Extreme need for isolation and fear of people

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I have tried to explain this to my therapist but he often gets this look on his face that he trully doesn't understand what I am talking about. He feels I am afraid of rejection, I agree to a point. It goes further than that. I just don't understand what it's all about. It hurts in my core and it's simply being around people.


I also see so much of myself in this quote as well as your extended post Onlybygrace. Very often I find it extremely painful to be around other people and replay exchanges, second guessing myself and having pangs of regret over what I said or should have said or done. I have spent my whole life feeling different and worse than other people, never knowing who I can trust. Other people have made me suffer so much that it has honestly been easier just to isolate and avoid them as much as I can. It is a lonely way to go through life, but for me, preferable to being taken advantage of or ridiculed

For someone who has not had a lifetime of these conflicting and excruciating internal dialogues perhaps it might look like an easy task to sort by labelling the issues and tackling them according to the book. In my experience the reality is much more ingrained and complex, and very often it doesn't feel worth taking the risk. This is why I have turned back to my spirituality. I never know when people are going to let me down, but I know that I can always count on God.
I've long had a degree of social anxiety. These days (post PTSD) I care less. I used to have the desire to be around people (even if it was challenging), now I don't really have that desire. Although I think it is useful to be around people.. if only to get positive feedback from the world and a more accurate reflection of the person you are.
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The original post and the posts that came after were all things I can definitely relate to. Especially the comments about trying to be "normal." Most of the things I do that cause me stress are things that I am doing in order to be more "normal". I do feel a lot of resentment sometimes but since my husband has been supporting me all this time, I also do want to get a job and take some of the burden from him eventually. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have recovered as much as I have.

He still puts up with my lack of affection sometimes and he tries to side with me and listen to me gripe when we have relatives visiting and I start to freak out because there's another person in my house. When I lock myself in the bathroom or closet and tell him I'm embarrassed to be seen because I'm having one of my random fits of crying he'll sometimes come in to bring me tissues and check on me and then leave me alone so I can freak out and then calm myself down when the wave passes. I try hard not to make him feel guilty if it's something he says that sets me off because I know that when I'm stressed I can be set off just by someone breathing near me. He tries to help me make friends with girls he thinks I'll like but he doesn't push me to go out though he does invite me when he does things with his friends. Actually he told his friends that he's glad I don't go out because he doesn't have to worry about guys hitting on me or me doing anything crazy like other people's wives. The fact that he sees it as a plus makes me feel better about it.

I still wish I could enjoy my daughter's school events. I force myself to go usually but I always feel very uncomfortable and isolated from the other moms and feel afraid of them judging me. Because my daughter had speaking problems before and is still not great at communicating I often feel that my inability to reach out to the other moms is making it so she doesn't have friends that can come over and stuff. I feel very guilty that my isolationism forces my kids to be the same way sometimes. I feel very selfish.

Edit -
Yeah that was totally just about me... I feel kind of bad about going on and on like that. I just wanted to add some advice that used to help me sometimes although it seems like the original post was from a long time ago. When I was always switching schools I was often anxious around crowds. I found that it was easier if I looked for someone who looked like they might have something in common with me or who just looked like a nice person (usually someone standing by themselves). I would make an effort to talk to that person and see if we had anything in common. Didn't make me feel better exactly but made the situation feel tolerable if I found something to talk about. I think it took my attention away from all the other people around me too. Kind of hard during a sermon but maybe when everyone is milling around beforehand it would help.
I still wish I could enjoy my daughter's school events. I force myself to go usually but I always feel very uncomfortable and isolated from the other moms and feel afraid of them judging me. Because my daughter had speaking problems before and is still not great at communicating I often feel that my inability to reach out to the other moms is making it so she doesn't have friends that can come over and stuff. I feel very guilty that my isolationism forces my kids to be the same way sometimes. I feel very selfish.

