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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently have brought my 13 year old, almost 100% sure he is an INTP, son to a therapist for anxiety (really social anxiety). I knew he had issues at school talking to teachers, having to talk in class, but I witnessed first hand him having a full out anxiety attack (hyperventilating, crying, vomiting, shaking, etc.) over talking to a small group of very nice adults (3) about his scouting rank and realized it was worse than I thought. I know he would get sick (and cry when he was younger in class) any time he had to present a project.

It had been going on for years but I really had not heard enough from teachers or thought it was that bad. I tossed off some of it to just being an introvert (something I have no experience with personally-I was a "look at me" type kid). However, when he won't talk to a teacher one on one when he has a question or won't go to his scout masters to get an achievement signed off, it is not just being an introvert. It holds him back from things in life.

One of things my son says is that although he does not like getting full out anxiety attacks, he thinks that maybe he just doesn't want to do things. That may be the case for some things but I see that for some of that he is choosing to not do things or even try just because of the fear of social anxiety. Also, for things like scouts (that he says he likes and wants to stay in) or school, you HAVE to be able to talk to people in order to succeed. Especially with school, he is going to hit a point where his dad and I can no longer help him with homework because we are so far removed from school, we don't remember how to do it. I am not expecting him to become an extrovert or even want to change anything about who he is. I just want to make sure he does not fall behind the 8 ball because of social anxiety or have to deal with the physical symptoms of an anxiety attack.

My question to you INTPs is, do you have social anxiety issues and if you do, do you find that you truly don't want to do things (sports, friends, school events) because you are not interested or is the real reason (if you really think about it) is because of your social anxiety?
 
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I had social anxiety issues when I was in elementary school and it sort of returned again when I was an adult. I still often sweat and stutter when I do presentations.

It's an unconscious reaction for me that I find very frustrating. When I'm interested in something I really like to tell people, even if it's a big audience, the problem is my body doesn't want to cooperate and often forces me to react negatively.

The way I overcome it is by repetition. I know for a fact that I will sweat waterfalls my first round, but the second round isn't as bad, the third gets better and so on.

I am no doctor or therapist but here are my suggestions:

The first step is vocal projection in my opinion, he has to be able to be comfortable speaking loudly. I know your child is still young, but I would suggest having him practice speaking up when he talks with you and speaking loud enough so he can hear himself talk.

The second step is being comfortable expressing himself verbally. Have him practice by asking him about his day no matter how mundane it is or what he thinks about something. If he can learn to freely express his opinion on something, that will help him be more relaxed when speaking with anybody.

The third step is being comfortable with a group. I found this to be the hardest, because social anxiety is essentially the fear of social judgment. I would suggest taking him and a group of his friends out somewhere and observe who is the loudest. If it isn't your son, ask him a question and have him talk. Another way to do this is have him practice doing school speeches in front of a mirror and then in front of you. Have him keep doing it until he gets bored. And do this on a regular basis. Or enroll him into a public speaking class when he's older.

Again, I'm not a doctor or a therapist, these are only my suggestions from what I had to do in order to overcome social anxiety.
 

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It's disinterest. I can think of a boatload of things I'd rather be doing. People are confining, dealing with them is never straightforward, and they often are conversationally underwhelming. For me to find someone I can converse with effortlessly is rare and I treasure such people earnestly.

I've just learned to force myself to do social things because I know the aftermath is healthy and the new experiences are uplifting even if the socializing is a tedious chore. It's not the people that matter, it's the physical act of putting yourself out there and practicing small talk. It's like jogging in place: boring as shit but still counts as exercise.

That being said I have never had incapacitating panic episodes.
 
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My question to you INTPs is, do you have social anxiety issues and if you do, do you find that you truly don't want to do things (sports, friends, school events) because you are not interested or is the real reason (if you really think about it) is because of your social anxiety?
I have some social anxiety issues, which I'm mostly handling pretty well. However, I have refused to do things because of my social anxiety, even though I knew I would probably like doing them if not for being anxious.
 

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That level of anxiety needs a professional so I'll stay away from commenting too much on that.

As for not wanting to do things. I think it's ill advised to assume that he is not interested in anything because of the social anxiety. It's a bit of flower and roses problem. Where he gets social anxiety he definitely won't want to do it, but just because he doesn't want to do it doesn't mean it's because of social anxiety.

I for example don't have any active interests.

I do think that you identified the problems correctly in that social skills are a must in today's society. Extroversion is the ideal, and if you can't even talk to people you're just screwed.
 

