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Old 01-28-2007
Foxglove's Avatar
Intermediate User
 

I have the feeling that people are always looking at me weird. I feel totally paranoid, that maybe my eye makeup is smeared, or that I have a big stain on my clothes, or I have a booger hanging out of my nose, or whatever. It is such an uncomfortable feeling that I sometimes have to literally "hide" somewhere, like in a restroom, or in a doorway, or behind a bush. My husband says it's just my imagination, but is it really? I often feel that my vulnerability and fear is stamped on my forehead for all to see, and that the others will see it and fall upon me like wolves on an injured animal.
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Old 01-28-2007
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Foxlove, I agree with your husband. Most probably, noone stares at you. And even if they did - what would it matter as long as YOU were comfortable with who you are? (Are you?)

We people are such fearful, vulnerable creatures, all of us. Trust me, even Angelina Jolie sometimes has her eye makeup smeared. And all the people whom you suspect from watching you weirdly have their heads full of their own demons and anxieties (and maybe even noses full of their own boogers . So what I wanted to say: We are all just humans and noone is better then anyone else.

In a book called "Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka" - I don't think it was ever translated from Czech and I don't think anyone on this site ever read it - there's one great sentence which goes: "Človek si myslí, že je gigant, a je hovno. (One thinks he is a giant, but he is shit.)".
I love the book but I just do not agree with that qoutation. This is what I'd say: Some people think they are giants, some people think they are shits, but they all are PEOPLE."

Does it make sense?


Well I realize that the sentences above are only theory. Although they are true (and they ARE), they probably won't help you much. Because it's just something YOU have to find out by yourself. So good luck.
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Old 01-29-2007
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Hi Foxglove,

I can really relate to you.

For me, however, I approach such things with questions like...

"Even if people do stare at me and think me strange, what difference is it to me?"

instead of:

"But are people really looking at me and thinking me strange?"

....I think that the whole point is that ideally, it doesn't matter what others think of me; that whilst this is part of who I am as a person, it is only part of who I am and there is also the ME that I (and others) know in private.

And the first question asks my self: so I am different, but am I really so strange or so shameful in my difference?
but the second question keeps focusing back onto what other people think of me and continues to worry about my self based solely on other peoples' opinions ....what of MY opinion of my self. Surely "THE TRUTH" if it exists can only ever be a combination of my opinion with those of anothers'/others'...?

And another thing that I think is imperative, that part of my shame, part of my 'social phobia' (-'social shame'-?) is that I struggle to accept how me sensitivity fits into this world. ...perhaps it is "ego sensitivity" -but whatever exactly it is, it is 'sensitivity'... so, if I think people look at me, sometimes this is actually true, other times it is based on past experience and my worries about being accepted.
....But there seems to be a definite link between doubting my self and believing my self 'weired' (being ashamed of my self) and others then thinking me weired and looking at me funny. ...I sometimes get doubtful and panicky and walk into some situation with tension and feeling self-concious ....then, others sometimes do look at me 'funny'.

And I think that observing this can help to see that people are somewhat sheep-like in what they believe about someone -how first impressions are very superficial and how people tend to believe what others put across for them to believe. ...In other words, people often are privy to believing lies or they pay attention to superficial aspects of interaction (as if this is the way to determine who is who!). And for this reason, people looking at you strangely is just a superficial assessment of who you are: like the animal side to people, just like an animal senses fear and responds to it. So, don't be afraid of animal instincts. Respect them, but they are only operative: they are reflex responses and they are superficial.

The other thing is that accepting your sensitivity ...the distinct possibility that perhaps you are more emotionall intune, that perhaps part of the reason why some people suffer social phobia is because they have a higher than average (or otherwise more sensitized) sensitivity to sensations. Perhaps you really do sense a lot of external cues -emotions, 'vibes', instinctual types of things- and perhaps there is the need to come to terms with this instinctual, emotional side -to accept the animal within- whilst also being able to soothe its feelings; to accept all of your feelings and then to filter through which matter and which are of less consequence.

