sanctuary. There, he was larger than life and no one could threaten him. Every time he left the stage, he said, he felt vulnerable again. . That part reminds me of one of my favrouite artists k-os (hence the username) he said that he was "insecure" in high school and he pursued his musical ambitions because after performing at an assembly in his high school gym he realized performing attracted people towards him and it made him feel "powerful and... secure". It's really hard to believe someone with s.a. could be the most popular entertainer of all time tho.
 

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well he didnt have a big relationship with his father, i think youre right, he did have S/A until he started getting used to doing songs
 

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Buried at Sea
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Michael Jackson had some serious stuff going on in his head. Even at the height of his baby-dangling antics I always felt kinda bad for him.
 

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saudades
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I agree it does sort of sound like SA.
Hmm whenever I think of famous people with SA- the one person that always comes to mind for me is Meg White, the drummer from the White Stripes. She is often described as being "painfully shy" and rarely ever does interviews.
 

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PASTAMANIA BROTHER
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MJ definitely had SA. He's said many times that he doesn't really know how to deal with people, and that he feels most comfortable on stage. He definitely had that socially awkward thing going on (depending on who he was talking to). It's so crazy someone as famous as he was could be shy around people. I remember his mother said that he didn't used to be so quiet when he was a kid, but as he got older and more self-aware, he became more detached. That actually sounds a lot like me.
 

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In a book on SA they used Donny Osmond as an example case study.

It wouldn't suprise me if a lot of actors/performers had SA.
I used to do some acting when I was in school, and I wouldn't feel anxious. How could I? I actually was told what to say and do for once!
 

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PASTAMANIA BROTHER
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I just read the whole article. Damn that made me sad. Especially

When I asked why he didn't live on his own like his brothers, rather than at his parents' house, he said, "Oh, no, I think I'd die on my own. I'd be so lonely. Even at home, I'm lonely. I sit in my room and sometimes cry. It is so hard to make friends, and there are some things you can't talk to your parents or family about. I sometimes walk around the neighborhood at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But I just end up coming home."
And sadly his insane fame kept him from being able to help himself. Since he could never be normal again, nor would people treat him as if he were normal. So he had to live with it virtually his whole life.
 

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i'm guessing johnny depp doesn't have SA, but when I saw him on letterman he acted a bit like me

he gave a lot of one word answers,awkward smile at times, and occasionally would look away from dave, almost as if he was embarrassed. You could just feel dave thinking "damn this guy is a hard to break" with those laughs of his

doesn't watch his movies since he doesn't like watching himself on screen, and bought himself an island so he could be alone with his family

part 1 (other 2 parts are in the related videos section)
 

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wow, I think you're right about Johnny Depp. He seems very uncomfortable- keeps fiddling with his hair and stuff. Perhaps he has mild SA.
 

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Could it have been Michael Jackson? It is common knowlege that he's shy but as more people come out of the woodwork and write about their experience or encounter with him I think Michael Jackson (who just happens to be one of the most successful artists of all time) had S.A. And as masculine or hypersexualized (crotch-grabbing, trusting) he is on stage many people have insinuated that he may have been asexual (as old Girl friend Brooke Shields puts it). He even said he never had friends growing up.

Writer Steven King wrote in the Entertainment Weekly tribute article

You'll also see Jackson's sadness and almost painful desire to please. Yes, I am strange, his eyes say, but I am doing the best I can, and I want to make you happy. Is that so bad? This is a sadness that's all too common in people who possess talent in amounts so great it has become a burden instead of a blessing. Despite being extraordinarily beautiful (although he had probably already begun the elective surgeries that would ruin those amazing looks), Jackson was painfully shy, and difficult (sometimes impossible) to talk to, but watching that old video still makes me happy…and no, that's not bad.

I don't think Mike became shy and reclusive because of his enormous fame. Pop Critic Robert Hillburn knew Michael when he was 11. He writes:

Michael struck me as one of the most fragile and lonely people I've ever met. His heart may have finally stopped beating Thursday afternoon, but it had been broken long ago.

During weekends I spent with him on the road during the Jacksons' "Victory" tour in 1984, I learned that he was so traumatized by events during his late teens -- notably the rejection by fans who missed the "little" Michael of the Jackson 5 days -- that he relied desperately on fame to protect him from further pain. In the end, that overriding need for celebrity was at the root of his tragedy.

I first met Michael in the early days of the Jackson 5 at the family home in Los Angeles, and the memory that stands out is that Michael, as cute and wide-eyed as an 11-year-old could be, was eager to get through the interview so he could watch cartoons before having to go to bed.

