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David Baxter

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Painful Shyness In Children And Adults

Avoidance or Inhibition Creates Problems for the Painfully Shy and for Those Around Them
APA Help Center

Avoidance and inhibition include:

  • Canceling social events at the last moment
  • Avoiding situations that provide positive social interaction
  • Few or no friends
  • Avoidance of activities that are otherwise pleasurable
  • Passivity, pessimism and low self-esteem
  • Friends, family members, teachers, or mentors are concerned
  • Excessive computer use that is not social in nature, and is without face to face contact with others
Research shows that causes of avoidance, inhibition, distress can include:

Temperament or Biological Influences

  • Withdrawn, avoidant, excessively emotionally reactive
  • Highly sensitive, when lacking adequate social support
  • Poor emotional "fit" with family members or some environments
Stressful Life Events

  • Shaming experiences
  • Major moves from one school or city to another
  • Abrupt changes or disruptions in family life
Negative Family Interactions

  • Frequent parental criticism and shaming to enforce behavioral compliance, high parental control with little expressed warmth
  • Chaotic family interactions or neglect
Stressful Work or School Environments

  • Highly competitive, critical, or hostile environments
  • Public embarrassment for poor performance
  • Dominance behaviors rewarded, and bullying or teasing ignored or encouraged
How Loved Ones, Friends and Mentors Can Help

Maintain Appropriate Expectations

  • Maintain appropriate expectations while communicating empathy for the shy person's painful emotions.
  • Encourage them to tell you about their daily experiences and how they feel about them.
  • Acknowledge the conflict between needs to belong and fears of rejection.
  • Role play challenging situations with the shy person.
  • Help the shy individual set specific, manageable behavioral goals, and agreed upon reasonable means to attain them.
  • Help challenge the frequent negative thoughts about the self and others, and help them develop constructive alternatives.
  • Avoid negative labels and intense pressures for social performance.
  • Remember that shyness and social anxiety are common and universal experiences at all ages for most people.
A Psychologist Can Help

  • Group therapy provides a place to explore, experiment, test pessimistic hypotheses about the self and social interaction, and develop adaptive interaction styles.
  • Successful therapy lowers barriers to action and increases appropriate risk taking and self-acceptance. Deliberate social "niche picking", or choosing situations that suit one's temperament, also increases.
  • Individual therapy provides a place to explore one's needs, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors without pressure from others.
  • Group and Individual therapy help clients develop more empathy for others and themselves by reducing negative selfthoughts, self-blame and shame while building positive perspectives and effective behavioral patterns.
  • Medication may help clients enter feared situations.
 

braveheart

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well, this is how it was for me [what I've bolded]

Stressful Life Events

Shaming experiences
Major moves from one school or city to another
Abrupt changes or disruptions in family life
Negative Family Interactions

Frequent parental criticism and shaming to enforce behavioral compliance, high parental control with little expressed warmth
Chaotic family interactions or neglect

Stressful Work or School Environments

Highly competitive, critical, or hostile environments
Public embarrassment for poor performance
Dominance behaviors rewarded, and bullying or teasing ignored or encouraged

Things are better now, but it all wounded me. I do have a safe core of relationships, though with unknowns/strangers the social anxiety borders on paranoia, and I find that exceedingly painful, and sometimes a source of further shame.[my hostility and self defensiveness. working on it though...]
 

ladylore

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Deliberate social "niche picking", or choosing situations that suit one's temperament, also increases.

What does this mean?

If I go by what I think it means - and I have done it more and more lately - it feels like I am being too picky and finding an excuse to leave that particular group. Usually because the anxiety feels out of control.

On the other hand, my counsellor just laughs when I told her I basically fired my psychiatrist - I have done it often in the past 3-4 months. She sees it as taking control of my life.
 

Bones

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Deliberate social "niche picking", or choosing situations that suit one's temperament, also increases.
I think it means basically choosing situations and environments that we are best suited to... And maybe staying away from those in which we are not?
But I'm not sure if this is good or bad. ?
I think I do this quite often. The problem is that we sometimes have to be in situations that we don't want to be in. :rolleyes:

--------------------------------

And this is how I think it is for me...
[What Ive bolded, and comments unbolded]

Avoidance and inhibition include:


  • [*]Canceling social events at the last moment -> sometimes, but usually don't.
    [*]Avoiding situations that provide positive social interaction
    [*]Few or no friends
    [*]Avoidance of activities that are otherwise pleasurable -> sometimes
    [*]Passivity, pessimism and low self-esteem -> sometimes
  • Friends, family members, teachers, or mentors are concerned -> Don't think so, but don't know.
    [*]Excessive computer use that is not social in nature, and is without face to face contact with others -> Definitely.
Research shows that causes of avoidance, inhibition, distress can include:

Temperament or Biological Influences


  • [*]Withdrawn, avoidant, excessively emotionally reactive -> sometimes, but not really emotionally reactive.
    [*]Highly sensitive, when lacking adequate social support -> sometimes
    [*]Poor emotional "fit" with family members or some environments -> Mostly with some environments.
Stressful Work or School Environments


  • [*]Highly competitive, critical, or hostile environments
  • Public embarrassment for poor performance
  • Dominance behaviors rewarded, and bullying or teasing ignored or encouraged

And I think I am a lot better now than when I was younger.
Maybe because I have learned to accept it.
 
Last edited:
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Seems to me the article describes more the painful past of a "withdrawn" person and also, the "pain" felt by some of the folks that inflicted it when having to deal with the "withdrawn" person they helped to alienate.

As for temperament, the introvert, who doesn't want to dance a jig on a table or be a master of ceremony, it's time to respect that quiet type instead of beating on him or her to be something they're not and making them feel flawed, unloved!

My two cents,

Josée
 
Last edited:

Bones

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As for temperament, the introvert, who doesn't want to dance a jig on a table or be a master of ceremony, it's time to respect that quiet type instead of beating on him or her to be something they're not and making them feel flawed, unloved!
Jos?e
I AGREE!
 

David Baxter

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I don't think the article is talking about simple introversion or even simple shyness but rather something much more extreme and much more disruptive to the individual's life.

It's not about judging the shy or introverted. It's about helping them to live more fulfilling and less distressing lives.
 

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