I feel the same way. Sometimes I can pass for normal and sometimes I can't. Social events where there is pressure to put on a good face are enormously stressful for me, and I don't really come across very well. I am really out of the social scene with the other moms. I just can't relate to most of them at all and I can't stand the bitchy housewife competitions, they just seem so pointless. But then I worry that if I am unpopular my kids will be as well and won't get invited on playdates, etc, etc. So I drag myself along to these things, put a rictus smile on and get through them minute by minute. I hate them.

The same goes for work events with my husband. I am so afraid of embarrassing him or letting him down that I really can't take the stress. We have kind of worked around this by limiting how often I need to be at them, but they are still unbearable for me.

I really do feel like I am failing him and my children by having this terrible hang up, but so far I haven't been able to find my way out of it. Maybe the therapy that I am doing now will help me with this, maybe it won't. I won't take drugs for it anymore though. If I am a social failure then so be it, I won't cover up the problem with a pharmaceutical band aid again.
Sounds like you are doing better than I am. I have barely just started making any efforts to be social. I think for me what I'd like right now is a small, comfortable group of female friends that I have things in common with. I find it hard because I don't really have any hobbies that are things that can be enjoyed together with somebody else and I get nervous about driving to new places or going to other peoples' houses. I finally made a good friend who I wanted to do things with recently but then she moved. I am still going to keep in touch but I really want to find someone close by who I like as much as I did her. It was really unexplainable but we liked each other from the first moment we met and my husband and hers were already best friends. My husband wants to follow them to where they moved and even though I am scared of going to a new place, I am not as against it as I thought I would be. I almost never meet people I click with right away so I think of them as being very precious.
Ok Im going to be the devils advocate but not as a deliberate act. I get 'people'd out' after a while. I have always been in situations where people interaction was full on. And so every now and again, I just needed to exhale. Go some place quiet and talk with the birdies or the ocean waves.

I would call that BALANCE not withdrawal.

I got the same thing. Said I live alone (not a problem for me) but it was documented as 'lonely'. The only thing I can surmise is the person who wrote that would be 'lonely' if they didnt have a human crutch. I'm not.

Living my myself does not mean either alone nor lonely. It simply means I can pay the rent, chop the wood, fix the roof and can enjoy it when people come, and also when people leave. I had both.

But if you want to talk about 'wholeness' instead of 'aloneness'. I can feel dead empty in a room full of morons, and I can feel whole in a forest or watching a sunset over the water, OR in the company of other like-minded people. I actually dont think its anything to do with whether you can hang out and socialise with (maybe inappropriate) people. THEY dont so why should we?

But if (like the OP) you are in a country town or area, where artistic/creative bent is kinda rare. You CANT find like-minded people there that you have that ease of relationship with.

And often the 'norms', having limited experience in life or anything about it, only like things (or people) that are 'the same as them'. And we arent the same. And I thank god every day we're not.

But why is that seen as such a big 'problem' for not associating with nasty small minded fools?

Ask your shrink if their own group of friends include 'norms'. The ask why THEY dont associate with those people. It might help them to understand where 'you' are coming from.

Geography meets psychology.

EDIT: Thinking about starting up my own group called "I AM NOT A NORM"
EDIT#2: Yep. Frustrated grumpy day.
EDIT#3: Online creative spirit type communities help when it costs far too much to 'go there' in person
I'm so glad I found this site!!! You all say the things I feel, that my husband can't/doesn't understand.

I'm constantly feeling belittled because I don't participate in the "bitchy housewife competitions". My H complains that we don't do enough, go enough places together, but *sooo* much of it is involving very narrow-minded people who do nothing but compare what material things they have. And for me, it's even harder because most of these people are mutual friends of H and his exW, which makes it waaaay harder on me.

His exW and I have what you would call a hate-hate relationship, lol. She's always hated me and been completely *evil* to me from day one--despite the fact that she had an affair and walked out on him and their kids--somehow she projects her badness onto me and decided to punish me for their divorce---Completely messed up, yes?

