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Extrovert with Social Anxiety?

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This is a discussion on Extrovert with Social Anxiety? within the ENFP Forum - The Inspirers forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; Originally Posted by ladyminya My anxiety used to be so that I couldn't even ask people what the time was, ...

  1. #21
    Unknown Personality

    Quote Originally Posted by ladyminya View Post
    My anxiety used to be so that I couldn't even ask people what the time was, or for directions if I got lost (or even say 'excuse me' if they were standing in the way - I used to just stand there like an idiot, trying to shrink in on myself until they noticed me). I actually believed these people would respond aggressively to my questions/requests.
    Ughh I'm like this most of the time. Part of it is worrying about their reaction: but also, I have this thing where I think asking for help makes me look weak. Or, I think I'd rather just be patient when someone is in my way than bother them... and then they'll notice and say "why didn't you say anything??".
    I swear to god people walk straight in to me all of the time. Sometimes I say under my breath "hello... am I invisible?" My husband says it's all in my body language (completely non-aggressive).
    Subtle Murder thanked this post.

  2. #22
    Unknown Personality

    Quote Originally Posted by ladyminya View Post
    It's almost as if I didn't have that filter: strangers = threat. Which leads me to believe that my social anxiety was brought on as a result of negative reinforcement (my mother telling me off for talking to strangers/talking too much), bullying, and a learned fear of social responses
    I think you're onto something with the conditioning. I've watched home videos of myself at age 5 or so... and, I would not shut up! My Dad was filming and I would keep nagging and nagging when he was pointing the camera at one of my friends or pets instead of me.

    I remember getting in trouble for talking in kindergarden a lot - I sat next to two of my neighborhood friends and I had to tell them everything. There is one day in particular that sticks out in my mind:
    This one classmate had been hanging his hat on my hook every day because he loved when I got angry about it. Finally one day someone was in the coat closet with me when I found his hat on my hook again -- I threw it on the ground and said to this innocent bystander, "Do you know whose hat this is?? It's Jon's - and I HATE HIM!". Later that day the girl told our teacher, and I was called into a separate room to apologize to Jon for saying I hated him. About ten minutes later we were all outside for recess - and where the teacher couldn't hear - he started bullying me again. And I think I had to stay inside during lunch the following day and watch everyone play outside. I felt like a horrible person.
    I know that's a really silly memory, but it's almost as if I suddenly became self-aware and somewhat scared of talking.

    I became completely scared of talking once middle school started and I didn't have class with anyone
    I knew and the girls from my elementary school would find me in the halls and say things like "What happened to you... you used to be cool." That combined with all of my grandparents passing away around the same time period & therefore rarely seeing extended family, daycare & girl scouts ending, (and having no siblings/introverted parents) seems to have sealed my social anxiety. I wonder if having all of those things happen at the same time made me feel like I did something wrong and that's why I was alone?

  3. #23
    ENFP - The Inspirers

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogDreamer View Post
    Samandeep: I came to the INFP board expecting to find a lot of people to relate to. But your response (even just the writing style with many tangents) sounds the most like me so far. Emotional but not from a dark place, if that makes sense!

    I agree with the whole self-torture/SJ comment. My mom is an ISFJ ... it's so hard because I want one of those close mother-daughter relationships, but I can't handle the matter-of-factness. Sometimes I think a lot of my insecurities started there.
    Haha, thank you! Yah, I could never been the emotional from a dark place person. I actually tried that/did that when I was going through breakdown in communication between me and both of my parents for various reasons. I felt that doing that was such an investment of energy to be dark, angry and depressive. I feel like that I struggled with identity alot and took part in alot of pleasant and unpleasant things to figure myself out but I think now that I'm in my 20s I know who I am more. I almost cried reading your post because a) I'm emotional b) I related to it, it was like reading myself. I was on the INFP board for awhile too but I feel at home here more.

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  5. #24
    ENTJ - The Executives

    Quote Originally Posted by ladyminya View Post
    Which leads me to believe that my social anxiety was brought on as a result of negative reinforcement (my mother telling me off for talking to strangers/talking too much), bullying, and a learned fear of social responses (e.g. "don't annoy people, they might yell at you!") rather than any actual negative experiences I had through social interactions. Which means that this social anxiety stems from a type of conditioning...?

