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Old 12-27-2011
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Let me start by saying I am not here to insult anyone by stating what I think, it is just been my personal experience as someone who suffers from Social Anxiety. Basically I think it comes down to selfishness because I am always thinking about how I come off to other people....I am constantly worried about what others think of ME and constantly thinking about MYSELF. When someone treats me bad I automatically think it was MY fault and barely ever stop to think that they might be suffering from something themselves...I believe this is a problem of selfishness and the ego for me....I will explain why later but if you would like to respond explaining why YOU don't believe YOU are selfish and don't feel like reading about someone else's experience, I would love to hear other opinions... I apologize in advanced for the length and am pretty sure no one will read below but if you do, I appreciate it.

Recently I have been struggling as the result of letting my guard down and getting close to a girl I met while out here in Spain. After we met, we were talking every day through text message or meeting up and hanging out....When I started feeling vulnerable and the typical symptoms of this came out I explained to her why because I trusted her....She continued to talk to me and restored the idea that I could trust somebody and show who I really am without putting up walls as a way of defending myself from mental attack....About a month ago, things changed. She stopped sending me as many texts as she said that she was being charged too much and out of 170 texts sent in one month, 160 were sent to me....That is believable...SMS in spain seems to be quite expensive....then a week went by and we hadn't hung out.....so I started getting critical of myself....to make a long story short, I haven't seen her in over two weeks, which is a huge change from almost every other day and naturally I immediately jump to conclusions about it being because of something I did....or that I am just not deserving of her....or that she found another dude that is better than ME.....

The reason I tell this story is because i finally reached the tipping point and told her that if she didn't want to talk anymore that she should just tell me instead of leading me on because she didn't want to hurt me....she assured me that wasn't the case, that she had been really busy and that she really did want to see me....

One day after meditating, I started to feel really sad for her and the things I had said to her....I could feel it on a physical level, the empty stomach and so on....Then I realized that she had told me numerous times how her mother and grandma always tell her she should get on antidepressants, then I remember seeing a box of homeopathic medicine that supposedly helps you become happy....I also noticed that before she stopped talking to me like she used to, she started smoking a lot more pot or hash.....The typical signs of depression were all over this girl and it took me 2 months to notice

The thought never occurred to me that she might be struggling herself because I was so caught up in Myself. What I did or said that was wrong or what it is about my personality that she doesn't like or whatever....and that is why I believe this is all about selfish for me.....

That is one story but it can be applied to all social aspects of my life....I am afraid of big groups because I assume I will do something to make myself look stupid.....I assume that I am so important that everyone's attention is on ME when in reality they are probably just concerned about themselves or not paying attention to me....the list goes on and on and I believe it comes down to me being selfish....
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Old 12-27-2011
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I've never reached the point of questioning other peoples avoidance towards me,I have zero friends,I basically talk to walls.If you managed to get into a relationship and you have a problem with your behavior that's another thing,just because we have the same disorder doesn't cancel out our unique features of our personality,I'm not sure if this makes any sense to you..sorry that's the first thing that came to mind.
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Old 12-27-2011
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This is not selfishness for god sake. Itīs just a perspective. I have it too but donīt think Iīm "selfish". My first thought/feeling that comes to my mind when someone stops speaking to me is that itīs because I did or say something wrong. But I think itīs natural, show me a person who doesnīt have it like that. But as I say itīs just the natural initial reaction. Once you have together all the facts it might correct this perspective somewhat - you might discover that it might not be your fault or at least not entirely. Nevertheless I donīt think is good to slip to the other extreme and never assume that anything is your fault - because - at least in my case - I know a lot of things are really my fault - or just that the people plainly donīt like me or I am not for them for some reason. But it needs a bit intuition I guess to distinguish what applies in which case. And an ability to see things objectively.