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From my own experiences I can tell you that anxiety is driven by fear, and you should be looking to find a way to remove the stressors, rather than force him to overcome his fears at his age. If he enjoys the company of his peers which from the sound of it he does, then There is a good chance he may be ENTP. We can be extremely introverted when young and would type INTP. Due to our extroverted desire to be with people we suffer terrible social anxiety as we need people but struggle to interact with them. His fear of adults and asking questions of them could also have been caused by speaking out and being harshly criticised by a authority figure. Forcing someone to “be normal” is the opposite of what you need to. A person first of all needs to be comfortable being themselves, before they can work on improving themselves. I don’t mean to sound oppinionated but having lived through that hell myself its a little bit of a sore point.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
From my own experiences I can tell you that anxiety is driven by fear, and you should be looking to find a way to remove the stressors, rather than force him to overcome his fears at his age. If he enjoys the company of his peers which from the sound of it he does, then There is a good chance he may be ENTP. We can be extremely introverted when young and would type INTP. Due to our extroverted desire to be with people we suffer terrible social anxiety as we need people but struggle to interact with them. His fear of adults and asking questions of them could also have been caused by speaking out and being harshly criticised by a authority figure. Forcing someone to “be normal” is the opposite of what you need to. A person first of all needs to be comfortable being themselves, before they can work on improving themselves. I don’t mean to sound oppinionated but having lived through that hell myself its a little bit of a sore point.
He is definitely not an ENTP, introvert aside. Ti is EXTREMELY dominant with him. Logic and overthinking is his superpower. As a Ne dominant myself, overthinking is not our usually MO. It's "look as you are leaping" while a Ti-dominant person is "look and probably decide not to leap because of all the possible scenarios that could go wrong". (Se dominants are the "leap before you look types").

I have no idea why you would say ENTPs are introverted when they are young. In my experience and pretty much everyone else I have spoken to on here (and IRL), we ENTPs were all extroverted acting as small children (unless some childhood trauma was involved) until our pre-teen/teen years when some went through a time of being more isolated or introverted (usual teen angst type stuff). One thing that people mistake for "introverted" when having to type themselves as ENTP is independence. ENTPs are extremely independent (almost to a fault). Most ENTPs would prefer doing things alone if that means they can do it the way they want to without having to take other people in consideration. I love traveling alone and in general love getting out by myself. However, I am not so good sitting around my house for long periods of time, with or without people with me. I think it's that Ne seeking new things which can often be restricted when other people around. I am actually much better at being alone than my ISTJ husband. For him through, new experiences and ideas wear him out while that is what gives me energy.

My son seems to get his energy from sitting around thinking over actually getting out and around people. Regardless, he definitely needs to be away from people. He had a very hard time when I had to have him in an after school daycare program because by the time school was done, he needed to chill out and be by himself but instead he was around more kids. It was really much better when we were able to work out being able to not have him go to daycare (in contrast, my ESFJ daughter is incapable of playing by herself so she has a constant need to be with people). With his friends, he always plays with them in spurts. He will barely talk to his friends for days other than on the bus on the way to school and then he will go over to his friend's house and spend the night and most of the day playing video games with him. He prefers going to his friend's house over having him come to ours because his friend has more video game stuff and no annoying younger sibling. He has been around his friend's family for so long, he is very comfortable around them. Really though, he comes home from school and goes up in his room to research random stuff or just zone out. He needs that down time.

I can also tell when talking to him that he is not ENTP. I have two ENTP friends in real life and holy crap, it's like being on some kind of upper drug when we get talking. Our Ne makes us have the craziest, all over the place conversations where we barely finish our thoughts because the other person can follow it (while every one else is lost). I do not get that with my son, although we have great conversations because we are interested in pretty much any new topic and the other two in the family are SJs that don't quite get us. I do notice that my son tends to monologue when he starts to talk which I really believe is because he doesn't talk much throughout the day so some of the stuff that was mulling around in his head starts to come out in one big paragraph. I learned that until he gets it out, he is still in head so he is not really hearing your part of the conversation. I just wait until the end to add anything.

