Terrified of looking terrified

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by max0718, Apr 7, 2010.

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  1. max0718

    max0718 Well-Known Member

    I went out a bit tonight to support a few friends playing action cricket. Their opponents didn't show up, and we ended up playing a friendly game between friends. It's been a while since I had to do something in public where quite a few people are watching. Suddenly I felt tense, and everything within me almost screaming don't play, don't put yourself at risk of embarrasing yourself.

    I've always had a problem of doing anything in front of others where I could potentially embarrass myself. Up until now, I couldn't figure out why it is that I would become SO tense when it is just between friends that I know and feel comfortable with most of the time. I've realized tonight that it's not really about the fear of embarrassing myself. I'm more afraid of showing that I'm afraid to embarrass myself - if that makes any sense... In most situations throughout each day, I'm terrified. I don't know why and I've stopped trying to make sense of it a long time ago. For example, I can feel entirely comfortable talking to someone one moment, and the next my nerves are killing me for some reason. And this can be with anyone - a stranger, a friend, a best friend and even family. Could it be that that old saying of "The only thing to fear is fear itself" rings too true for me? Am I terrified that someone else will find out I'm terrified all the time? And how did that start in the first place?

    If someone else has had a similar experience, I would really like to hear about it. No matter how much progress I make, I just can't seem to get rid of this stressed, anxious, panicked feeling.
  2. suicider628

    suicider628 Well-Known Member

    Think of it this way, you are not always the only one who is terrified, the one who you are talking to might be terrified as well. I learn this by experience, i go out of my comfort zone to talk to people, i am terrified of course, but most of the time, (except the few people who is super confident and outgoing) the person i am talking to is terrified as well, they are terrified that a stranger approached them and started talking to them, i can see they go on the defensive and the uncomfort in their eyes. I can't help but smile at this: my very own presence putting fear in others. Its a mind game, there is no need to be terrified when the person u are talking to is probaly more in fear than you.

    If you are not terrified in the first place, then there is no need to be terrified of looking terrified.
  3. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    Spotlight effect i think it is called i hate being the center of attention. I hate having any attention at me at all. Like you i too am afraid of not looking competent enough. Looking to stupid compared to others. Even after 30 yrs in my profession i still am nervous when someone over me ask me a question I don't like to look anxious or nervous so i joke i make light of the situation or i pass the attention to someone else so it is focused off me. Why the nervous grin comes why the insecurity inside I think it is because inside me still is all those negatives that once were that maybe will never leave because they are there to act perhaps as an alarm that something may happen. I don't know if i am making sense but i too have this anxiety i wish i didn't have.
  4. max0718

    max0718 Well-Known Member

    The thing is that I know this, and I have experienced it as well but it makes absolutely no difference. Even knowing the other person is just as anxious as I am doesn't help with taking my own anxiety away. I don't know, maybe it's just one of those things that I'll have to learn how to live with. It just gets tiring after a while.

    But that's my point. How am I supposed to fight such irrational instinctive behavior? I can try to convince myself it's not necessary to feel anxious at all, but when the next situation arrives, I'm right back where I started. I don't know, I'm not making a whole lot of sense at the moment. Thanx for the reply though!

    Violet, that's precisely how I feel. I absolutely without exception hate being the center of attention. The "nervous grin" is a perfect way to sum up how I react as well. Everything freezes up, and it feels as if I can't even talk correctly. I lose the ability to think, and that's probably the worst thing of all. I make stupid remarks, ask stupid questions, can't answer simple questions and can't hear people all of a sudden. It's as if my brain just shuts down to protect itself.
  5. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    Joking around make light of the situation Pass the attention to someone else. I then excuse myself have to take care of something and leave. Ihave alot of excape modes lol. I tend to not get into the serious conversations i hate them i don't feel my input really matters someone else views are better you know.
    Over the years i actually learn to keep myself safe by steering away from groups of people i am a loner even in a crowd of people i keep to me because i guess i just can't handle the thoughts in my head i can't handle have people look at me. One on one okay can handle that In time you learn excape modes but my fear is always one day i won't be able to excape then what. I understand totally your fears your uneasiness insecurities alway the thought god what if i screw up what if i just can't handle the situation what if i am what they said so many times to me it is not a good place. I hope you have atherapist that can help you with this anxiety I am old and just starting with my therapist to see what can be done for this i hope you start to get help now while you are young. take care
  6. max0718

    max0718 Well-Known Member

    Can't really afford a therapist at the moment. Maybe in a few months I'll start up again, I'll see how it goes. At the moment I'm still doing ok. Thanx for the advice! Although it isn't nice to hear someone else is suffering as well, it is comforting to know you don't have to go through it alone.

    I also hope you'll find the help you need from your therapist. It's never too late to learn something new. :smile:

    Have a lovely day!
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