Btw itīs better to assume that itīs your fault, because you are the only thing you can correct. And in case they donīt want to see you because theyīre messed up etc. - often the best solution is to give them space. Which they probably need if they donīt contact you.
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Old 12-27-2011
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I wasn't calling everyone on here selfish, I am just saying that I have realized that I always think the attention is on ME so I am afraid of my actions when in reality it probably isn't and people are usually concerned about what is going on with them and in their lives....Yes I think this is natural to assume I did something wrong when I am treated badly but I also think I take it to the extreme and always assume people are thinking about me and what I am doing as much as I am. I describe that as being selfish. I don't label being selfish as a bad thing, I label it as normal, but in my case I take it to the extreme and it hinders my ability to socialize.
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Old 12-27-2011
 

I agree with the original post, although to call it selfishness would probably be to oversimplify the issue. Most people who have social anxiety or extreme shyness are very inwardly focused and extremely sensitive. To me, social anxiety is not this sensitive/inward nature in itself but the walls that we put up around ourselves as a result of past negative experiences and a poor understanding of who we are. I think that the pains we have suffered are a natural consequence of these barriers and are largely self-inflicted. To call our highly sensitive nature a "disorder" denies our nature and implies that there is something wrong with our brains. This "truth" that there is something wrong with us leads to self-destruction in many forms and invites addictive, mind-altering drugs. To solve the problem we must reject the idea that we are flawed individuals, gain a greater knowledge of ourselves (aka build confidence), and work on our inherent weaknesses, which include socializing with others and forming close relationships.

The highly sensitive nature and inward focus that we have called a "disorder" is an evolutionarily conserved survival trait that probably kept our anxious ancestors alive for millennia. It is still a very useful trait to many animals. In today's highly existential world where our basic needs have been met and survival is largely assured, our highly sensitive nature has disappeared as a pure survival trait and is downplayed as a negative trait or a hinderance to success in our cutthroat capitalist society. I think that it has many advantages that we tend to downplay, such as general thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and loyalty when we do form relationships (to name a few). It of course has its disadvantages as well, such as lack of assertiveness and networking/socializing/forming relationships.

So with a poor understanding of ourselves we become convinced that something is wrong with us and our "brain chemistry" and begin to shut ourselves out from society (my guess is this typically occurs during childhood or ****rty and becomes entrenched by young adulthood). We become avoidant and begin to build protective barriers around ourselves which turn into huge limitations for us, safe as they may be. We become insecure and begin to think everything we say and do around others is wrong, and we struggle to form relationships. We define ourselves through our perceived notions of how others view us. We become slaves to what other people think. We become addicted to dangerous drugs (prescription and illegal) which in many cases destroy our lives. All because we learned at some point that something was wrong with us. This is the real danger to me and the source of our pain and suffering, not our introverted nature in itself.

I don't think this is necessarily our fault, but I do believe that we need to stop believing that something is inherently wrong with us. Asking "why me?" is a bit selfish in that we expect others to love us without ever loving or even knowing ourselves. Being highly sensitive and inward makes it more difficult to socialize with others and form relationships, but its not a brain disorder. It is simply an area that we are naturally disadvantaged at and something we have to learn and get better at. Rejecting who we are and believing we are flawed is when we begin to destroy ourselves. We should embrace and accept being highly sensitive and introverted and recognize its advantages/disadvantages. I am interested to hear your thoughts on this.
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Old 12-27-2011
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It's not being selfish. It's being insecure and feeling victimized or having a guilty conscience or something. Definitely not selfish though.
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Old 12-27-2011
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I believe calling it a disorder isn't correct either, I was mainly calling it a "disorder of selfishness" because the world of psychology labels it that and many people on this sight refer to it is that.

I completely agree that we need to stop believing that there is something inherently flawed in us and we need to stop looking to things outside of ourselves to cure us....such as drugs, alcohol, women, sex, food, gambling or whatever you prefer.

I personally can really identify with this subject of a path of self destruction though...I am an addict/alcoholic in recovery and when I was using and drinking I would always use the fact that I am "socially retarded" as a reason for it. I didn't accept who I was nor did I know who I was and I was afraid to learn. Maybe what I have learned through working a twelve step program has contributed to this insistence that it is selfishness....I don't know.

