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Old 10-14-2010, 06:51 PM   #1
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Default Shyness

Growing up I was teased a lot and made to feel ugly for being larger than other children. It would hurt the most when boys would make fun of me. And not only did I get harassed at school but I was also made to feel gross and ugly at home. Looking at me now no one would believe the things that I endured as a child. I am often told that I am pretty and get plenty of attention from attractive men. Here is the problem: when a handsome man shows interest in me this horrible biochemical reaction occurs - I tense up, I feel my adrenalin shoot through the roof, and I almost feel like I want to cry. It is akin to feeling as if one is about to be attacked. Although I understand intellectually that I am worthy of this attention there is another part of me that cannot help but fear it.

Many years ago I buried these feelings and feigned confidence. But all that changed 4 years ago when I decided that I would remain abstinent until marriage (I know, I know). Now it seems that in order for me to have physical intimacy (making out) I have to feel extremely comfortable with a man. And that has not happened in over 3 years. I find this especially difficult in our cultural climate where there is a 3 date standard.

There is one good thing to come out of all of this - now that I understand myself better I feel that when I do get into a relationship I will be a more loving and tender partner than before. But the problem lies in my initial flight or fight reaction. For this reason I tend to date guys that are not on my level because they do not pose any threat to me. But what I really want is an intimate relationship with an equal. How does one go about that when I can't even get past an eyebrow raise and a hello?

Do any of you suffer from extreme shyness and/or need a lot of time before you open up? And if any men ready this, what is your reaction to a woman who is obviously shy and/or frightened by your advances? And last but not least... do you have any advice as to how I can overcome this irrational reaction to men?
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:17 PM   #2
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I drink.

It's probably not the most constructive solution, but it works. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and frankly, it makes me chill enough that suddenly my initial reaction when someone touchs me ISNT to flinch and punch them in the face but to go "Hmmmm....you have nice hands...feels NICE" and carry on from there.

I have major physical contact issues. I dont like to be touched. This stems from being bullied at a young age and the fact that for....about 5 years in my early teens the only times people touched me were to hurt me. Mostly didnt get spoken too unless it was an insult either. Family was abit messed up, I was messed up... Not to go into too much detail but the basic result is that its left me with great difficulties trying to be physically intimate (even a hug) with friends, family or potential partners. I'm working on it.

I wish I had a better solution, but for me getting drunk is pretty much the only thing that works.

Dont feel sorry for me or anything though! I'm pretty much over the rest of my demons and very proud of who I am. :P
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by October View Post
Do any of you suffer from extreme shyness and/or need a lot of time before you open up? And if any men ready this, what is your reaction to a woman who is obviously shy and/or frightened by your advances? And last but not least... do you have any advice as to how I can overcome this irrational reaction to men?
Hello!

I think you're describing more than shyness, here. Sounds like when you encounter men, the high-functioning part of your brain shuts off and the primitive part (kind of like that of an animal, let's say--far less cognition going on!) takes over. That's why you're feeling the adrenaline. It's the 'fight or flee' response to what you perceive as a threat.

So you need to find a way to stop perceiving male attention as a threat. That may sound like a big deal, but it's also a fairly simple, straightforward problem. You have to start thinking about the issue logically, and not based on emotion (in this case: fear) and then you can begin to train yourself to see it for what it is.

I encourage you to start cognitive-behavioral therapy. It's fantastic for cases like this. It's amazingly effective and not the type of therapy that is intended to stretch to years. I've known some people to get significant relief in just 12 sessions.

I think you've got everything you need to make a start on this. Good luck!
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:39 PM   #4
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I too use liquid courage. Im incredibly shy, but it doesn't stem from childhood bullying. I grew up in the woods, a 20 minute drive from all of my school friends and if I wasn't playing with the neighbors, I was off having lonely adventures in the woods. My sort of sheltered upbringing has left me unable to interact with new people... unless Ive been drinking.

But Im slowly trying to come out of my shell. I talked to a new person the other night. Went right up to him at the bar and introduced myself (I had been drinking, and my friends were pestering me to do it). He was incredibly friendly and kept the conversation going, so I was able to loosen up and enjoy it.
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Old 10-17-2010, 03:56 PM   #5
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Jes,

Thank you so much for your reply. I have heard of CBT in passing but never looked into it. I just looked up a therapist in my area. I think you understand where I am coming from. I feel that I have come so far but this is one area that gets in my way of having a full life.