I know fear drives anxiety (usually irrational fear). He is just as afraid of making a mistake in front of his peers as he is his teacher so I don't think it is only because an authority figure criticized him (if that is the case). He just seems to get worked up in his head of every worst case scenario (real or irrational) and convinces himself that it will happen. Being afraid of reading out loud in class, for example. If you mess up a word, it is a blip on the radar of everyone else reading along. No one really cares or thinks much about it for more than a second. In the head of someone with social anxiety, they will focus on the word they messed up and are sure everyone is making fun of them. It's because in their head, that's all they can think about so they irrationally assume other people are thinking about it too.

I have no urge to make him "normal" (whatever the hell that is). I am fine with him hiding out in his room when he comes home from school to recharge. I am fine with him hanging with his friends in spurts (as long as he does actually occasionally hang out with them, introvert or not, it is not healthy to completely isolate yourself). I am fine with him not getting into debate team, drama, and all those activities that make you have to speak in front of a group. I love his brain, his love of researching crap and weird things he does. What I am not ok with is shaking and vomiting because he has to talk to a scout mom, crying and getting physically ill when he has to talk to a teacher before class, or deciding not to do something he would actually enjoy because of social anxiety. From what I know about social anxiety, it tends to get worse, not better if left unresolved.
 
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Edit: Actually, I'm remembering something I read a while ago. In light of that and my own experience, I had to revise this substantially.

Until recently, I was terrified of failure. I staked my self worth on my competence and the prospect of failure terrified me so much it sucked the enjoyment out of my career path. I was constantly paralyzed, and this prevented me from perfoming adequately, thus rendering me incompetent by virtue of fear of being incompetent. Perhaps this sounds familiar?

I ended up losing this fear when I ended up being put through a full year of grappling with it, to the point I got tired of being scared shitless, stopped staking my self worth, and my ability to be happy on my work (i.e how I make money for others) , and I'm free now. I actually am starting to enjoy what I do again.

Basically you need to love him, all of him, including the part that pukes at the prospect of talking to a teacher. His self worth needs to stem from something other than presentation or performance, and during early development that source is largely determined by parental impressions.

The tricky bit about this problem is that fussing over his phobia and directly pressuring him to change it is essentially rejecting a part of him as inadequate or wrong, this may actually add to the problem instead of detracting from it as he may feel guilt and fixate over it as it essentially renders him as "broken" to his parents. The world won't really end if he never talks one on one to teachers for the rest of his life or if he grows to be the kind of person that shits himself upon learning if he learns someone's a scout mom....is it really worth putting this kind of pressure on him? Puke and shit can be cleaned, trauma is a bit trickier. Self development isn't something you can pressure someone into wanting.

Fear may also stem from a lack of knowledge. An overactive Ti/Si pair looks for things that may have been overlooked, and without actual outside input, it can run in place forever, endlessly combing the data accrued thus far without gathering new data.

You're a Ne dom, jump start his own Ne. Use hyperbolic comedy. Take what his Ti throws at him, blow it up to its logical conclusion and show it to him. Show him people aren't perfect. Show him perfection is exhausting and too subjective to be worth it. Get him to put himself in the teacher's shoes, to understand that if he wouldn't really judge himself in their place, odds are they won't either. Show him that, while the world won't end if he never speaks to teachers ever in his life...maybe that's a common fear and teachers often get sad about being avoided by scaredy students because teachers go into that profession because they love helping the kids they teach.

Another thing that helps is scale: Everything is insignificant and meaningless in the larger scheme of things, but if his perspective is super narrow as children's tend to be, it's pretty easy to see the smallest failures as catastrophes. I basically was so terrified of asking the teach for permission to go to the washroom as a kid that I held it in until I peed myself constantly...it was dreadful back then, and I got teased a lot too so I would cover it up with a sweater.

Now I'm just annoyed I didn't just get up and go instead of worrying about whether the goddamn cow would let me go. Who is she to make me hold it in anyway? Is the world gonna end if I go pee while she's doing her lecture? Most of the stuff I learned back then ended up being absolutely useless to me anyway. And why do my classmates care if I peed myself? I could think circles around them regardless of the state of my undergarments. Plus....it's just a pair of pants.

A quote I learned yesterday really applies to this: "Some of the worst things in my life never even happened" - Mark Twain.