    I think I've just connected the dots. :)
    Although we would like the dots to be easily connected, it is not so simple. Just for clarification purposes, I was confused when I saw the term "negative reinforcement" because this psychological term has an entirely different meaning. Negative reinforcement involves the removal of aversive stimuli by the person. In other words, negative reinforcement for a person with social anxiety would come about after avoiding a social situation by, say, lying about being sick and therefore not attending a dinner party. The action becomes reinforced by the removal of the anxiety-provoking situation and so it is much more likely for that individual to lie the next time he/she is faced with a social event.

    The responses your mother had for you socializing with people borders on punishment. It is kind of like your mother was an electrical shock that was administered to you every time you attempted to engage with a stranger. Understandably, that can become a source of anxiety if your behavior was immediately punished every single time with harsh criticism. By telling you that you might annoy people if you approach them, you mother might have sparked within you the fear of being judged negatively by others, yes. Conditioning at this point is a possible source of the anxiety. But do not forget that the conditioning is not simply external, but also internal (as with the example of negative reinforcement). Your mother may have given you a conditioned fear reaction to strangers.

    Cognitive distortions and faulty perceptions are also to blame. After all, a social event is not threatening unless you perceive it to be.

    There are also biological factors to take into consideration. The enlargement or overactivity of the amygdala, the brain's emotional processor located in the limbic system, is one example. Too much norepinepherine in the amygdala can cause anxiety, as well as diminished GABA (gamma-aminobutyirc acid) receptors in the cortex. Neurons involved in panic attacks become more active with less GABA to inhibit them. That is why anxiety disorders are treated with benzodiazepines, which bind to GABA receptors. The receptors are then activated by this stimulation and inhibition of activation of brain sites involved in panic attacks occurs.

    People with panic disorder also tend to interpret cognitive and somatic manifestations of stress and anxiety in a catastrophic manner which triggers a hypersensitivity to the "suffocation mechanism", a false alarm mechanism triggering the person to believe they are not getting enough oxygen. This leads to hyperventilation and, eventually, a full blown panic attack with the fear of dying being the sole fear. There is also a conditioned fear response when the individual associates certain bodily sensations with the last panic attack, causing a full blown panic attack to develop even before measurable biological changes have even occurred. A an anxiety sufferer may misinterpret a fast heart beat (occurring after hearing some exciting news, for example, or maybe after a jog) with an impending panic attack. By doing so, ironically, they give themselves a panic attack.

    So really, there's no precise source of anxiety. It could be biological, psychological, social, even cultural. There are a number of factors. The best one can do is tend to all of these as effectively as one can.

    And remember, avoiding your fear may be rewarding for the moment but in the long run, you are reinforcing your "captor". All it takes is a willingness to overcome your fear. That willingness can take you a long way, no matter how challenging or difficult. As stupid as this may sound, you may have anxiety but I hope you know that anxiety will never have you. You are, ultimately, in control of your own life.

    I hope this has been both informative and helpful. =)
    chimeric and Subtle Murder thanked this post.

  6. #25
    ENFP - The Inspirers

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogDreamer View Post
    Ughh I'm like this most of the time. Part of it is worrying about their reaction: but also, I have this thing where I think asking for help makes me look weak. Or, I think I'd rather just be patient when someone is in my way than bother them... and then they'll notice and say "why didn't you say anything??".
    I swear to god people walk straight in to me all of the time. Sometimes I say under my breath "hello... am I invisible?" My husband says it's all in my body language (completely non-aggressive).
    I can totally relate to that. My cousin has just finished reading a self-help book, and he has a term for that: passive. He said I am passive rather than assertive (which I pretty much admitted to) and I am more inclined to non-action than any action at all. This is a really interesting article about passive conditioning:

    Why People Remain Quiet, Shy, and Non-Assertive: The Benefits of Passive Behavior and Communication

    I had definitely always been told that my passive behaviour was better than my assertive/outgoing/outspoken behaviour (and this was reinforced by most of the adults in my life, not just my mother).

    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogDreamer View Post
    I know that's a really silly memory, but it's almost as if I suddenly became self-aware and somewhat scared of talking.

