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The source of social anxiety

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The source of social anxiety

Postby pamelaperejil » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:58 pm

I'm not sure if I'm posing this question well. What I mean here by "anxiety" is an obsessive, nagging need to have closure or certainty. An intolerance of ambiguity. The need to have social expectations spelled out to you in plain English. Not to have to guess. A fear of the failure of guessing wrong.

I'm guessing many of you (us?) when left to guess in ambiguous social situations would be likely to guess wrong and then face embarrassment. Which would naturally make social situations a source of anxiety. In this case, it's a fear of something outside the self. The fear of embarassment. The fear of other people.

I'm also guessing many of you (us?) have obsessive tendencies quite apart from the above. If I understand obsession correctly, and if I'm describing what I mean correctly, this is the fear of not getting it right. The fear of making a mistake for it's own sake and not for the sake of who's watching. A mandate for perfection that comes from within the self. A failure that will be punished from within and not from without.

My question is this: if you feel anxiety in social situations (i.e. when faced with the necessity of making guesses about what's appropriate), what is the reason for that anxiety? Does it come from a fear of social condemnation, the embarassment of getting it wrong? Loss of face in the eyes of other people? Or is it more of an OCD thing, the need to get it right for it's own sake. The fear of guessing at all. The fear of making a mistake at all. A fear of the unknown? Or is it a combination of the two things?
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Re: The source of social anxiety

Postby shock_the_monkey » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:24 am

aspies need certainty. aspies can't function with uncertainty. any uncertainty must be eliminated by over-analysis. uncertainty creates an almost infinite range of outcomes. and that means overload. and that possibly means meltdown too. remember, aspies feel too much. as such, they tend to brace themselves against the shocks that life throws at them by being forewarned. such forewarning isn't possible with uncertainty. they fear being overwhelmed by their experiences. as the line in my signature says: don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
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Re: The source of social anxiety

Postby pamelaperejil » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:59 am

shock_the_monkey wrote:aspies need certainty. aspies can't function with uncertainty. any uncertainty must be eliminated by over-analysis. uncertainty creates an almost infinite range of outcomes. and that means overload. and that possibly means meltdown too. remember, aspies feel too much. as such, they tend to brace themselves against the shocks that life throws at them by being forewarned. such forewarning isn't possible with uncertainty. they fear being overwhelmed by their experiences. as the line in my signature says: don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey.


I am definitely aspie then.
previously: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

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Re: The source of social anxiety

Postby pamelaperejil » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:46 am

pamelaperejil wrote:I'm not sure if I'm posing this question well. What I mean here by "anxiety" is an obsessive, nagging need to have closure or certainty.


For me, it feels like the world will end if I make a mistake. Which is why I get REALLY angry when others fail to be specific/communicate/clarify their expectations . (And why I'm so direct and over-specific in my own communications with others). In asking me to guess, I see them as setting me up for failure, which I dread. I can't tell you HOW angry this makes me. The reason why I've quit most jobs I've quit was because I felt this was happening. The person training me wasn't putting full effort into it, wasn't taking pains to tell me everything I needed to know and, as a result, I was going to... MAKE A MISTAKE!!!! Grimace. The idea of it made me livid. Then when it happened, that made me even more livid. Frothing at the mouth livid. Jumping up and down livid. Because a mistake happened which could have been avoided. And this catastrophe, I felt, was the other person's fault for failing to make things perfectly, perfectly clear. I've gotten considerably better in this regard as I've begun learning that, no, in fact the world does not end when you make a mistake or inefficient maneuver. In fact, other people barely notice. It still freaks me out, though.

Interestingly, I don't feel the same anxiety or anger over unavoidable mistakes. Dropping something by accident. Those pass over me like water. But any kind of missed comunication just kills me. Which must mean it's not the fact that something happened at all that bothers me but the inefficiency or lost opportunity. The misstep. The failure to control something that should have been controlled.
previously: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

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Re: The source of social anxiety

Postby iabsurdlyexist » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:16 am

A lot of this makes sense to me. I guess I just never realized I was doing it. I admit, I prefer more detail then I give out. I wonder if it's because I can't judge what the needs of other's are.

As for certainty, I definitely like to be sure about things and not leave anything open. If something is left open, it doesn't exit my mind and bothers me. This is why I tend to get things done when I can so that I can release my mind. I've never been a good procrastinator but I sure was when I was depressed. It was a very odd feeling. I even remember telling my therapist how odd it was that I was able to procrastinate.
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Re: The source of social anxiety

Postby pamelaperejil » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:40 pm

For me, I want to say it's more of the latter. Not fear of what others will think but a fear of getting wrong per se. Fear of or distaste for, I don't know which. An OCD kind of thing. A need for machinelike efficiency and lack of waste. For pure communication without the chance of misunderstanding. I used to think this was related to borderline black and white thinking and shame, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe it's just a weird obsession for an unrealistic standard of perfection, without the chance of mistakes. A distaste for human illogical nonsense. I get really mad at people for walking inefficiently, working inefficiently, talking inefficiently.

My dad complains of the same. As a matter of fact, it's the reason he's had so much trouble keeping a job.
previously: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

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Re: The source of social anxiety

Postby Cassandre » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:04 pm

It's your shadow self: XNFP -> XSTJ. There are other ways to explain that than MBTI of course, let me know if you would like me to elaborate...
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Re: The source of social anxiety

Postby pamelaperejil » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:26 pm

Cassandre wrote:It's your shadow self: XNFP -> XSTJ. There are other ways to explain that than MBTI of course, let me know if you would like me to elaborate...


I'd love it if you would.
previously: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

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Re: The source of social anxiety

Postby Cassandre » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:43 pm

XNFPs are fluffy creatures at baseline, laidback, loving and tolerant especially if, growing up, they're being supported in channeling a better version of themselves. If being interfered with or stressed, such as being pressured to achieve goals running contrary to their natural dispositions, they may be forced to tap into decisional and organisational cognitive functions they aren't truly adept at in order to palliate.

It's the kind of thing you keep doing to yourself afterwards. So what you get is on one hand the happy-go-lucky dreamy childlike self (childlike though not necessarily childish), on the other hand the hyperfocused, decisive, task-oriented self, Te-Si if you go by MBTI functions.

This dissonance can be painful to experience, and a practical goal could be to bring those two selves to a synthesis to have them waltz harmoniously with each other.

Anyway, I'm curious about your thoughts on the topic...
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Re: The source of social anxiety

Postby pamelaperejil » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:54 pm

Cassandre wrote:This dissonance can be painful to experience, and a practical goal could be to bring those two selves to a synthesis to have them waltz harmoniously with each other.

Anyway, I'm curious about your thoughts on the topic...


I've experienced the shadow self thing before under times of extreme stress. But what I'm experiencing now seems more than that. I'm aloof and completely disinterested in people in real life, to the point of being really odd. Online I'm a needy mess. And, and this is the most telling, I keep offending people or behaving in inappropriate ways without being aware. I make (what seem to others) to be obvious social faux pas and yet I remain mystified as to why I have offended. Not just as the time but afterwards, when the stress has gone, I still don't understand what I did wrong. I keep breaking the rules without being aware, and without learning anything in the process, only to return to break the rules again and piss people off further, because I can't tell what I'm doing wrong. I expect people to tell me and that simply doesn't happen.

So that, and the childhood developments milestones that I hit late (spoken about on another thread) lead me to believe that they're right about Asperger's.

But it might be the shadow thing as well. That might be contributing.
previously: pleasnpetrichor, perejil

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