 
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I'm not a girl with INTP functions, but I needed to answer out of knowledge because of my experience. I have had many emotional dilemmas, also with social anxiety. The best thing is to make your son acknowledge that he doesn't have to change that. He is loved with his difficulties and insecurities. These disorders stem from feeling like our weaknesses are not accepted. It might be good for him to have an anxiety attack in front of people and see that they will respond in a nice way. I think it will come to him...it's a natural process of growth adolescence. Believe me I struggled a lot. I have been to the emergency room because of a mental breakdown I had, I struggled with ptsd, I had depersonalization disorder so in time a learned a lot about dealing with emotions, especially anxiety, which is mainly triggered by the fear of fear. Is he having enough fun in his life right now ? Maybe there are other pressures that push him
 

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From my own experiences I can tell you that anxiety is driven by fear, and you should be looking to find a way to remove the stressors, rather than force him to overcome his fears at his age. If he enjoys the company of his peers which from the sound of it he does, then There is a good chance he may be ENTP. We can be extremely introverted when young and would type INTP. Due to our extroverted desire to be with people we suffer terrible social anxiety as we need people but struggle to interact with them. His fear of adults and asking questions of them could also have been caused by speaking out and being harshly criticised by a authority figure. Forcing someone to “be normal” is the opposite of what you need to. A person first of all needs to be comfortable being themselves, before they can work on improving themselves. I don’t mean to sound oppinionated but having lived through that hell myself its a little bit of a sore point.
I like this
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm not a girl with INTP functions, but I needed to answer out of knowledge because of my experience. I have had many emotional dilemmas, also with social anxiety. The best thing is to make your son acknowledge that he doesn't have to change that. He is loved with his difficulties and insecurities. These disorders stem from feeling like our weaknesses are not accepted. It might be good for him to have an anxiety attack in front of people and see that they will respond in a nice way. I think it will come to him...it's a natural process of growth adolescence. Believe me I struggled a lot. I have been to the emergency room because of a mental breakdown I had, I struggled with ptsd, I had depersonalization disorder so in time a learned a lot about dealing with emotions, especially anxiety, which is mainly triggered by the fear of fear. Is he having enough fun in his life right now ? Maybe there are other pressures that push him
He luckily has friends that really seem to accept him for who he is. I work full time so during the summer, the kids go to a local summer camp. He is in a camp for tweens/teens that they go on a field trip pretty much everyday. He surprisingly loves going to that camp, to the point of still wanting to go for couple weeks this summer even though next year he will be old enough to be home alone during the day and does not need to go to camp. He met this group of boys (one he knew from school) at this camp and they really formed a tight group of kids. He has a fear of heights that makes him have essentially an anxiety attack when he goes on rides or does activities with any height. His group of friends he hangs out with at summer camp are very cool with him and did not make fun of him for having it and tried to work through it with him. His friends that he has kept from elementary school all tend to be nice to him too and don't tease him for his quirks.

My son and I have talked a lot about the anxiety with logic and me explaining what others are thinking. That is what prompted the therapy. I told him that the therapist can help him figure out strategies to deal with the anxiety. Nothing is wrong with having anxiety but when it keeps him from doing every day activities or things he would enjoy, it needs to be addressed. I am a scientist and an extrovert who has never has had much issues with confidence or anxiety, I have no background to figure out what to do. Truly, I do not want to change him (which everybody seems to think I want him to change), I just want him to figure out the tools to deal with it so that he is not starting his independent life on shaky footing.

As an ENTP, I really try to encourage fun. I love when he goes to his friends house and stays the night. I am not expecting him to be a social butterfly but I do think it is important to be with friends and do interesting things.

Really though, him talking to a therapist is a good thing in that he can tell him things that he is dealing without worrying about home reprocusions. If I'm pissing him off or his dad (honestly I am sure there are issues with him because of his ISTJ dad-those two are SOOOO different and neither seems to understand the other one) it is probably good he has an outlet to talk it out.

We do have a good relationship though. He talks to me very honestly and frankly about a lot (some things I am not sure I really want to know about as a mom). I hope that doesn't change that he is comfortable talking to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm not a girl with INTP functions, but I needed to answer out of knowledge because of my experience. I have had many emotional dilemmas, also with social anxiety. The best thing is to make your son acknowledge that he doesn't have to change that. He is loved with his difficulties and insecurities. These disorders stem from feeling like our weaknesses are not accepted. It might be good for him to have an anxiety attack in front of people and see that they will respond in a nice way. I think it will come to him...it's a natural process of growth adolescence. Believe me I struggled a lot. I have been to the emergency room because of a mental breakdown I had, I struggled with ptsd, I had depersonalization disorder so in time a learned a lot about dealing with emotions, especially anxiety, which is mainly triggered by the fear of fear. Is he having enough fun in his life right now ? Maybe there are other pressures that push him
The social anxiety is not new. He has had some version of it since preschool. His first few weeks of preschool, he was dry heaving when he got there. He had a lot of unspecified stomach issues as a kid and after I saw the full out anxiety attack, I realized it most likely was from anxiety. After witnessing the attack, I realized it was at a point that was beyond something I could help. I have had friends that had anxiety attacks and they said how horrible it feels because they have so little control of their bodies. With my friends too, the anxiety attacks feed more because they then start worrying about having another attack in certain situations which triggers more attacks.
 

