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I don't want to debate the origin of all SA in this thread. I want everyone to assume that each person has a unique set of circumstances that have attributed to their current issues with SA. Why do YOU think you have SA?

I think I have so much trouble with it mainly because I've never felt like I had an emotional support structure in my life. I haven't felt that I could fall back on anything or anyone for encouragement or counseling. I haven't felt loved.

In my particular elementary school program, I spent the vast majority of my time with the same group of classmates from 1st-5th grade, and never really was confronted with the rest of the grade like the other kids (who randomly filled the other classrooms each year). I took a lead role in my class and established social dominance and thought I was tough, until I hit 6th grade (the first grade I didn't just have one teacher, but several periods). The atmosphere was totally different, and before I got a chance to make friends and feel dominant/confident, I was faced with bullies for the first time. I was teased into silence and shame. I was emotionally on my own and focused on doing the only logical thing, modifying my behavior to avoid the bullying. I think it's sad that I couldn't have had someone to encourage me and help me overcome the bullies, but instead I just got quiet.

The less I revealed about myself, the less I could be teased about. The more I conformed with the bullies, the less likely they were to pick on me before another kid. Both of those behaviors persist even today.

The whole class knew I was an undesirable, a lower class kid who was picked on by the popular ones, and I lost all self-esteem and self-confidence. I was afraid to do anything in fear of messing up and embarrassing myself. By 7th grade, in many of my classes (particularly the ones where I would be teased) I was so embarrassed just to be called on that I would blush and turn bright red, say (or avoid saying) whatever needed to be said to end the unwanted attention, then feel so ashamed for being embarrassed in front of the whole class that I would just put my head down for the rest of the period.

Anyway, the bullying went on from 6th-9th grade, letting up for the most part in 10th and pretty much completely for the rest of high school. By then, it was too late though. Now I'm absolutely embarrassed and ashamed to know that there are any unfavorable opinions of me. I don't have confidence in attempting anything unfamiliar and put everyone else's needs before my own, as if to concede to them and show that they are more important than me. I'm so incredibly selfless that I hinder my own growth and achievement. I'm absolutely non-confrontational and wind up taking on other people's responsibilities because I'm too spineless to say no.

Anyway, that's the story of my SA development, IMO. I know others might just think they have a genetic predisposition or a mixture of genes and environment. I want to know what everyone else thinks and how similar any other stories might be to my own. And remember, no flaming or arguing!

Thanks!
 

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I don't want to debate the origin of all SA in this thread. I want everyone to assume that each person has a unique set of circumstances that have attributed to their current issues with SA. Why do YOU think you have SA?

I think I have so much trouble with it mainly because I've never felt like I had an emotional support structure in my life. I haven't felt that I could fall back on anything or anyone for encouragement or counseling. I haven't felt loved.

In my particular elementary school program, I spent the vast majority of my time with the same group of classmates from 1st-5th grade, and never really was confronted with the rest of the grade like the other kids (who randomly filled the other classrooms each year). I took a lead role in my class and established social dominance and thought I was tough, until I hit 6th grade (the first grade I didn't just have one teacher, but several periods). The atmosphere was totally different, and before I got a chance to make friends and feel dominant/confident, I was faced with bullies for the first time. I was teased into silence and shame. I was emotionally on my own and focused on doing the only logical thing, modifying my behavior to avoid the bullying. I think it's sad that I couldn't have had someone to encourage me and help me overcome the bullies, but instead I just got quiet.

The less I revealed about myself, the less I could be teased about. The more I conformed with the bullies, the less likely they were to pick on me before another kid. Both of those behaviors persist even today.

The whole class knew I was an undesirable, a lower class kid who was picked on by the popular ones, and I lost all self-esteem and self-confidence. I was afraid to do anything in fear of messing up and embarrassing myself. By 7th grade, in many of my classes (particularly the ones where I would be teased) I was so embarrassed just to be called on that I would blush and turn bright red, say (or avoid saying) whatever needed to be said to end the unwanted attention, then feel so ashamed for being embarrassed in front of the whole class that I would just put my head down for the rest of the period.

Anyway, the bullying went on from 6th-9th grade, letting up for the most part in 10th and pretty much completely for the rest of high school. By then, it was too late though. Now I'm absolutely embarrassed and ashamed to know that there are any unfavorable opinions of me. I don't have confidence in attempting anything unfamiliar and put everyone else's needs before my own, as if to concede to them and show that they are more important than me. I'm so incredibly selfless that I hinder my own growth and achievement. I'm absolutely non-confrontational and wind up taking on other people's responsibilities because I'm too spineless to say no.

