PSYCHOLOGY OF SOCIAL ANXIETY AND SOCIAL PHOBIA: What Causes Social Anxiety?
What’s happening in the social world?
Does everyone gossip? Does everyone judge others’ privacy? What’s good for socializing? What’s good for branching out connections? Why there are so many betrayals and lies between friends or lovers? Are we able to give full trust to others after encountering successive betrayals?
As Coplan and Rudasill claim in ‘Quiet at School: An Educator’s Guide to Shy Children’, for an introvert, ‘being in a crowd of people is overstimulating and draining’. Introverts ‘will seek a retreat into solitude to recharge their batteries’. The school day can be stressful, tiring or even debilitating for the introverts who are not good at socializing with others.
As to my observation, most introverts are highly cooperative and they are talented at making compromises in the group by sacrificing their needs and wants by forever silence.
A growing body of research found that shy children are reported to have ‘the most loneliness and least school liking’ and peer relationships difficulties
They desire invisibility because they’re socially anxious and thus they attempt to avoid attention and interactions with others. They only interact with few people who approach them with utmost kindness out of self-protection.
The introverts are good at making themselves invisible in the group. Those who suffer from social phobia rarely seek help. They’re feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable when being ignored or isolated in the group. They are not good at approaching others. They are passive in personality by nature. And it’s terribly difficult for the introverts to start a conversation with the people they like.
“ internalizers are extremely sensitive to the quality of emotional intimacy in their relationships. Their entire personality longs for emotional spontaneity and intimacy, and they can’t be satisfied with less.” ― Lindsay C. Gibson, Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)?
SAD sometimes also titled as social phobia, which is considered an anxiety disorder.The most common symptom of social phobia (SP) is the fear of being ill-treated, bullied, humiliated or mocked in social situations.
To be honest, it’s good to know that countless people were struggling with the exact same thing as me o that I am not alone nor awkward or weird at all. So, I am able to stop labeling myself as being abnormal.
Everyone desire to be accepted
What makes SAD a commonplace thing in modern society? Social discrimination and social prejudice would be the answer. Frustrating socializing experience would be one of the main reasons. For some people, they never experience traumatic events in life, but they repeatedly experience negative evaluation or judgment during social gathering. Eventually, they would rather withdraw themselves from social activities to prevent themselves from getting hurt. Those who suffer from social phobia expect themselves to encounter another possible embarrassment or humiliation in social activities. As they force themselves to attend a social gathering, they potentially carry unbearable weight on their shoulders, which might kindle insomnia for days or weeks because of intense anxiety.
Social Phobia: Hide from Possible Fear, Danger, and Threats
They are unwilling to expose themselves to dangerous or feared situations. In other words, they suffer from uneasiness in social gatherings. Why? The answer is self-evident. It’s people, people’s harsh judgment, rumors, backbiting, or deliberate ignorance, something like that.
Former bad social experiences, old trauma or fears encourage them to avoid another experience like that. They fail to predict or visualize any possible positive bonus of interacting with others or meeting someone who might value their self-worth.
After repeated similar bad experiences from social gatherings, they are unwilling to get hurt again. In other words, they would rather put themselves in a non-threatening environment, be alone and safe, than build connection with others. Over time, they lose the desire to interact with the outside world. Or rather, they are unwilling to waste their time to build interpersonal relationships. They would rather confine themselves at home or stay in a comfort zone with the ones who really love them and accept them, such as their parents or lovers.
Social anxiety definitely has something to do with the individuals’ past trauma. They sense ignorance, danger or threat or as they attend social gatherings. Social phobia is absolutely out of self-protection, which has something to do with a defense mechanism, which is indeed an unconscious psychological mechanism.
Thought-provoking questions: Are you able to speak mind with blunt honesty?
Do you make statements lacks tact?
As a social animal, we internalized morals and values from our parents, friends, and mainstream society. Mostly, the way how other people perceive you do have an impact on your self-value to a certain degree.
I suppose the introverts are those who are relatively bad at defending themselves or justified themselves as they receive offensive remarks in the social gatherings. They overly fear about conflicts and they would rather keep silent than having a fight or argument with others in person. That’s why they get hurt or bullied more easily than the extroverts.
People with social anxiety come to believe they unlikeable to the public or even to society.
For instance, I enjoyed popularity when I was little. Nevertheless, from the day I set my mind to work at home and make a living from translation and writing, I received countless unfriendly judgment and remarks from people I knew for years. Being a writer could be an unrealistic and unpractical option for most Taiwanese. And some people don’t perceive the writer as a career indeed. Most writers get famous overnight after years of endless writing. Nobody was born to famous. Many of my articles were posted on the newspaper successively by using my real name or pseudonym. And many of my articles were topped as the most read articles on many sites. Nevertheless, I was not famous yet, cuz I was the one who was unwilling to sell my privacy or reveal much of my daily lives in my blog or personal website.
I am wondering why do we have to be famous to earn more chances? Is it necessary for a writer to be a celebrity if she wants to sell her books?
I am not a brave person. But I could never give up writing, not for this moment. Staying away from the crow becomes a solution for me to keep a peaceful mind, and it works well. There were times I dragged myself out of my comfort zone and socialized with some old acquaintances. And it turned out to be a disaster that everyone wanted to show themselves better than others by preaching a lesson or criticizing others’ career. I noticed that those who have been discriminated became the oppressor eventually. That’s a terrifying and sad fact indeed. Ultimately, I feel disappointed at interpersonal relationships that I lose the desire to make new friends.
