Reblogged: social fucking anxiety!

My demons by Anna Vanes

Social anxiety is often defined as an overwhelming fear of negative judgement or social situations. In her latest post, the blogger linked below presents her own interpretation of her social anxiety as a sense of being unsafe in others’ presences. More overt in such a definition is human threat, as well as vulnerability. The blogger suggests that the ‘codependency’ integral to her family’s culture, particularly, amongst the women, has been, at least, a barrier to recognising and starting to overcome that sense of vulnerability. She has been helped by therapy but continues to search for a way to feel safe with people.

“in an entire 2 weeks, my grandma could not name what she wanted to do that made her happy without referencing helping someone else. her idea of fun was buying me pants on a whim – while i know that money is tight, while i know that i don’t need them and expressed that sentiment, and i was served a sweet side dish of i-have-difficulty-accepting-things-of-all-kinds. monetary, quality time, love – all of it, but that’s a different story.”

The blogger replicates this ‘generosity’ or what might be considered as a ‘safety behaviour’ by giving people, “my 150% listening ear – in an effort to appease them, take the attention off of myself, and establish myself as a nonthreatening person so they are less likely to hurt me.”

The sense of being unsafe or vulnerable around people arose, she states, in her childhood: “i did not feel safe around or nurtured by my parents – physically, emotionally, or mentally – and i was often placed in a position where i had to gauge their moods first because that would indicate how much of their moods would be taken out on me.”

Rather than develop self-dependence and strength, her wider family’s codependency, she suggests, ingrained in her the tactic of self-sacrifice to ingratiate and protect herself generally. Moreover, they may have helped to hide the reality of her vulnerability from herself: “i always thought i was just nervous: nerves were those arresting stomach churning moments where my hands couldn’t stop shaking and i couldn’t sleep the night before, leading to very quick, jerky movements and a spotty memory the following day – right?”

Her therapy, she says, has helped her become more aware of her fear as bodily sensations and her ‘band aid’ of taking care of others. She is “literally burning all of the files in my head on how to be in relationships and writing something up anew. a hypothetical phoenix. a mental health maverick.” However, without the band aid, the sense of vulnerability and feeling unsafe with people, she says, is amplified.

The blogger’s interpretation of her social anxiety in terms of safety is stark. However, it has the benefit, unlike other terms such as ‘negative judgement’ and ‘social situations’, of more overtly acknowledging human threat and, impliedly, the need to develop resistant strength.

Image designed by Anna Vanes
Stock image credits can be found here.

Read the full One Seed at a Time blog post by clicking below or at: http://www.onemillionguavas.home.blog

Author: Workers' Archive

Covering sensitivity at work and beyond on my website: https://samuelaliblog.wordpress.com/

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