Anyway, that's the story of my SA development, IMO. I know others might just think they have a genetic predisposition or a mixture of genes and environment. I want to know what everyone else thinks and how similar any other stories might be to my own. And remember, no flaming or arguing!

Thanks!
*i was born shy
*was brought up by shy introverts so i modelled them and also had nobocdy capable of teaching me how to socialize
*had really inadequate parents who didnt have a relatuionship wth me, criticized and ridiculed me all the time and never expressed any love or warnth towards me
*went through so many traumatic experiences around the age of 5 - dad left, mum took overdose and attemtped suicide, recieved lots of rejection from family and peers, lots of humiliation
*after age of 5 lived with mum, step dad and step siblings. they were all one big happy family but i was left on the side lines and treated differently to them
 

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A mix between me being born shy, traumatic events, and things I've "learned" are all combined to result in my generalized/social anxiety. I think it's a mixture of things that lead to feeling this way constantly.
 

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I think for me it's because I came from a defective gene pool. I'm defective, just not made to cut it in this world. So I just worry my way through life hoping all the better people will take it easy on me. Really, I would celebrate and buy myself a pizza if someone told me I had cancer. But that'll never happen because I don't even go to the doctor.
 

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Geese
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Mine is quite simple. Was never an attractive person and during school there would always be those minuscule, meaningless yet devistating occurrences of rejection or negativity (for example the girl the teacher chose to dance with me during dance classes would go "eww", **** like that). This led to a low sense of self-esteem to the point where I told myself I was not attractive enough and there was no point trying.

Thus my SA was born and I fear rejection, though it has mutated itself to a fear of any social situation where the rejection might occur (nights out, parties, etc). Thus my professional life is fine but my social life struggles a bit.

So luckier than most on here but still a royal pain in the arse but I'm making gradual progress which is great. Certainly don't blame genetics or anything.
 

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Probably a combination of things, as most things are. I don't know if I could point to a specific incident, but several are intriguing.

1. When I was little I was almost always inside. I have an older brother whose favorite thing in the world it seemed was to **** with me. I remember going outside at age 5 or something and him and his "friends" stripping me naked and throwing me into a ditch. (Sure nice of him, right?) I was humiliated and freezing, I went crying back to the house. I don't remember if I got my clothes back though.

2. My parents divorced early in my childhood. My dad used to beat my mom. I would generally hide and watch my little sister. We used to get hit too, so I just stayed away from people in general.

3. My dad would constantly berate and ridicule me and my brother for some dumb thing or another. Beat us, too. It got worse when he married my step-mother (total *****), and whenever we did anything she perceived as wrong we would get it from one or the other. The fact that she never laid a hand on her own kids in that house only made the double-standard more apparent. Embittering me, and making me more introverted and resentful.

4. I saw, physically witnessed, my mother cheating on my Dad. I confronted her about it and she basically blew me off. Your own mother abandoned her family for sex? Figure it out. I get along with my mom great now, but it's become apparent that she's unsatisfied with her current husband anyway (who is the guy that my mom cheated with, and is a total ****ing nutjob by now. Too into conspiracy theories.)

5. I wasn't allowed to have friends/gfs in high school. My dad was pretty controlling. In retrospect, I think he wanted to shelter us, but it only made me even more self-conscious. As a result, I tend to be secretive instead of outgoing with strangers. One time I was pulled out of play practice (I liked acting) to get *****ed at on his stupid truck (my dad's a truck driver) for 500 miles just because I went to a friend's house instead of coming home on the bus and saving them a trip to town. And my friend was <GASP!> a GIRL!

6. When I was in third grade my teachers noticed I didn't have any friends. I almost took it as a point of pride at the time, but time goes on and days get longer and being alone starts to suck. But by that time, I was already so introverted that learning social graces seemed impossible.

Those are all I can think of for now.
 

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Equilibrian Epicurius
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I've been a very shy and reserved person my entire life. In school, I always kept to myself and never talked to anyone - even though I wasn't afraid to if I had something to say. Once I got to high school I started becoming more in touch with my socially-isolated demeanor, and discovered the reason I was like this was because I didn't know how to be sociable; Coming up with things to say to people and trying to make even subtle conversation seemed foreign to me, which led to my extreme avoidance issues and I just randomly stopped going to school halfway through 10th grade.