For me ACCEPTANCE is the key word, when I accept that I am overly sensitive and embrace that, I do not suffer emotionally. When I constantly compare myself to others and tell myself I should be like them I am rejecting who I am.

I guess saying selfish would be over-simplifying things but I also think saying that we are very "inwardly focused" is just a nice way of saying selfish. The word selfish has such a negative stigma. Hence all the people arguing that IT ISNT SELFISHNESS! I also find it quite curious that many people tend to be defending themselves in this thread when discussing the matter when I clearly stated I was talking about myself....well curious might not be the word....maybe ironic.
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Old 12-27-2011
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First of all, most people only think about themselves. I may not have talked a lot to people in my life, but in all of the conversations I've had, the person is either there to unload their thoughts and problems onto someone who might listen, or they want to gossip. There are exceptions, such as having deep meaningful conversations, but I've only been able to achieve this with very few people. So, in that case, most people are selfish to an extent. And I think that in your situation, most people would assume that it's something they've done or something wrong with themselves to cause the other people to ignore them. Others might not want to admit that and blame the girl to alleviate any feelings of shame.

I wouldn't classify this as a disorder of selfishness. Have you ever seen the true colours of a narcissist? They are the truely selfish ones. Everything they do and say is driven by the need to feel superior and to take advantage. At least most people with social phobia would feel humility and as you've illustrated worry for other people, and the acknowledgment of other peoples needs. Truely selfish people won't even admit it and won't think kindly of other people.

I think that people who aren't afflicted with social phobia have a secure sense of self and esteem, so they won't feel threatened in the face of anything that ever happens. For people with sp, your low self esteem and fear of rejection is your primal fear so you are more sensitive to it. I hope this makes sense. The reason a non-sp person won't feel offended as much is that the thought won't cross their mind as much, because they are not constantly seeking approval and questioning their self worth. But then again there are other motives and manifestations for self focus, such as someone who manipulates for their own gain. So I wouldn't be too hard on yourself if I were you.

Ps my mother has called me selfish, but ironically she is a narcissist and has done more selfish things than me, including abandoning her duties as a parent to pursue her own ambitions.
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Old 12-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waybuloo View Post
First of all, most people only think about themselves. I may not have talked a lot to people in my life, but in all of the conversations I've had, the person is either there to unload their thoughts and problems onto someone who might listen, or they want to gossip. There are exceptions, such as having deep meaningful conversations, but I've only been able to achieve this with very few people. So, in that case, most people are selfish to an extent. And I think that in your situation, most people would assume that it's something they've done or something wrong with themselves to cause the other people to ignore them. Others might not want to admit that and blame the girl to alleviate any feelings of shame.

I wouldn't classify this as a disorder of selfishness. Have you ever seen the true colours of a narcissist? They are the truely selfish ones. Everything they do and say is driven by the need to feel superior and to take advantage. At least most people with social phobia would feel humility and as you've illustrated worry for other people, and the acknowledgment of other peoples needs. Truely selfish people won't even admit it and won't think kindly of other people.

I think that people who aren't afflicted with social phobia have a secure sense of self and esteem, so they won't feel threatened in the face of anything that ever happens. For people with sp, your low self esteem and fear of rejection is your primal fear so you are more sensitive to it. I hope this makes sense. The reason a non-sp person won't feel offended as much is that the thought won't cross their mind as much, because they are not constantly seeking approval and questioning their self worth. But then again there are other motives and manifestations for self focus, such as someone who manipulates for their own gain. So I wouldn't be too hard on yourself if I were you.

Ps my mother has called me selfish, but ironically she is a narcissist and has done more selfish things than me, including abandoning her duties as a parent to pursue her own ambitions.
First and foremost thank you for reading the long winded story about the girl, I was at a point where I had to get that story off my chest to someone and occasionally I still feel that physical feeling of emptiness when I think of her, purely on a physical level and I don't know why, I guess I was just programmed to be that way...