Liquid courage does help, no denying that! But I would prefer to fix this without the aid of drugs or alcohol. Been there, done that, got the scars and record to prove it!
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:30 PM   #6
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i'm super shy too....so much so that i know there may have been one or two guys who liked me who mistook my shyness for disinterest , that was ages ago though. i've been trying to work on it...hopefully it's not too little too late.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:05 PM   #7
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I'd second the recommendation for therapy. Talk therapy can be a big help in working through issues and figuring things out about yourself. There are many theories and 'schools' of therapy, and while cognitive-behavioral therapy can be a quick fix, some people find it too directive for them and the cognitive-behavioral therapist's approach can be too overwhelming/shocking for them at first.

My personal therapist is more Rogerian, meaning she comes from the Carl Rogers school of therapy which is all about reflective listening ("mm-hmm, so your ex-boyfriend was not very supportive of you. How did that make you feel?" - that kind of thing). I found this kind of therapy works best for me, but everyone responds to different kinds of therapy and different therapists in very different ways. You may respond positively to cognitive-behavioral therapy, whereas it didn't work for me. I tried a few different therapists before I finally found one who I really had a good working relationship with. A couple of them were more Rogerian, like my current therapist, but one of them was so young that all she did was reflective listening. Reflective listening is good, but periodically, I like my therapist to be a little more directive.

I found my therapist through a local community counseling center. They operate on a sliding-fee scale, meaning you pay what you can afford to your therapist. When I first started seeing her several years ago, I paid $20 an hour because that's all I could afford. Over the years, the cost has gone up as my therapist re-evaluates my financial situation every few years and we discuss how much more I'm able to pay. I have such a good working relationship with her that I find it's worth it to continue, even though it's getting more expensive now. I've worked through a lot of my issues and learned a lot of things about myself through therapy. I think it's a vital tool to help us understand ourselves better.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:11 PM   #8
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Here's a little song about shyness just for you.
Ask me.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirtiesgirl View Post
Here's a little song about shyness just for you.
Ask me.
I LOVE that song! Thank you!
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Old 10-18-2010, 01:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by October View Post
Growing up I was teased a lot and made to feel ugly for being larger than other children. It would hurt the most when boys would make fun of me. And not only did I get harassed at school but I was also made to feel gross and ugly at home. Looking at me now no one would believe the things that I endured as a child. I am often told that I am pretty and get plenty of attention from attractive men. Here is the problem: when a handsome man shows interest in me this horrible biochemical reaction occurs - I tense up, I feel my adrenalin shoot through the roof, and I almost feel like I want to cry. It is akin to feeling as if one is about to be attacked. Although I understand intellectually that I am worthy of this attention there is another part of me that cannot help but fear it.

Many years ago I buried these feelings and feigned confidence. But all that changed 4 years ago when I decided that I would remain abstinent until marriage (I know, I know). Now it seems that in order for me to have physical intimacy (making out) I have to feel extremely comfortable with a man. And that has not happened in over 3 years. I find this especially difficult in our cultural climate where there is a 3 date standard.

There is one good thing to come out of all of this - now that I understand myself better I feel that when I do get into a relationship I will be a more loving and tender partner than before. But the problem lies in my initial flight or fight reaction. For this reason I tend to date guys that are not on my level because they do not pose any threat to me. But what I really want is an intimate relationship with an equal. How does one go about that when I can't even get past an eyebrow raise and a hello?

Do any of you suffer from extreme shyness and/or need a lot of time before you open up? And if any men ready this, what is your reaction to a woman who is obviously shy and/or frightened by your advances? And last but not least... do you have any advice as to how I can overcome this irrational reaction to men?
Firstly, big hugz. I used to be this way - there's times I still am. I personally didn't get therapy - my work forced me out of my shell. Working as a journalist and then in public relations opened my eyes to the fact that male people are just people. Also they guy who is worth your time will be willing to be patient. I do not do the 3 date rule thing. I'll kiss you when I want to kiss you and if that happens on the first date or the 99th if you're really interested in me you'll stick around. Don't rush yourself, don't apologise for choosing abstinence. Its what you believe will make you happiest so follow that path.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:57 PM   #11
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Default The Friend Zone

For me, whenever I end up meeting an attractive person, I always end up in the friend zone. I don't know why. Every time I try and try and try to flirt with someone, whenever I either a) ask them out or b) ask someone to ask them out for me, they just say I'm too good of a friend to loose.

Maybe that just means no one actually wants to date me

Maybe that means I'm just a friend

Maybe, it means I should flirt a little more like a whore

But I want to retain my personality while trying to attract someone. It hasn't exactly worked yet.... I sure hope it does soon though!
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