I was never very anxious per se when around people. I would describe it as an intense awkwardness since the way I acted was painfully obvious to anybody who met me. It was actually a couple years later when I developed actual social anxiety, which incapacitated me from being able to do simple things when at work such as operating a cash register, bagging customers' items (I constantly fumbled with boxes when trying to insert them in the bag), or talking to co-workers or customers without stammering. I've been a complete recluse ever since and am desperately searching for a medication to allow me to access the socially-capable side of me. The side of me that I am when around immediate family, and with anyone when drunk.
 

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Hereditary anxiety issues started it, I think. My mom and I are worryworts. In third grade, I started having panic attacks--I don't remember why--at school. Predisposition does not help SA.

It didn't really help that students didn't like me from the moment I stepped into schools, either. I was made fun of throughout the whole of studenthood; not exactly bullied, but teased a lot. They always left me out of group activities of any kind. No friendship lasted longer than the school year, because the only friend that might have wanted to continue moved away during one summer. Middle school sucked, since I had less friends than in elementary. By eighth grade, I was completely and utterly friendless.

High school was hell. Had maybe a friend or two in ninth grade, but it wasn't as if they invited me out anywhere. From tenth grade on, I had practically resigned myself to the fact I was never really going to be accepted or contacted outside of class and simply gave up. I didn't have social skills anyway, so why bother? I barely spoke to any other student for those three years.

Lunchtime was the worst, since I was either sitting at a table alone or sitting while the other occupants made fun of me. I figured out that I could go without lunch most days and where I could go while they were eating (usually the library or computer lab, sometimes another classroom). Teachers liked me well enough, since I was the quiet one that understood things quickly, so that helped somewhat and gave me more places to hang out during lunch.

So... really, I guess it was always there since mid-elementary, but avoidance just made it noticeable and worse. Now I have even less idea about how to socialize.
 

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I've thought a lot about this, and though I think part of it is because it's the way my mom was (I remember her listening to tapes on how to be social when I was a kid), I think most of it for me is circumstances. I was always moderately shy in high school, but that was never really a problem. I only took a little bit longer than my classmates to warm up to people, and though I wasn't super popular I had friends.

A month after I graduated high school, I got pregnant. My boyfriend and I got married, and since the whole situation really freaked me out (and I was having a really hard pregnancy) I ended up quitting my job and basically sitting at home and being a hermit for my entire pregnancy and the first year of my son's life.

I think that the year and a half I spent away from people stopped my social development in it's tracks and completely made me nervous to be around people. When my son was a year old I got a job, and it's been SO difficult for me to open up to people and act normal. I've been working for a year now, and though it's still extremely hard it's getting somewhat easier to interact with people.
 

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To put it simply, too high expectations.

a) I expect too much out of myself grade-wise. All through sophomore year me and my friends would have really intense competition over grades. Only problem was, I would be one step behind. I would still be doing rly well, like low to mid 90s. They would always just get higher.
b) Somewhere along my development, I got in my head that I was really good looking. Although I am fairly attractive, I took it to a whole new level. I thought I was model material (i was pretty cocky back then before my SA). Only problem was, I would put pressure on myself to act incredibly mature and sophisticated and i dunno. just hot haha. It sounds rly stupid looking back on it, but i would always beat myself up when i did something that looked stupid. This also brought along a different problem. Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that I was too good to go up to girls (im 100% sure this was just an excuse to cover up my anxiety) and that I would let them come to me. Although the plan worked alright in HS (girls coming up to me occasionally was probably the only thing that kept me sane), girls would eventually stop talking to me because they would think I wasn't interested. I would take this as them rejecting me because of the way I acted.

And so, my SA came from these two places. Therapy starts in two weeks. My goals? lower my expectations about what grades i should get. lower my expectations of how i should act/look. raise my self confidence on how i already act/look . raise my self confidence on what grades i get already (which are pretty good).

there are a number of other reasons I could have anxiety, but I pretty much narrowed it down to these two
 

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It's pretty much because of the way I was raised.

My parent's were generally helpful, loving, and provided me with physical support (food, water, shelter). They took care of me when I was sick and wanted to support me as best as they could.

They didn't really connect with me emotionally or personally. They never really supported me as an individual I guess. I don't remember any "bonding moments".