You say that you feel that most people are selfish to a certain extent and I couldn't agree more, I feel like everyone is trying to make themselves feel separate and gratify their ego and they do it by being selfish....I think for people like us, it manifests as fear of social situations and feeling inadequate..."I am more inadequate than the next person so the makes me unique and separate". Of course I am usually not aware of it when I do this but I really feel that is how it is....when I am identifying with my mind and the thoughts that go through it.

Personally when I step out of this feeling of separateness into feeling at one with the world my suffering goes away.....That is spiritually deep I guess and may come off as horse **** but I have found so much relief from my "issues" through meditating or living intensely in the present moment, where time doesn't exist. That might not make sense or may seem like I am preaching but I assure you I am not, that is just where I have found peace of mind....others may not feel the same and that is perfectly ok with me.
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Old 12-27-2011
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Everyone is out for themselves, even your golden boys and golden girls. Human nature is designed to please oneself. People with anxiety problems aren't any more selfish than anyone else.

Being selfish is purposely doing something at someone else's expense. I'm not intentionally avoiding talking to people because I don't care about other people, because I do care about other people. I think it sucks that I can't open up to most people, and I sympathize with the people that I've made feel bad by not talking to them. Many of them have called me names, and I do have some idea of why they felt bad. As you can see, I'm not selfish, I care about other people, especially people that are good people.

I had friends who were in trouble financially, and they weren't as lucky as me so they didn't have a vehicle. Which friend was there for them to give them a ride when they asked? Me. I was probably the only one out of my friends that never insulted anybody in our circle of friends.

As for your story, do you have any idea how many guys on this planet would have been worrying about the exact same thing that you were worrying about? Tons. I actually have a similar thing going on in my life right now. A woman I had sex with hasn't initiated one text with me since we had sex which was the first time we met. I'm not sure if she'll ever text me again.

Did I worry that it was my fault? Of course I did. A lot of guys would. That's weird that a girl that you get intimately involved with just cuts you off like that. It's natural to wonder if you did something to piss her off, or maybe that she doesn't like you. I mean, it's definitely a possibility.

I think it's a matter of realistic thinking, as opposed to optimistic thinking.

Interesting subject you have here, and I'd like to discuss it further. You aren't the first person to think of this:

"Shyness is egoism out of it's depth." -Penelope Keith

I don't agree with that above quote. I used to, but I've looked into it further and realized that I'm actually not a selfish ***** that the world wants me to think I am. I've heard the, "He thinks he's better than everyone else" a few times. A lot of society buys the shy person selfish theory. Just a few thoughts to ponder.
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Old 12-27-2011
 

I have been reading all of this. I don't really know what to say, but its interesting what you are saying. I guess no one really know what someone else must be going through and feeling and I guess that can come across as being selfish (not in a bad way) if you are only taking in what you are feeling all the time and why me etc.
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Old 12-27-2011
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Me not knowing what other people are going through? Ha. I'm not the one walking by people on the street and calling them names like people do to me. If anything, they are the ones that are selfish for not understanding that there may be something going on with me, which there is, I have SAD.

I'm sorry, but I've gone through a lot of my life being critiqued by society in a bad way. You'll have to excuse me if I get a bit sensitive with this topic.
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Old 12-27-2011
 

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Originally Posted by OceanMist View Post
Me not knowing what other people are going through? Ha. I'm not the one walking by people on the street and calling them names like people do to me. If anything, they are the ones that are selfish for not understanding that there may be something going on with me, which there is, I have SAD.

I'm sorry, but I've gone through a lot of my life being critiqued by society in a bad way. You'll have to excuse me if I get a bit sensitive with this topic.

I understand that and know what you mean. There can be some mean people out there and yes they are the ones who have the issues. Yes they are selfish in that way. But I'm kind of thinking in an emotional level kind of way. I guess the TA is meaning in the relationship way of not understanding what his GF was going though and too selfish about thinking about his feelings and why me etc...am I correct or have I got it all wrong?
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Old 12-27-2011
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I understand that and know what you mean. There can be some mean people out there and yes they are the ones who have the issues. Yes they are selfish in that way. But I'm kind of thinking in an emotional level kind of way. I guess the TA is meaning in the relationship way of not understanding what his GF was going though and too selfish about thinking about his feelings and why me etc...am I correct or have I got it all wrong?
Well, you aren't wrong, this all just comes down to.....what is selfish? What does it really mean? I've read the definition before, and I'm still not sure if even with a definition that I can entirely grasp what being selfish in certain situations would mean.