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My son seems to get his energy from sitting around thinking over actually getting out and around people. Regardless, he definitely needs to be away from people. Really though, he comes home from school and goes up in his room to research random stuff or just zone out. He needs that down time.
I love his brain, his love of researching crap and weird things he does. What I am not ok with is shaking and vomiting because he has to talk to a scout mom, crying and getting physically ill when he has to talk to a teacher before class, or deciding not to do something he would actually enjoy because of social anxiety. From what I know about social anxiety, it tends to get worse, not better if left unresolved.
I have one younger brother that's an ENTP, and another that's an ISTP. The ENTP is exactly how you described, random, extremely extroverted, tells me the weirdest stuff. The ISTP however acts a lot like how you described your son. He's fourteen currently, very intelligent, but not that long ago had an issue with running away from school when the teachers singled him out. His favorite place is alone in the basement playing video games or teaching himself how to build weird scientific contraptions. He also likes to keep his social sphere small. In this sense he and I are very similar.

However, while I can say I disliked and was easily overwhelmed by people as a kid, I never had panic attacks like my ISTP brother does. Rather, I exhibited a great deal of avoidant behavior, like reading, sleeping, or listening to music to get out of socializing with other people. I think that's one of the main differences between the S and the N on us IxTPS. While I never liked being put on the spot, having to speak in front of the class, or go to teachers for help, I usually managed to figure out some N way to either get around it or make it easier for myself. My ISTP brother just cries and panics when put in the same situations because he convinces himself there's only one possible result and that result is always going to be bad.

I’ve noticed, however, that if you can motivate an ISTP with an activity they do like (typically a hands-on/athletic sort of thing, like skiing, skate boarding, or parkour) they loosen up a bit. My brother has gone through dozens of weird hobbies, so he’s open to try a lot, but for some reason anything involving team activities or social pressure has always been met with a ton of resistance.

Regardless of if he’s an INTP or an ISTP, I don’t think the reaction he’s giving is primarily due to a fear of judgement, rather, a fear of the unknown. Us IxTPs spend a lot of time alone. We have simple needs, and a great desire for independence. That naturally leads to a lessened understanding of people who make more complex demands of us, especially when they express those demands in dramatic ways.

I don’t know your son, but I think part of the healing process for this hyper-introversion is getting over the idea that the differences he’s seeing in other people are malicious or somehow going to hurt him. Maybe push him to attend an activity where there’s less focus on people and more on the actual thing at hand, that way he can gradually get used to group dynamics through exposure without the kind of overbearing social pressure one can sometimes get from being on a sports team, scouting, or certain clubs.

I think it's great that you're discussing with him logically what other people are thinking---getting a new perspective is always highly appreciated by Ti dominants. Out of curiosity, does he talk much about how he’s feeling in great detail? Or is it more just analysis of situations he doesn't like?
 

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Someone here said fear. Yes it is fear. Fear can become a comfort if there is someone there encourage it. I am not a certified anything... I fix dents in cars... But from my experience, there is a place between solving your child's problems and letting them go to solve the problems themselves.

A 13 year old boy... going through puberty. Dealing with masturbation, which, unless you are a helicopter parent, he is negotiating himself (Sorry, to be blunt, this as part of nature and an important factor in a 13 year old boys life). His body is changing, kids are talking about sex (Even if you have protected him from the perversions of the internet, his classmates are there to spread their access), hierarchies are forming based on popularity and appearance. There are likely kids below him who are worse off than him and he is trying to avoid falling into that category. Popularity is now important and judging by your question, he does not fit in with that group. He is likely embarrassed to draw ANY attention to himself. He knows you only want to help him, but screams internally "You have no idea what I am dealing with" and there is no way that you truly can.