And that, I believe, is the real ticket: acknowledging your feelings and your perceptions -suspending your judgement as to what is 'normal' and hwether your sensitivity is "normal" (don't place any more shame on this aspect of you) and to accept your impressions, emotions and perceptions and then to work on filtering through your feelings -and all the external data that you are probably very sensitive and very inclined to pick-up on- and then you will be able to put things into better perspective.
Unconditional acceptance of yourself and all that you feel is imperative; only then can you choose what parts of your experience and feelings stand-out the most and matter the most. ...do fleeting impressions matter so much? ...but accepting your sensitivity towards them first and not judging this strong part of yourself is the only way to make it so that fleeting impressions don't have to linger-on.
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Old 01-29-2007
Jack-B's Avatar
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foxglove

"I have the feeling that people are always looking at me weird. I feel totally paranoid"

You experience an unpleasant feeling.

Your mind then tells you its because others are looking at you weird.

You label this unpleasant feeling paranoia. repeat cycle.

Try this:

You experience an unpleasant feeling.

You look around at others and think, i wonder if they feel like this. repeat cycle.

Jack
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Old 02-07-2007
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I have this problem as well and I sort of know the explanation. When one on one with anyone, I am an infamous (well, to myself) to make the atmosphere awkward. Emotions are contagious. If you approach a friend with a smile on your face, you'll set a friendly vibe. But usually, us social phobics tend to be so internal, that we are totally oblivious to how we are in the present setting. I know for certain, alot of times, my face looks real dull and unenjoyable. I think spending time in front of a mirror and seeing how you feel and look during those moments will help.
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Old 02-07-2007
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spdiegoguy
I have this problem as well and I sort of know the explanation. When one on one with anyone, I am an infamous (well, to myself) to make the atmosphere awkward. Emotions are contagious. If you approach a friend with a smile on your face, you'll set a friendly vibe. But usually, us social phobics tend to be so internal, that we are totally oblivious to how we are in the present setting. I know for certain, alot of times, my face looks real dull and unenjoyable. I think spending time in front of a mirror and seeing how you feel and look during those moments will help.
hey spdiegoguy...i like how you put it..you're 'infamous to make the atmosphere awkward'...i feel i do that also...especially when i'm dealing with people one on one...and yeah, i do get weird looks sometimes..the look that says "wtf is up with her?!"
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Old 02-07-2007
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Intermediate User
 

i understand exactly what you're on about, you're clearly not alone. I ususally get paranoid in places where there are lots of people, even ones i know, and i always get the feeling people are looking at me. i get all edgy and cant stop moving and fidgeting , trying to appear more at ease or something...but that never works, i still carry on thinking theres something majorly odd about me that makes everyone want to look.

But thinking about it from THEIR perspective helps so much. Of course they're staring at you, maybe thats because you're staring at them too. Obecause you keep looking around, catching people's eyes by accident. It must look really strange, it would be natural to look at us, not because of some physical aspect like makeup or hair, or whatever, but simply because we look so nervous and self conscious. Whenever i try to get rid of my self'consciousness altogether, i might get th occasional person looking at me, but that's just..life. that happens all the time, everyone is looking around at their surroundings, it just happens. if theres something extra interesting, ohh look at that odd person looking around strangely! , thats all down to self consciousness.

don't look at them, they won't look at you! (and you won't think of thinking they're looking at you!)
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Old 02-09-2007
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Newbie User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maggie
Quote:
Originally Posted by spdiegoguy
I have this problem as well and I sort of know the explanation. When one on one with anyone, I am an infamous (well, to myself) to make the atmosphere awkward. Emotions are contagious. If you approach a friend with a smile on your face, you'll set a friendly vibe. But usually, us social phobics tend to be so internal, that we are totally oblivious to how we are in the present setting. I know for certain, alot of times, my face looks real dull and unenjoyable. I think spending time in front of a mirror and seeing how you feel and look during those moments will help.
hey spdiegoguy...i like how you put it..you're 'infamous to make the atmosphere awkward'...i feel i do that also...especially when i'm dealing with people one on one...and yeah, i do get weird looks sometimes..the look that says "wtf is up with her?!"
haha I can totally relate...this is how I feel ALL the time. I wonder if half the time it is actually because we are staring at others wondering if they are staring at us, that they start staring?!:P A funny thought, could be true :P.... but I most always seem to radiate akward vibes.
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Old 02-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by of_darkness
i understand exactly what you're on about, you're clearly not alone. I ususally get paranoid in places where there are lots of people, even ones i know, and i always get the feeling people are looking at me. i get all edgy and cant stop moving and fidgeting , trying to appear more at ease or something...but that never works, i still carry on thinking theres something majorly odd about me that makes everyone want to look.