The OP, I don't know if that's being selfish with what he did. When someone you talk to a lot stops talking to you, how could you really not think maybe it was because of me and my actions? There are only two options there, either the other person is having some kind of personal issues and isn't available, or they don't like you anymore.

I just don't see how it's selfish to think that you are the one at fault for someone not talking to you anymore. To always think that something happened to the other person is unrealistic. Let's face it, there is someone who doesn't like everybody. You can't win everyone over. Therefore, it's logical to believe that someone doesn't like you if they stop talking to you, not selfish. That's what I'm thinking right now.
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Old 12-28-2011
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It's a disorder of obsessive self-focus, not selfishness.
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Old 12-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanMist View Post
Me not knowing what other people are going through? Ha. I'm not the one walking by people on the street and calling them names like people do to me. If anything, they are the ones that are selfish for not understanding that there may be something going on with me, which there is, I have SAD.

I'm sorry, but I've gone through a lot of my life being critiqued by society in a bad way. You'll have to excuse me if I get a bit sensitive with this topic.
That is exactly what I am talking about though man....exactly! I have been bullied and treated ****ty too mainly by my brother when I was a child. He would critique every ****ing thing I did, if I chewed to loud he would yell at me. If I expressed an opinion he didn't want to hear he would beat the **** out of me. If I had friends over at my house he would mock me to the point where my own friends would join in on mocking me. I was called every name in the book. Almost every day of my childhood was like this. And I used to blame him every day.

Then I found out that he was abused physically and verbally by my father, like I was. He was as insecure as me and he took it out on me. I understand that now and I do not hold on to that resentment...it only hurts me to hold a grudge. He had no clue I was mad, sad or whatever and the only person it affected was me....it ate me up inside...

I sympathize for people that feel the need to be **** heads because there is a reason they are like that.There is something that has happened to them and caused them to take their insecurities on people like me and for me to take it personally is ludicrous, it has nothing to do with me....it has to do with their issues.....Anger and resentment accomplish nothing and neither does playing the victim and asking why me? When I learn to empathize, get out of myself and not be so selfish by always wondering why me then I feel better.....When I see the true love I have for myself through other people (as hard as it may be) I feel at peace....I feel at one.......or I can continue to sit on a pity pot, complain about life and watch my problems stay the same....
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Old 12-28-2011
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickery View Post
It's a disorder of obsessive self-focus, not selfishness.

Yes, that is better word for it
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Old 12-28-2011
 

What I don't understand is how people can take out their emotional issues on other people. They prey on the weak.
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Old 12-28-2011
 

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Originally Posted by OceanMist View Post
The OP, I don't know if that's being selfish with what he did. When someone you talk to a lot stops talking to you, how could you really not think maybe it was because of me and my actions? There are only two options there, either the other person is having some kind of personal issues and isn't available, or they don't like you anymore.

I just don't see how it's selfish to think that you are the one at fault for someone not talking to you anymore. To always think that something happened to the other person is unrealistic. Let's face it, there is someone who doesn't like everybody. You can't win everyone over. Therefore, it's logical to believe that someone doesn't like you if they stop talking to you, not selfish. That's what I'm thinking right now.
I agree with your comment there. And I most likely do the same thing and think the worst of myself if somebody stopped talking to me all of a sudden and I don't think its selfish either.
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Old 12-28-2011
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I think it is a disorder of introspectivity. Perhaps I am selfish, but I think that is part of the human condition, rather than a part of of social anxiety. Humans are not naturally altruistic.

I spend a lot of time, wondering about those that respond with hostility towards me, and try to understand how my anxiety can upset people, and try not to be angry. I acknowledge that this disorder is my problem not theirs.
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