Q: This person shares about suffering from social phobia since adolescence, particularly meeting members of the opposite sex. While getting more benefit from “shame attacking exercises” than written cognitive exercises, does not have the courage to continue doing them.
A: May I just add–at the risk of sound as though I am picking nits–that the fear is not really the fear of people or of how other people behave toward you. It is the fear of what happened to you inside when a desired person does not accept you. It is the fear of experiencing the anxiety, disappointment, shame, resentment, self-loathing that activates when someone behaves in rejecting way toward you, or seems to behave in a rejecting way toward you. Sometimes the meaning and intent of someone’s behavior is entirely in your imagination . . . but that is neither here nor there. Of course, your smorgasbord of emotions will be entirely unique to you. It might be the stinging sensation of loss and being humiliated that is prominent. Or it might be the anxiety itself that resonates and resonates and resonates. Or the shame and self loathing. Or the anger and desi re to hurt the person who has rejected you. Or the lingering bitterness and resentment. Or the hopeless feeling that suddenly rushes forward with the thought “Now, I’ll never get laid!” (or never make friends, or never be close to anyone, or never find an intimate connection with someone special). It could be any cluster or combination of these.
It is not the fear of rejection but the fear of feeling rejected that we protect ourselves from by avoiding social contact. The point of the behavior exercises is not to prove that we can BE rejected and not be devastated, but that we can EXPERIENCE all the emotions associated with it, as I described earlier, and not be devastated. By allowing ourselves to experience these emotions (rather than to avoid, repress, suppress them), we (may) learn several important things:
1. These emotions are a bummer, but not the end of the world.
2. These emotions are natural and normal, entirely human, but by our distorted thinking and improper dealing with them, they become magnified, ugly and scary.
3. These emotions will pass; and to the extend that we are open and allow ourselves to experience them, the pass more quickly and less painfully. With practice, the stop being so problematic, or may stop being problems entirely.
4. While avoidance offers some temporary, partial relief from this pain, it is a costly and incomplete coping mechanism
I hope my picking nits can nudge this over into the understanding that this is an “emotional problem,” not a “social problem,” and even while we use cognitive and behavioral means to deal with it, what we are going for is a more acceptable emotional relationship with ourself, with a more comfortable co-habitation, as it were, with ourselves inside of our own skins.
With life-long, so called, “social phobia,” picking yourself up by your own bootstraps may not be enough. Some chemical assist (in partnership with you and your pshrink) may provide a temporary comfort zone allowing you to get the most form talk-therapy, and cognitive and behavior exercises. Unfortunately, neurofeedback is quite costly, but for those who can afford it, from what I am learning, may offer the most powerful assist of all to these other processes. In any event, repetition is the keyword here, to rebuild anxiety neural pathways etched deeply into the old gray matter by years and years of failure and avoidance. End the phony argument about cognitive vs. behavioral approaches. They are both important! That’s why they decided to cal lit Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. And Dr. Ellis included “emotive” to address exactly what I have been describing in this entry.
And somewhere in this journey you will have to discover or decide if “social phobia” is the problem or if social phobia is just your excuse for being introverted, and preferring not to be as social as all the other assholes escaped from the asylum and running around loose!
Khon Kaen, Thailand
© 2017, Rex Alexander. All rights reserved.
9,095 total views, 2 views today© Copyright 2017 Rex Alexander, All rights Reserved. Written For:
Originally posted 2012-07-20 04:06:07.
- REBT - Mon 23 Oct 17
- I don’t care . . . It doesn’t matter! - Mon 23 Oct 17
- HAPPY THANKSGIVING! - Sun 22 Oct 17
- Acceptance is not love! - Sun 22 Oct 17
- “Happy For Life” new Will Ross book - Sat 21 Oct 17
Regular Columns & Features
ArchivesFeb0 PostsApr0 PostsMay0 PostsNov0 PostsDec0 PostsFeb0 PostsMar0 PostsApr0 PostsMay0 PostsJul0 PostsAug0 PostsSep0 PostsOct0 PostsNov0 PostsJan0 PostsFeb0 PostsMay0 PostsJun0 PostsOct0 PostsNov0 PostsJan0 PostsMar0 PostsJul0 PostsSep0 PostsNov0 PostsJan0 PostsMar0 PostsApr0 PostsMay0 PostsJul0 PostsAug0 PostsSep0 PostsNov0 PostsDec0 PostsJan0 PostsFeb0 PostsMar0 PostsApr0 PostsMay0 PostsJun0 PostsJul0 PostsAug0 PostsOct0 PostsNov0 PostsDec0 Posts
Amazon Associate Member
Rex Alexander and REBT Info are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Help REBT Info continue to serve you. We get a small commission from Amazon.com or other
concerns when you purchase items using the links on these pages. Thank you for your support! ~Rex
TOS / Terms of Service
Pretty basic stuff: No fussing, no fighting, no cussing, no spamming, no scamming, no blaming, no flaming, no hating, no bating, no trolling, no personal attacks. No pornography (Damn!). The Golden Rule applies. Focus on issues, ideas and principles rather than on personalities and you will fit right in. Please keep your contributions friendly and polite, treat your fellow members and readers with respect and all will be well.
All content and information submitted become the property of REBT Info (REBTinfo.com)
We at REBT Info value your privacy. Your personal information is secure with us. Secure server software (SSL) encrypts all information you enter before it is sent to us, and all of the customer data we collect is protected against unauthorized access.
We WILL NOT sell, rent, distribute or otherwise share your personal information, including e-mail address, to or with anyone for any reason (except in the extremely rare, unlikely case of demands by duly authorized law enforcement acting strictly in accord with due process).
For more information, please read the long version
Copyright © 2012-2017 by Rex Alexander dba REBT Info / http://REBTinfo.com.
All rights reserved. The content of this website or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This website is for educational, informational and entertainment purposes only. By accessing this blog you understand and agree to these conditions, as well as to the other Terms of Service / TOS posted, and which may be updated and amended from time-to-time.
By accessing this website blog and related media, you affirm that you have read, understand and agree to our Terms of Service / TOS which may be updated and amended from time-to-time.
This is a public blog
Anything you post may be viewed by the public. Therefore, do not post anything you wish to remain private.