When I caught up with him a decade later, his personality had changed radically. That happy-go-lucky kid was nowhere to be found.

Michael's sales had fallen off dramatically in the mid-1970s, and by the time he reemerged with the hit "Off the Wall" album in 1979, he was scarred emotionally. There's often a gap between a performer's public and private sides, but rarely was it as noticeable as with Michael.

Sitting at the rear of the tour bus after a triumphant concert in St. Louis in 1981, Michael was anxious, frequently bowing his head as he whispered answers to my questions. In contrast to the charismatic, strutting figure on stage, he wrestled with a Bambi-like shyness. Despite the resurgence in his popularity, he complained of feeling alone -- almost abandoned. He was 23.

When I asked why he didn't live on his own like his brothers, rather than at his parents' house, he said, "Oh, no, I think I'd die on my own. I'd be so lonely. Even at home, I'm lonely. I sit in my room and sometimes cry. It is so hard to make friends, and there are some things you can't talk to your parents or family about. I sometimes walk around the neighborhood at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But I just end up coming home."

That's as far as Michael could go that night to explain his deep-rooted anguish. It would be four more years before he was willing to tell me more.

During our time together, my conversations with Michael sometimes led -- once the tape recorder was off -- to darker moments from his past. One night when we were going through a stack of old photos, a picture of him in his late teens triggered a sudden openness.

"Ohh, that's horrible," he said, recoiling from the picture.

Michael explained that his face was so covered with acne and his nose so large at that time that visitors to the family home in Encino sometimes wouldn't recognize him. "They would come up, look me straight in the eye and ask if I knew where that 'cute little Michael' was." It was as if the "whole world was saying, 'How dare you grow up on us.' "

Michael said he started looking down at the floor when people approached or would stay in his room when visitors came to the house.

Michael vowed to do whatever it took to make people "love me again." The rejection fueled his ambition to be the biggest pop star in the world and to try to make his face beautiful. Unfortunately, Michael's need was so great that no amount of love seemed to be enough.

The stage was his sanctuary. There, he was larger than life and no one could threaten him. Every time he left the stage, he said, he felt vulnerable again.
its blatantly obvious that michael jackson is not only socially anxious but SEVERely socially anxious

it runs in their family.

jemaine and latoya were both on celeb big brother int he uk and jemaine had really bad social anxiety . id say latoya is very shy but not quite social phobic, i.e she is really shy but its not bad enough to be classed as an anxiety disorder and not bad enough to completely restrict her life

jemaine was bad though. you could clearly see him using safety behaviours on many occasions
 

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Wow, um I think MJ definitely had some SA issues and judging by his childhood and how he was treated by people at that time I can't say I'm very surprised. I feel bad for him though. People say it's impossible because he was the greatest entertainer and he was on stage all the time and stuff but maybe the music and his whole career was what kept him going and helped him to feel better about himself once he saw how many people loved his work and the whole image he built up. He was a different person when he performed because it was sort of his comfort zone and he loved what he did. Music was perhaps a way for him to sort of escape everthing.
 

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I'm leaning toward, absolutely yes! I remember I used to think he had a stuck up personality because he would answer questions with a short sentence. But in reality, most SA people do the same thing. They think very hard about what they want to say and end up only getting 2 words out.
He used his music to reach out. I am truly inspired!
 

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That made for an interesting read, thanks for posting it. I always figured Michael Jackson had some pretty obvious "issues", but I didn't make the SA connection until after he died, when I read a little more in depth about him.. Then it was like "whoa, his situation sounds familiar..."

And from an SA point of view, I do think he's a bit of an inspiration as someone who was able to have such an impact on so many people's lives, in spite of his problems.
 

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Yea well, saying MJ had S.A. is no surprise. But it just goes to show how everyone else misunderstands social anxiety.

That's why its annoying when you tell someone you've got S.A. and they say "yea, I get that sometimes."

They have no idea. The more socially anxious you are the more people push and prod you the wrong way.
 

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I agree it does sort of sound like SA.
Hmm whenever I think of famous people with SA- the one person that always comes to mind for me is Meg White, the drummer from the White Stripes. She is often described as being "painfully shy" and rarely ever does interviews.
I don't know about SA but according to Wikipedia: 'Her struggle with anxiety disorder resulted in the cancellation of their 2007 tour; although, she has given live performances since that time.'
 

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saudades
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I don't know about SA but according to Wikipedia: 'Her struggle with anxiety disorder resulted in the cancellation of their 2007 tour; although, she has given live performances since that time.'
Oh maybe it's just general anxiety then. I didn't read the wiki, I just remember reading an article about the White Stripes and it mentioned that she was really shy.
 
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