Beside that, there was another side of them. They had alcohol problems. When both of my parent's were drunk they pretty much ignored me and there was a sense of abandonment. My dad would sometimes get loud, violent, and angry, which scared me a lot when I was little. There were time where it would be 3 in the morning, and my dad would have the stereo blasting. I was too scared to talk to them (because in my mind, they were different people under the influence) so I would sneak downstairs and turn off the stereo, as a way to try and get them to listen to me but I was yelled at and ignored. I've thrown tantrums telling them to stop drinking, but they again ignored my pleas.

So being a child, I didn't really know how to cope and I "split off" into two different behaviors (note: NOT multiple personalities, more like learned behavior). I was fine when my parents were fine. But when they drank, I adopted into an avoidant, fearful, and terrified behavior.

After this happened, I pretty much went into that behavior whenever I was faced with anything negative, which made me very vulnerable to being abused and bullied (which I both have been), which only lead to more learned behavior and eventually turned into SA during my teenage years.
 

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I think mine is genetics since I've had it about as long as I can remember.
 

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I've always been shy. When I moved to a new town it didn't really help me very much. The kids here were really mean. I always got left out. No one wanted to be my partner when we did group work and no one really talked to me very much either. I eventually made a couple of friends and kept them for a long time. In 5th grade though I had made friends with these two girls whom I THOUGHT were my best friends. But during the end of the year, they randomly stopped talking to me because they thought I was annoying and weird. I felt really betrayed. That was the first time in my life that I had lost trust in someone...and I was only 10. :/

Middle school was the worst for me though. Puberty struck..and it was not nice to me at all. I looked like a little monster. My hair used to be all nice and cute then it all the sudden looked like a brillo pad, I grew hair EVERYWHERE on my body, and I got fat. Ugh, it was gross. I didn't feel normal. (I didn't find out until later that I had a hormonal deficiency which I am dealing with now.) I literally had no friends at all in my grade. Things got better in 8th grade. I actually made a lot of friends and they stood up for me when I was getting made fun of (or the other way around).

High school wasn't too bad though. I did get teased a lot but not as much at middle school. People left me alone for the most part because they were afraid of me.

And college. No one bothers me. It's easy to be invisible there. I love college even though I haven't made any friends.

Ugh, I seriously need to get my sh*t together...
 

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Lack of friends in middle school which progressed into high school. Those years are usually key for developing good social skills.
 

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For me it started in first grade. When I started There was a kid named T and for no reason at all he hated me. As dumb as it sounds he convinced everyone that I had "cooties". If I touched something of someone else' they would make like they were wiping something off of it with their hands. This happened all the way until the end of seventh grade when I finally moved to a new town. As a result of this people hated me for no reason and I was constantly beat up on the way home from school by many people. After school when I went outside to play in the nearby park other kids would beat me up. I was pretty much getting beaten on a nearly constant basis for years. During that entire time in my old town I only made a single friend. I didn't develop any SAD symptoms until around 9th grade. If I had them earlier I don't remember. I've made more friends since I moved, but my best friend to this day is still that one friend I made in my old town. Most of my friends are people I've met through him.

Strange how some tiny little thing like kid teasing me about "cooties" can escalate into that.
 

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ThirdEyeGrind
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I don't think I have sa. I know for a fact I have sa. I just know. After years of researching sa on the net and my lack of socialness, I just know I have it.
 

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When I got my puberty and everything about me turned wrong (pimply, oily skin, crap hair, overweight etc.) and at the same, moving back to my parent's home from my grandma's house because they didn't want to stay with me anymore.

School (High school) didn't help much in settling my state down either.
 

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My reasons (supposed reasons, I should say, because to be honest I'm not entirely sure where it comes from, so this is all speculative) are kinda pathetic compared to some peoples. I feel a bit moany and ungrateful. Oh well.

-My parents both love me, that I'm sure of. But they divorced when I was 5 so my dad was rarely there - though I still adore him, don't get me wrong. We don't tend to have father-daughter bonding moments or emotional discussion but I love him - and my mother can be a bit...I dunno. Inconsistent, I believe is the word. One day you can tell her that you've done something good and she'll be thrilled and supportive but you could tell her the same thing another time and she'd tell me to go awaybecause she's too busy for me. It doesn't bother me so much now but I think as a kid you don't really get that parents have other things to do and I think it's just stuck with me as a general fear of unpredictable rejection.

-The effects of middle child syndrome - after eight years of being used to being the youngest I found myself suddenly in middle child position, with an immensely clever older sister (she was put up a year) and a younger sister with learning disabilities. I was a fairly unremarkable child. It's not surprising I didn't get much attention, but again, it's the kind of thing that doesn't bother me now but did back then and the effects of it linger.

