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I'm very scared of the other

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I'm very scared of the other

I always feel pains in the chest when I have to meet someone. I always feel that I do not understand myself and I am always afraid that the other person will judge me badly. It often happens to me that I feel the fear of others, their anguish. It blocks me, I can not speak or I say things that I do not even think! I always have sweaty hands and often, I have palpitations and ants in my hands. I would like to know what I have to do because I get less and less to control myself! Anne-Marie, 32

Christophe André

Psychiatrist and psychotherapist

you

What you describe is very similar to what we call in our jargon "social anxiety". It is an excessive worry of the look and the judgment of the other, a fear then not to be at the height. And suddenly, blockages, hyperemotivity, empty head, (relative) loss of control over his thoughts and words ...

It exists in many people (for example in stage fright or shyness) but if these As in your case, these phenomena reach an embarrassing level, so this may be a form of excessive anxiety that should be treated. Most often, these manifestations exist since childhood or adolescence, and represent a form of temperament more or less innate, but which can be amplified by certain forms of education (families folded on themselves) or certain events of destabilizing lives (social rejections and sidelined).

You can read some books on this problem to document and begin to situate yourself (Shyness, The fear of others). And also make an appointment with a therapist specializing in these difficulties (for example with the AFTCC). He will tell you what methods of psychotherapy (often in groups) are likely to help you.

Basically, you will probably learn at first to practice very regularly methods of emotional pacification (relaxation, meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc.). Then better know how to spot your automatic thought patterns that constantly push you towards this feeling of being judged. Finally, and above all, to face, again very regularly, all the situations that you dread; starting with "easy" (ask your way on the street) to go to more difficult (get to know new people). With all this, you will find that it is gradually possible to tolerate and dominate all these painful states of mind, to only have to enjoy the social exchanges.

These efforts are worth it: social anxiety is healed, and pretty well!

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