    I became completely scared of talking once middle school started and I didn't have class with anyone
    I knew and the girls from my elementary school would find me in the halls and say things like "What happened to you... you used to be cool." That combined with all of my grandparents passing away around the same time period & therefore rarely seeing extended family, daycare & girl scouts ending, (and having no siblings/introverted parents) seems to have sealed my social anxiety. I wonder if having all of those things happen at the same time made me feel like I did something wrong and that's why I was alone?
    I don't think it's a silly memory at all. This boy was bullying you and the only way you knew how to express your feelings was by throwing his hat on the ground and declaring your hatred for him. Then, when your classmate told on you, you were reprimanded for your behaviour. That, in some ways, reinforced that you shouldn't express your feelings (I'm assuming the teacher had no idea that you felt bullied, otherwise (I hope) she would have handled it in a different manner). It sounds like you were overwhelmed by so many things in such a short period of time, and not having an effective outlet for that may have contributed to your social anxiety; especially if you were praised for your passive behaviour (i.e. not being a trouble maker, handling your emotions quietly etc etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by SocioApathetic View Post
    Although we would like the dots to be easily connected, it is not so simple. Just for clarification purposes, I was confused when I saw the term "negative reinforcement" because this psychological term has an entirely different meaning. Negative reinforcement involves the removal of aversive stimuli by the person. In other words, negative reinforcement for a person with social anxiety would come about after avoiding a social situation by, say, lying about being sick and therefore not attending a dinner party. The action becomes reinforced by the removal of the anxiety-provoking situation and so it is much more likely for that individual to lie the next time he/she is faced with a social event.
    Sorry, you're right. Even as I typed it I was like "I don't think this actually means what I think it means", but I couldn't think of another term for what I was trying to say. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by SocioApathetic View Post
    The responses your mother had for you socializing with people borders on punishment. It is kind of like your mother was an electrical shock that was administered to you every time you attempted to engage with a stranger. Understandably, that can become a source of anxiety if your behavior was immediately punished every single time with harsh criticism. By telling you that you might annoy people if you approach them, you mother might have sparked within you the fear of being judged negatively by others, yes. Conditioning at this point is a possible source of the anxiety. But do not forget that the conditioning is not simply external, but also internal (as with the example of negative reinforcement). Your mother may have given you a conditioned fear reaction to strangers.
    I sometimes wonder if my mother's reaction to my behaviour stems from her own upbringing. Before she came to Australia, she lived in a very strict environment where (especially being female) she was not allowed to speak with strangers or visitors unless she was directly addressed. Perhaps seeing me approach people in public triggered a response in her that she then conditioned into me. It's entirely possible. The majority of my family (extended, even) is like that, very conscious of outward appearances (not just physically, but as a social dynamic), and always quick to stamp out anything that might jeopardise their image.

    Quote Originally Posted by SocioApathetic View Post
    Cognitive distortions and faulty perceptions are also to blame. After all, a social event is not threatening unless you perceive it to be.

    There are also biological factors to take into consideration. The enlargement or overactivity of the amygdala, the brain's emotional processor located in the limbic system, is one example. Too much norepinepherine in the amygdala can cause anxiety, as well as diminished GABA (gamma-aminobutyirc acid) receptors in the cortex. Neurons involved in panic attacks become more active with less GABA to inhibit them. That is why anxiety disorders are treated with benzodiazepines, which bind to GABA receptors. The receptors are then activated by this stimulation and inhibition of activation of brain sites involved in panic attacks occurs.

    People with panic disorder also tend to interpret cognitive and somatic manifestations of stress and anxiety in a catastrophic manner which triggers a hypersensitivity to the "suffocation mechanism", a false alarm mechanism triggering the person to believe they are not getting enough oxygen. This leads to hyperventilation and, eventually, a full blown panic attack with the fear of dying being the sole fear. There is also a conditioned fear response when the individual associates certain bodily sensations with the last panic attack, causing a full blown panic attack to develop even before measurable biological changes have even occurred. A an anxiety sufferer may misinterpret a fast heart beat (occurring after hearing some exciting news, for example, or maybe after a jog) with an impending panic attack. By doing so, ironically, they give themselves a panic attack.