One of these people we're supposed to be seeing casually is a woman who is great friends with the exW--who made a scene at H's mother's wake and tried to start a nasty cat fight with me. Luckily, I'm battle-hardened from my past life and took her to another part of the restaurant where I verbally lambasted her til she decided it best to stop trying to torment me. Unfortunately, being hard and mean is necessary around these catty evil women or I wouldn't survive....but being mean and catty isn't *who* I am, but *what* I've become.

I try to avoid spending time with people outside of work. During the day, I have to manage multiple people with personalities that, well, grate on me. Plus in my job I have to be *nice* all day long. It is just absolutely draining to be forced to be nice to mean, angry, needy people all day--I feel burnt out. So after work, I just want to chill out--get in touch with nature, decompress. Not sit around playing the "I've got more stuff than you do" game.

So what everyone's saying is sooo true for me as well.

I'm incredibly grateful to have found a place to vent these feelings and not feel different or weird. :)
Oh I think we ARE different, and thats why they SAY we're weird. But as you said badger, you can hold the NICE button down all day, smile at someone you want to say "for gods sake when was the last time you took a shower". Its so FAKE. But its expected and required in order to transfer their money into the bosses pocket.

Sandwiched. So to say we have to do that out of work as well as in?

My sanity at times was just sitting with a cup of tea or a glass of red......in the company of an intelligent person who doesnt feel the need to just to make noise come out of their mouth, but who spoke if there was really something worth saying or sharing or discussing.

I can SO relate to the bitchy housewives comment you made badger.

Great minds discuss great projects
Average minds discuss average things
Small minds discuss other people

I guess it depends on your comfort zone. And line 3 is going to NOT want to hang out with line 1, any more than line 1 wants to hang out with them. So its not being nasty or judgemental.....its just gathering in groups where we dont want to shove a pair of socks in someone's mouth and scream for gods sake shut up!

Not everyone is the same. And we dont have to be the same. In fact its unhealthy for everyone to be the same. But the lower down that list above....the more people believe .....people have to be the same. And start to enforce it by setting out to destroy anyone who isnt, and who wont conform.

I love nuts. Nuts have fun. Nuts are quirky, curious and stimulate both mind and body. Nuts dont eat the same things every Tuesday. The comfort zones for many people are the 'get me out of here' zones for people who investigate and love life and everything it has to offer. And they are not interchangeable.

But there are more norms than nuts. Strength in numbers. Conformity required. (by non-nuts) And shunned by non-norms.

Oil and water.

I LOVE YOU PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!! Mwah!

Just want to say that I really feel the power in your posts! I tried to PM and start a conversation with you.....not allowed for some reason.....so I just wanted to say I understand a lot of what your words relate! So I am glad you are here, even though it sucks that any of us are here.
I like what Jacquie is saying too. I can't talk to people face-to-face. I'm not a shy person, I just don't know how, and despise remarks about the weather and current events that I know nothing about. When I do try to speak up, I seem to say things that people don't expect, and am all too used to the confused stare as a response.

A reclusive existence seems appropriate for a person that values their own company above that of others, especially when conversation makes you feel dirty and over-exposed, although they say the human is a gregarious creature that can't stand being alone. But what can you do when being in the company of others is to you a similar situation to that of an arachnophobe in a room full of spiders?
I can totally relate to what everyone is saying. I also feel the need to isolate myself. At the same time I try really hard to do at least one activity a day.

Today Bright and I took a walk to the lake, around the lake, and back home. It was beautiful. Being outside always feels good for me and helps me calm down. It wasn't direct interaction with people, but having people walk by me really close, I kept jumping. However, I petted Bright, which calmed me down and we made it all the way home.

After a bath and dinner we felt relaxed and cuddled up in bed.

Tomorrow I am going to try something else....

Take care!
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