How do I stop these unwelcome thoughts
January 15, 2013 3:06 PM Subscribe
I have uncontrollable visions of myself doing socially awkward things when I'm engaging in social situations with family, friends, strangers. How do I make them stop?
posted by pintapicasso to human relations (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have few friends and I feel like these thoughts limit my ability to make more. Whenever I'm interacting with people I will picture myself doing something super awkward.
-Last night at the grocery store the checkout girl was wearing a restaurant t-shirt and I said "I love that restaurant, do you work there?" and she started talking about how she knew the owners. I immediately pictured myself saying "we should go together!" and her giving me a weird look, like, "who are you?"
-Driving with my dad and he is talking about going to a football game with a neighbor and I picture myself saying, "can I go too?" and him thinking, "why doesn't my daughter have her own friends?"
-At the liquor store I see someone I recognize, we say hello and go our separate ways. I picture myself following her out the door and saying, "where are we going?" and her thinking, "nowhere with you!"
-I'm going to a potluck next week with one of my friends and I'm constantly picturing myself doing awkward things: staying alone in one room while everyone is somewhere else; clinging to my friend the whole night until she says something; not saying anything the entire night.
- I also picture myself tripping, probably 10+ times whenever I go out. I tend to dress nicely, do my hair, etc before running errands and I picture myself falling on my face and everyone thinking, "who is she trying to impress?"
I realize these sound pretty mild but the thoughts are pervasive and I literally can't interact with ANYONE without being inundated with these thoughts constantly. I have two friends that I actually hang out with on a regular basis and would love to have more.
- I just (one month ago) got out of a LTR where the vast majority of my free time was spent with him. I saw very few friends. I'm 26.
- I have no problem making small talk; in fact most people would consider me very socially appropriate and even outgoing.
- I'm quite conventionally attractive so I get polite and unpolite attention from the opposite sex which I handle without issue. Since breaking up with my boyfriend I feel like I need to look polished and perfect 100% of the time so I've always gone to the store with my makeup done, hair curled, in a nice outfit. I live in a crunchy/hippie area and am pretty crunchy myself, so I feel totally out of place BUT I would feel self-conscious not doing this!
- I have a job that relies on me to be read social situations very well, to be sensitive and to say the right thing (nurse). I feel like I am hyper-aware of what people are expecting me to say, what I need to say, how I should say it, etc. I'm very good at conversing with people in truly "awkward" situations, (ex - your girlfriend just had a BM on the floor so don't come in; hi doctor we made a big mistake xyz happened what should we do.) These awkward thoughts do NOT happen when I'm at work.
- When I was young my mom was kind of emotionally abusive to me; after I would speak to "adults" in her presence she would take me aside, sometimes hit me, and say "what the hell were you saying / you are so awkward and I'm embarrassed, don't talk to them again / you are so f***ing weird, they probably think you are an idiot." She has since cried and apologized for doing this, but it obviously still bothers me.
I am currently on wellbutrin 300mg for depression/anxiety which was helping but now I don't know. I do not see a therapist and am embarrassed to talk about this. I would LOVE to just be able to go to a group gathering and feel comfortable and like people want me to be there! Or to go to the store and not feel like the checkout person is judging me.
Has anyone else dealt with this? How can I make these thoughts stop? Is there some sort of self-talk that you've used in these moments? It's getting really bad, I want to make friends but I feel crippled.