- I was also very sensitive as a kid, but my family tend to be from the 'laughing at you to toughen you up' way of thinking. To be fair it does seem to have worked for my older sister, but she was never quite as oversensitive as I was and I hate being laughed at.

-I went through an awful goth-phase in year 7 because all my friends were. Didn't quite have the money to get actual awesome clothes so I always felt a bit behind them there and the inevitable teasing occured. It was never out-and-out bullying, and to be completely honest it was the kind of 12 year old, pathetically snarky *****ing comments that I know I threw out at other people myself back then, but it meant my confidence was shot.

-I want to be the best at things. I think this is some residue from my abounding jealousy of my older sister. I love drawing and writing whilst I'm doing it but tend to get quite depressed afterwards because I know there's always so many better things than what I've done.

-In relation to the last thing, my boyfriend is such a freakin' overachiever. I love him to pieces and all, but why does he have to be so good at everything?! Mind you, he doesn't seem to think he is, so I reckon we're both in the same boat there.

-The boyfriends ex girlfriend is practically perfect in every way. It does nothing for already fragile self-esteem.

-I'm constantly surrounded by the vague and pessimistic feeling that no one I meet in the future could possibly compare to the group of people that I was a part of in my final year of school, my boyfriend and all my absolutely unique and incredible friends. They're all kind of rare from what I've seen of the human race. I get nostalgic and hate change - I think that's because of how weird things were when we moved here when I was 8, and it was all a bit scary and strange - so I don't want to make new friends because it feels like forgetting the old ones, or because I compare them to my old ones and don't feel like they compare. So I just don't make new friends.

-I'm pretty sure the pill I was on when I started college threw my already unstable emotions into a hormonal tornado of deep deep depression which obviously did nothing for my friend skills. The pill got finished a month in, but I can't help but associate college with that feeling of utter hopelessness, so the worry stayed. For some reason I have this thing about starting new tasks/places. It's like my own little OCD; if I start a year a certain way, I just feel like I have to keep going in the same way I have been until I hit some kind of milestone, like summer holidays or a new year or whatever. Even if I want to change myself I think 'ok, once it gets to [whenever] I will start doing things differently'. I don't know where that comes from (I also have a thing about not starting a new task unless it's at a rounded time - quarter past, half past, quarter to or the hour. I absolutely cannot get up to accomplish a new task at, say, 12 minutes past the hour. I don't really get it either *shrug* but everyone has their quirks!) So I get stuck in my ways for so long that by the time that milestone arrives I forget how to act any other way. And then have to wait for the next appropriate time before I try again.

Add all that to being naturally shy and bam, instant SA.

So yeah. Lame reasons really, when you think about it, but there you go.
 

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As best I can tell...

- Genetic/inherent component. Both parents are shy and introverted, with my dad apparently having been borderline SA as a teenager.

- Appearance. Always been the short, scrawny kid and looked way young for my age. Even though I wasn't directly picked on for it, there have been numerous cases where someone has implied (and a few times even flat-out said) that I looked like a "kid" when I was a teenager... now I'm a young adult and look like a teenager at best, whoopee! Right now it's probably the leading cause of my SA, sad to say. Even when I enter a new social situation in which I'm content with my social "skills" and cool with the people involved, I'm deathly afraid that they're going to think I look ridiculously young for a college graduate and not take me seriously. And sometimes my fears prove founded. Needless to say, this also completely eliminates any dating prospects.

- Growing up in a conservative household with reserved, nearly-friendless parents. It's not like my parents were bad people or tried to limit my socialization - I took care of that just fine on my own - but they also raised me in an environment that was too different from the "real world" for my own good, I think. To make matters worse, my father's job required us to move around every few years, so I never had the benefit of keeping the friends I made as a younger kid when SA is less of a factor.

- Eccentric and/or nerdy interests and hobbies, in conjunction with a complete lack of interest in most common social activities for guys my age - drinking, clubbing, college football, etc. Of course, I'm starting to get into a gray area where this may be at least partially the result of the above factors and the fact that I've broken myself off from my peers' social networks for most of my life. But still, I feel there's a part of me that just plain enjoys these things - things that are typically the domain of older adults and total geeks - and wouldn't trade them for anything, let alone social acceptance that hinges on my participating in activities I loathe.

Beyond that, I'm sure I could go on all day listing countless incidents from growing up that knocked my self-esteem down just one more notch, but ultimately most of it can be traced back to the above factors I think.
 
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