But thinking about it from THEIR perspective helps so much. Of course they're staring at you, maybe thats because you're staring at them too. Obecause you keep looking around, catching people's eyes by accident. It must look really strange, it would be natural to look at us, not because of some physical aspect like makeup or hair, or whatever, but simply because we look so nervous and self conscious. Whenever i try to get rid of my self'consciousness altogether, i might get th occasional person looking at me, but that's just..life. that happens all the time, everyone is looking around at their surroundings, it just happens. if theres something extra interesting, ohh look at that odd person looking around strangely! , thats all down to self consciousness.

don't look at them, they won't look at you! (and you won't think of thinking they're looking at you!)
Oops I obviously stumbled past this post.... you put it perfectly! I even catch myself staring in fascination at someone who is nervous... so I am sure I'm quite entertaining for others when I'm standing around fidgeting endlessly and glancing around like a rabbit haha.
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Old 03-14-2008
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Advanced User
 

I feel like I get stared at too. I really feel they think I'm weird I must have an anxiety look on my face or something. I sometimes think that anxiety look is translated as agressive or unfriendly. Theres one woman I have to walk past that actually calls me names. I do not know her. If she calls me stuff it cannot be in my imagination.
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Old 06-28-2008
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yeah I really do know how u feel. I hate it cause i start to get panicky and tense, then that feeling of unpleasantness comes in my stomach its horrible! 8O
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Old 06-28-2008
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Yeah I dont exactly blend in so I alwayse stick out which makes me feel even more anxious.
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Old 06-28-2008
Atlantis's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxglove
I have the feeling that people are always looking at me weird. I feel totally paranoid, that maybe my eye makeup is smeared, or that I have a big stain on my clothes, or I have a booger hanging out of my nose, or whatever. It is such an uncomfortable feeling that I sometimes have to literally "hide" somewhere, like in a restroom, or in a doorway, or behind a bush. My husband says it's just my imagination, but is it really? I often feel that my vulnerability and fear is stamped on my forehead for all to see, and that the others will see it and fall upon me like wolves on an injured animal.
I have the same feeling sometimes.

I think its hard to say its just my imagination. I see many things that indicate I been seen in a different way. They ignore me or avoid me sometimes and they get prepared too much when they have to speak with me... and they never hear what I say... they say "what?" a lot of times.

I don't think its imagination, if you get that in a movie I could point out each thing.

I don't think its imagination but I think our anxiosity also makes people anxious. So its difficult to communicate, actually extremely hard or impossible. But when I feel relaxed at very rare moments people look me differently too, more accepting and even talk more with me.. that paranoid thing disappears.
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Old 06-28-2008
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Expert User
 

I dont have to much time now to reply(lunch break),But I am the same,I literally hide behind things,avoid people that intimidate me or judge me,which causes a lot of problems for me,I thought I was the only one.
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Old 06-28-2008
Carol's Avatar
Newbie User
 

I am constantly worried that people are staring at me.

I've come to realize that most of the time, the problem is that I am looking around to see if anybody is staring at me. Which means that I am looking at others. Then they notice that I'm looking at them, and they look back. So I think they're staring at me, but the reason is because they saw me staring at them first. It's a vicious cycle. When I can manage not to worry about what anyone else is doing, and just mind my own business, most of the time nobody is staring at me.
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Old 06-29-2008
recluse's Avatar
Elite User
 

I always worry that people notice that i am anxious.
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Old 06-29-2008
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Newbie User
 

You need to focus on the task at hand. This is the only solution. You need to train yourself, mentally, to be able to focus and refocus on whatever you're doing. In most cases this means focussing on the conversation. In the case when you're not doing something that requires much thinking (like walking down the street or waiting at a traffic light), you need to focus on things in your life like your job, your family, what movie you watched the other day or something like that. The key is focus! The mind cannot think of two thoughts at once - anxiety is a thought, and the process of suppressing it is simple.
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Old 06-29-2008
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Smoke me a kipper
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I understand. I really wish I had the power of invisibility.
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Old 09-14-2009
 

I FEEL EXACTLY LIKE THAT !. i used to be the least bit self conscious. now i shy away from social gatherings . i dont even go to restaurants anymore. i think people think i'm weird, anxious or crazy.
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Old 01-12-2011
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Newbie User
 

Its nice to know i am not the only one in the world that does this. I look around like im lost then ppl really stare at you then. I have always used the avoiding eye contact also. It worked for me but how will i get to be social.
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