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#285968 - 05/01/09 12:43 PM Fear of people
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Guys,

Last friday I wnet down to Corona Ca. to a celebrate recovery meeting. After having bailed on going the week before after promising my sister in law that I would be there. I was on the freeway on the way there when I just decided to turn around and go home. That night was the night I acted out with porn. Running away again?! So last friday I happen to get off of work in time for me to get to this recovery group. Plus my work is alot closer than my home is to this meeting. Well I got there about 30 minutes earily and I said hello to my brother-in-law. As I read some broscures and I had to fight this urge to leave. There were other people around talking but I could not bring myself to interact with them. Until my b-i-l introduced me to some of the men at table and we all started talking to each other. Even when I went into building to sing song of praise. I found myself moving to the end of the row towards the back by myself. Until my s-i-l waved me over and told me I needed to come over and be with my family. Afterwards we broke up into smaller groups. I went to the purity group for men dealing with sex addictions. There were only 4 of us in the group and I had no difficulties sharing in that group. I felt really comfortable but I have alot of experience in sharing my story in groups.
I have become really aware of how isolate I am regards to others in a emotional sense. Most of my recovery in the last year has been here on M.S. but no real personal interaction in person with others. And how hard it is for me to iniate any type of interaction.
I have always found a great sense of security in my isolate from others. There ia a great deal of loniliness in that isolation but the security and safety has always out weighted it. But it makes relationships extremely difficult to maintain. Because whenever you feel threaten or in danger you automatically withdraw into yourself and shut all others out. When the shit hits the fan you can trust no one but yourself. Or you walk into a new situation you can barely interact with those around you because you can trust no until you get to know them. But you cannot get to know them because of your overwhelming fear that they will hurt you. And others have a hard time understanding why you are always keeping them at a distance. You are in a catch 22 situation wanting to be close to others but being extremely scared of being hurt by those closest to you. I can remember being 5 and struggling with this very same issue.
How do you overcome being terrified of those you loved the most.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#286073 - 05/02/09 01:49 PM Re: Fear of people [Re: michael banks]
John Oarc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/10/06
Posts: 633
Loc: Louisiana
Mike, I am struggling with this issue and have for a long time. Drinking helped ease me into social settings but some time ago I stopped drinking and I find myself having to deal with the anxious feelings of being around strangers. My logical side tells me that everyone has issues but I cant bring my emotional side around to believing I am just as good as the next guy. I am working on it very hard and I am getting better. I just recently understood and accepted the fact that I have anxiety GAD. That is the first step in recovery so I guess I am on my way. I look back and understand that the day I went to the police and gave the officer my CSA account is the day my anxiety started. I had to go back to school and face all of my friends just knowing that they knew everything. The anxiety never stopped, I carried that feeling into my future thinking complete strangers knew what I had been through, like they could see through me into the CSA.

This road is long and sometimes down right scary but its a road made by those who have gone before me and they don't mind sharing the map.

John O

_________________________
Whatever It Takes, God


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#286080 - 05/02/09 02:53 PM Re: Fear of people [Re: michael banks]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
mike, since i have been focusing on the topic of attachment lately, this issue has been in the front of my mind, so reading your post causes me to draw connections between your subject and what i've read professionals have said about it.

an infant who feels their self to be in a 'strange situation' supposedly seeks to reconnect to the safety of a known caregiver. for instance if you ever noticed when a stranger comes up to a child and starts to talk with them, they may do one of two things, sit there comfortably in their mother's/caregiver's arms and give a big ole grin, OR on the other hand, if their behavior response is fear and alarm, they immediately tense up and contract their body in toward the cargiver for protection.

as i think about it, i tend to think this is a regular pattern of behavior for most creatures. for instance when i take my birds outside to play in the backyard, and the shadow of another bird flying overhead races across the ground, their first instinct is to 'duck' or cower or cringe to avoid a felt attack.

i know i do the same thing myself when i find myself in social situations where i don't know many people, or where i have less control. especially in areas and spaces where the egress is limited. safety for me in this case is not the comfort of a caregivers arms, but a situation where i have more control of 'my' environment.

what this does for me is help me understand that the tendency to flee the 'strange situation' is a human behavior trait that really does not 'go away' no matter what stage of development we find our selves in. it's always there.