But I believe I am blessed that my parents are the ones who give me strong mental support along the way, especially my mom. There were times that I wanted to give up the idea of being a writer. And she encouraged me to keep writing. She has confidence in me and very proud of me. She said that she envied my talents. She never read any novel or romance before my first publication. And she was the one who told me that her soul was deeply healed after reading my first novel and she read it three times right after I finished it. There’s nothing more I should ask for.
I did not pay much effort to make friends. Before college days, I had people come to me to be my friends. Nevertheless, I came to realize that it was hard to find a true friend who loved you unconditionally. Frankly, I have a high standard of unconditional love. For the present, I rarely spend time socializing. But I do spend lots of time with my parents on a daily basis that we almost share everything. But I never tell them that I tried hard to accompany them to assure their happiness and health. As my parents are getting old, my biggest fear is that they might get sick someday. Hence, I tried hard to stop it from happening. And I do believe if they are able to happy about their life, it might keep them from getting sick.
★The following are the thought-provoking questions for you to concern:
How to heal the wounded hearts from the former troublesome interpersonal relationships? Is it possible for someone to trust people again after successive betrayals and disappointments of interpersonal relationships?
WHY DO PEOPLE SUFFER FROM SOCIAL PHOBIA?
LIVING WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY
How Do Defense Mechanisms Work?
In Sigmund Freud’spsychoanalytic theory, a defense mechanism is a tactic operated by the ego to safeguard the mind against anxiety.
Social Anxiety leads to Self-Isolation
Social anxiety or frustrating interpersonal relationships does keep the individuals from going out and stop socializing, which became a social phenomenon in Japan, especially for those who haven’t secure a presentable job offer.
PTSD and Social Anxiety Disorder
- PTSD and social anxiety disorder (SAD) commonly co-occur.
- The chief reason why people feel depression has something to do with the reason that they feel their self-worth is depreciated. And the common reason why people feel loneliness is that they feel disconnected to others. Whereas patients with PTSD have higher difficulty to build a connection with others.
- Persons with PTSD generally have difficulties in interacting with others. Because communication or discussion can potentially trigger trauma-related topics, which may lead to social withdrawal and self-isolation.
Speaking to NBC ’s: ‘I suffer from a mental illness; I suffer from PTSD. I’ve never told anyone that before […] But the kindness that’s been shown to me, by doctors as well as my family and my friends, it’s really saved my life. I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself and I found that kindness is the best way. One way to help people that have trauma is to inject them with as many positive thoughts as possible. It’s priceless.’
‘I was angry, cynical and had this deep sadness like an anchor dragging everywhere I go. I just didn’t feel like fighting anymore. I didn’t feel like standing up for myself one more time – to one more person who lied to me. I really felt like I was dying – my light completely out. I said to myself, “Whatever is left in there, even just one light molecule, you will find it and make it multiply. You have to for you. You have to for your music. You have to for your fans and your family.”’
‘I was hiding out from the celebrity thing. I was smoking way too much dope. I was sitting on the couch and just turning into a doughnut, and I really got irritated with myself. I got to, “What’s the point? I know better than this.” I used to deal with depression, but I don’t know, not this decade – maybe last decade. But that’s also figuring out who you are. I see it as a great education, as one of the seasons or a semester, “This semester I was majoring in depression.” I was doing the same thing every night and numbing myself to sleep, the same routine. I couldn’t wait to get home and hide out. But that feeling of unease was growing and one night I just said, “This is a waste.”’
‘When I walked out of the studio after five years of working so hard, knowing I had been treated so disrespectfully for no other reason than I was gay, I just went into this deep, deep depression.’
Kesha speaks out about her mental illness after she accepted her Trailblazer Award at the 2016 Billboard Women in Music awards: ‘If I’m lucky enough to have a voice someone will listen to, then I should use it for good, for truth. That is why I have recently spoken openly about some of my struggles including my crippling anxiety and beginning recovery for an eating disorder amongst many other things. I know I’m not alone. These are struggles millions of people around the world deal with on a daily basis.’
How to deal with social anxiety and loneliness?
There are people surrounded by friends and loneliness. Is it possible that people feel lonely and disconnected in the highly digitally ‘connected’ world? How to deal with loneliness in the midnight when you are alone?
Question for contemplation: Does the problem or any misunderstanding of every interpersonal relationship have something to do with the lack of communication skills? Are we allowed to hide our old wounds? Is there anyone whom you can give your full trust without being worried about being hurt, judged or betrayed?
Most people might agree that the quality of the intimate relationship counts over quantity. It is said that introverted people are more likely to suffer from social anxiety because of lack of social skills or having a sensitive mind. I would say, the introverts generally are those who are not talented at promoting themselves, especially in the public. Further, it might be stressful or frustrating for people to build new friendships if the fear of possible rejection.
Some people manage to maintain solid and long-term friendships from their school days, workplace or anywhere by chance. Nevertheless, most people gradually lost contact with old friends as they graduate or change their job or life track.
▲PTSD （Post-traumatic stress disorder）中文：創傷後壓力症候群
▲social anxiety 中文 社交焦慮