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Old 01-19-2004  
pjo
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Default Fear of confrontation

Hello,

I came upon this Web forum while doing searches on various social anxieties. I don't have a traditional social anxiety -- I'm kind of an introvert, but I don't have too many problems socializing or being around people, and in fact I've come to find it pleasurable. (It used to be a chore.)

My problem, though, is fear of conflict and confrontation with people I do not know well. I can handle family conflicts and such, but negative interactions with people on the street, loud people in movie theaters, clerks, bureaucrats, etc., hurt me on a deep emotional level that I do not understand. I remember even the most minor incident literally years after the fact -- minor altercations on the subway and such stick with me for years. I even have some of these feelings about events 15 years ago! It's as if they just happened -- and still now, I'm MORE upset about them than would have even been merited at the time.

These are usually not instances where the conflict has anything to do with me personally, but I take them very personally. It makes me more and more afraid of leaving the house or doing anything outside the norm.

Has anyone had these experiences? What helps?
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Old 01-20-2004  
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hello pjo

hyper-awareness, extreme sensitivity, over-thinking and the tendency to hold onto things for years and years after the fact are quite common traits of social anxiety.
social anxiety can be generalised or specific. perhaps in your case, you have a specific anxiety regarding interactions with strangers.
confrontation is like a nightmare in terms of social anxiety. feeling distressed by those same nightmares years after the fact is not unexpected, avoidance being the most comforting method of dealing with situations. sensitivity to pain or conflict involving others is also quite common. i get emotionally invested just by watching news to the point of being overwhelmed and sometimes obsessed and distressed by certain stories, let alone a physical witness to conflict, small or large.
social anxiety is all about thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking. many of the therapies involve modifying the thinking and behaviours brought about by the thinking.
it's ironic that you know the thinking is not rational, but that doesn't make it go away. this is quite reflective of social anxiety.

take care.
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Old 10-11-2005  
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Can anybody relate to this?, I know I sure can!.

The less you talk, the more your listened to.
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Old 10-11-2005  
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I can as well. When I was little I used to lack competition in sports. I reasoned myself into thinking that it didn't matter if I beat them or they beat me. Now that I am older I take sports seriously and it helps with confrontation. Martial arts is a very good way to learn how to confront people. Something like Aikido where there is no real sparring(you just practice with one partner the moves....he does the move on you and you do it on him). It is very easy pace and there is no hot blood or anger, you even make friends with them after you throw him to the floor and then he throws you to the floor (this doesn't hurt that much once you know how to land). Aikido is helping me face confrontation in the real world too...just last week I had to talk down a costomer because she was making a scene. It felt kind of good to ask her to calm down and then leave the store. (YA bitch).....pardon the french. Anyway work on it...it will come
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Old 10-12-2005  
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I have a huge fear of any kind of confrontation. I hate seeing verbal or physical fights. I feel extremely uncomfortable when I am in a situation where people are fighting or scalding each other in front of me. I hated working in customer service because I feared the negative calls so much...the ones where the customer would complain and accuse my company of wrongdoing.

I think I understand what you mean about the small altercations. This is slightly personal, but I remember when I was a small child we went to the movie theater. The lady in front of us complained to my mom that we (the kids) were being too loud. She kinda rolled her eyes and so did my mom. I don't know why I remember that. I can definitely relate to your remembering these small things for so many years.
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Old 10-13-2005  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angie_05
I think I understand what you mean about the small altercations. This is slightly personal, but I remember when I was a small child we went to the movie theater. The lady in front of us complained to my mom that we (the kids) were being too loud. She kinda rolled her eyes and so did my mom. I don't know why I remember that. I can definitely relate to your remembering these small things for so many years.
Ha I remember a similar incident when I was a child too, and it is still as vivid in my mind as today as it was back then and I have always been puzzled as to why I remembered this (i'm 23 now). I was at a supermarket and some lady gave a snide remark to my mum for not controlling me when I was being a little mischeavious....my mum sort of snapped back and put her in her place....I remember I was quite taken back by it at the time and felt hurt for the fact that a complete stranger had showed their disapproval to me and my mum for something that i had done...strange what we hold on to.
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