further, understanding it as normal wiring, helps me refrain from putting down myself for feeling the fear in the first place. when my ego gets in the way it starts to bash me for feeling vulnerable in the first place, and the internal critic begin yakking away pointing fingers at how i 'should' look stronger in my own eyes and the eyes of others. shame buttons get pushed and not not only do i feel fear, but it is now mixed in with diminished self-esteem and shame. yuk!

at any rate, the good new in all of this that this reaction is a perfectly normal and natural one, and in and of itself, is not an indicator of a dysfunctional state. it's more what i do with that fear that speaks more about my own ability to manage crises times like these.

now, i have a bit more compassion with myself, and realize that the feeling will subside once i begin to try to make connections in the current situations, assessing people's affirmation of me through positive body language signals, smiles, etc, then i feel much better. once i feel connected and affirmed the fear subsides.

also, another thing to think of is to imagine that everyone else is most likely dealing with their own eaction to the 'strange situation' in their own way, especially if they, like you, are not already attached to the the individuals present through prior connection experiences. that helps to soften the blow, levels the playing field among those involved, and defines the whole process of becoming comfortable in 'strange situations' in terms of having a beginning, a middle and an end, making dealing with them more manageable.

now i realize the wisdom in having everyone turn and greet each other at the beginning of a situation where strangers are gathering, such as in a church service. it takes everyone off guard and helps them become more receptive to the presence of others.

it's only human to fear the unknown.

ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#286154 - 05/03/09 01:55 PM . [Re: Sans Logos]
bardo213 Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 811
.


Edited by bardo213 (06/21/13 07:28 PM)

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#286189 - 05/03/09 06:32 PM Re: Fear of people [Re: bardo213]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Ron,

After we talk the other night i have been seaching the net on acticles on parental and child attachment. How this attachment is different depending on the abilitity of the mother to consistently take care of the child both on a physical and emotional level. And how this effects how we will interact with poeple for the rest of our lives. It creates a model of how we feel both about ourselves and other people in our lives. Which in turns influences how we interact with others in our lives eighter postively or negatively. In studies it has shown that our attachment that we formed with our mothers even creates mark increases in the likely hood of aclohol, drug abuse. Or even whether we are likely to be emotionally,physically or sexually abusive to others.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#286205 - 05/03/09 09:49 PM Re: Fear of people [Re: michael banks]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
These are really interesting issues to me. When I was much younger I was unbelievably shy and isolated (I lived most of high school drawing and playing piano in my bedroom), so I had to learn to interact.

One thing that really helped was improv training, and I really encourage it for anyone with these issues. If you have an improv group locally, it's super fun. Also the book Impro by Keith Johnstone is great. The first step is to realize that all interactions are power structures by nature. they have rules. Someone has to speak to get motion to happen, and the silence scares everyone.

The best way to alleviate the pressure of the silence to make an offer, to say something. Your partner (the stranger at the party, for example) will be super grateful to you for making the first (the scariest) move. The nature of the offer determines the result. A cool, witty offer opens doors. And a non-commital offer about the weather for example, leads to a shorter exchange. The key is to be willing to watch and see where the offer takes you. Then it becomes a game.

Each offer is accepted or denied. In improv the acceptance means a response that encourages more conversation. A denial closes the conversation down. An example would be yes or no, instead of a response that gives info the other person can work with.

To me this helps hugely in overcoming the fear of others because it shows so clearly the way the game of interaction works. We really need each other to help each other out to make happiness happen. And a good conversation heals people. Everyone wants it.

After some time with improv the gift of humor becomes almost second nature, and you can see the looks of gratitude on people's faces for the fact that you've been willing to or have encouraged them to play.

Thanks for reminding me of this.

Danny


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#286231 - 05/04/09 02:25 AM Re: Fear of people [Re: DannyT]
Charlie24 Offline


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 562
Micheal I'm glad you brought this topic up. I struggle with this issue big time and will often go out of my way to avoid situations. My biggest fear is that I will not have anything to say or I will run out of things to say. We're conditioned from a young age to be able to interact. I've been told humans need social contact, we are social creatures. We aren't meant to be alone. I do try to put myself out there and ask people questions, get conversations going but what I really would like is to be heard, asked a question about me. Somehow I feel people have become so conditioned to make things about themselves. Maybe I'm guilty of this as well. I just wonder sometimes about things and life. Conversations can be great if both people are willing and open. Otherwise it can be like pulling teeth getting some people to talk. Maybe some people are just scared like myself.

Charlie.


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