    So really, there's no precise source of anxiety. It could be biological, psychological, social, even cultural. There are a number of factors. The best one can do is tend to all of these as effectively as one can.

    And remember, avoiding your fear may be rewarding for the moment but in the long run, you are reinforcing your "captor". All it takes is a willingness to overcome your fear. That willingness can take you a long way, no matter how challenging or difficult. As stupid as this may sound, you may have anxiety but I hope you know that anxiety will never have you. You are, ultimately, in control of your own life.

    I hope this has been both informative and helpful. =)
    Thank you for that information! :) That has definitely been very insightful, especially the bits about what can trigger panic attacks. :) I've had mild ones before - heart palpitations, shortness of breath - but never a full blown one, and since I've started yoga I haven't been getting them too often. :) And that last bit that I bolded is great. :) :) The problem-solver in me agrees with that 100%. It's a matter of overcoming your thoughts in order to take back control. :)
    SocioApathetic thanked this post.

  7. #26
    Unknown

    Oh yeah, extroverts with social anxiety exist! I used to think I was an INFP just because when I found myself in a social situation that I wasn't familiar with, my brain had a temporary meld-down. I started sweating, my blood started racing and I lost control over myself - inside my head I knew exactly what to do, I just couldn't do it. I remember envying those who could socialize without any problems.
    But these reactions are social anxiety, not introvertism (yes that's a word, I just invented it).

    I'm glad I could get myself over this anxiety. One day I woke up, sick of doing this to myself, and decided that I would stop caring what others think of me. It's a bit extreme, but I needed to do that to find the right balance of self-awareness and self-consciousness.

  8. #27
    Unknown Personality

    Long bump... and correct me if I'm wrong. But I though MBTI had nothing to do with social introversion or extroversion, but the function preferences. Therefore an E type MBTI could potentially be the most socially introverted person out of a data set of 100 people.

  9. #28
    ENFP - The Inspirers

    no one gains energy from experiences they find unpleasant- if you have social anxiety then social experiences become negative for you and you automatically shy away from them as a result. one sign of being an introvert would be in being able to cope with this limitation better than an extrovert would- i.e. for an extrovert to find themselves torn between whether or not to pursue social interaction would absolutely kill them, for an introvert it would be an unpleasant experience.

    one sign that you really might be an extrovert would be if you fairly frequently find yourself clinging to social situations even when you are not enjoying them. if you occasionally do have a good social experience, and you that you always feel stronger after these moments then you are more likely to be an extrovert.

  10. #29
    ENFP - The Inspirers

    Hell yes - like a lot of you guys, I used to think i was an INFP. I would have panic attacks and be super hyper focused on what could go wrong in social settings (this invariably meant, if i said or did something that people wouldn't accept me for or would negatively judge me). I craved social interaction but was too hung up on that other stuff (fear). I used CBT without knowing what it was (i would discover it many years later trying to help an ex) to basically "fake it til i made it".

    I believe that a lot of this stemmed from my childhood (7-18) environment. my folks had joined a religious org that turned more cult-like every year. i went from being a super outgoing friendly kid to being afraid to speak to adults. There was a lot of conditioning that reinforced it, including being very afraid of anyone in a position of authority, which negatively affected my relationships with my bosses in my first years of work. I desperately wanted to be normal & well adjusted and sometimes I wonder if i have really successfully worked everything out - almost like i feel i'm too good to be true and i should be a lot more fucked up haha. But i think that's a natural ENFP ability and I'm thankful for it.

    anyway you are not alone and i would really rec reading some books on CBT. i swear by it.

  11. #30
    ENFP - The Inspirers

    It happens to me when the environment is really strange. Like I don't like the feeling in the room. I would rather stay silent and let anyone start speaking to me first. I think I'm an ambivert at times. But when those situations occur until they know me well they will pretty know me as an Introvert. sometimes I just dont like talking to people especially if topics are like mindless or senseless. I think some of those topics are such a waste of time but I entertain them when I am already talking with these people. But I would rather want to stay really silent and quiet pondering about things rather than talk about sex, repetitive talk about games, and story about how stupid this person is.. ugh this generation's entertainment. (as if im not part lol)


     
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