I was that kid, I was a great student, until my mother showed up. (not claiming you are the problem, just telling you my experience). She had such high expectations of me that anytime she showed up, I froze, would get sick, even had to change schools. I eventually started to fail purposely so I could lessen her expectations. I wanted to succeed on my own. Something I think most kids want. Eventually it turned into me being a failure and she would tell me "I hate that I have to lie to people that you are such a great student! What happened to you?". Even to this day, I am a failure in her eyes. This has soured our relationship to the point where I am 34 years old have little hope of it ever being healthy. Not to say my life is perfect, but I haven't had her support since I was 18.

If this doesn't resonate at all... GREAT! But if you even have a momentary hint of familiarity, try to accept that simply trying to change it might mean more suffering for him.

As far as the psychiatrist goes, I see it like cigarettes, you cant force someone to quit unless they want to an just like AA is only effective if the person going through it is there by there own free will.
 

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My son and I have talked a lot about the anxiety with logic and me explaining what others are thinking. That is what prompted the therapy. I told him that the therapist can help him figure out strategies to deal with the anxiety. Nothing is wrong with having anxiety but when it keeps him from doing every day activities or things he would enjoy, it needs to be addressed. I am a scientist and an extrovert who has never has had much issues with confidence or anxiety, I have no background to figure out what to do. Truly, I do not want to change him (which everybody seems to think I want him to change), I just want him to figure out the tools to deal with it so that he is not starting his independent life on shaky footing.

As an ENTP, I really try to encourage fun. I love when he goes to his friends house and stays the night. I am not expecting him to be a social butterfly but I do think it is important to be with friends and do interesting things.

Really though, him talking to a therapist is a good thing in that he can tell him things that he is dealing without worrying about home reprocusions. If I'm pissing him off or his dad (honestly I am sure there are issues with him because of his ISTJ dad-those two are SOOOO different and neither seems to understand the other one) it is probably good he has an outlet to talk it out.

We do have a good relationship though. He talks to me very honestly and frankly about a lot (some things I am not sure I really want to know about as a mom). I hope that doesn't change that he is comfortable talking to me.
This is the bit that could go either way.... we only have your word for it. For all we know, the anxiety is "something to eradicate", a wrong thing that's hurting him. and he could be getting that pressure from either of you. We have no way to know.
The anxiety is part of him, and a natural consequence of the wonderful mind he has. It's part of him, he has to choose to change himself. Presumably he would want to do things without vomiting and such, but maybe he just doesn't care that much about the things? He needs to decide honestly.

And all you can do to minimize damage is love the shit out of him, and guide him to understand that mind of his without judgment even if he never gets over it. It's counterintuitive but it is the most helpful approach. It's easier to change via positive reinforcement.

The book 7 Habits of the Hghly Effective Person has a story like this, only with the author's son, who underperformed at sports. It's a good read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Someone here said fear. Yes it is fear. Fear can become a comfort if there is someone there encourage it. I am not a certified anything... I fix dents in cars... But from my experience, there is a place between solving your child's problems and letting them go to solve the problems themselves.

A 13 year old boy... going through puberty. Dealing with masturbation, which, unless you are a helicopter parent, he is negotiating himself (Sorry, to be blunt, this as part of nature and an important factor in a 13 year old boys life). His body is changing, kids are talking about sex (Even if you have protected him from the perversions of the internet, his classmates are there to spread their access), hierarchies are forming based on popularity and appearance. There are likely kids below him who are worse off than him and he is trying to avoid falling into that category. Popularity is now important and judging by your question, he does not fit in with that group. He is likely embarrassed to draw ANY attention to himself. He knows you only want to help him, but screams internally "You have no idea what I am dealing with" and there is no way that you truly can.

I was that kid, I was a great student, until my mother showed up. (not claiming you are the problem, just telling you my experience). She had such high expectations of me that anytime she showed up, I froze, would get sick, even had to change schools. I eventually started to fail purposely so I could lessen her expectations. I wanted to succeed on my own. Something I think most kids want. Eventually it turned into me being a failure and she would tell me "I hate that I have to lie to people that you are such a great student! What happened to you?". Even to this day, I am a failure in her eyes. This has soured our relationship to the point where I am 34 years old have little hope of it ever being healthy. Not to say my life is perfect, but I haven't had her support since I was 18.

If this doesn't resonate at all... GREAT! But if you even have a momentary hint of familiarity, try to accept that simply trying to change it might mean more suffering for him.

As far as the psychiatrist goes, I see it like cigarettes, you cant force someone to quit unless they want to an just like AA is only effective if the person going through it is there by there own free will.
It really doesn't resonate too much actually. I am an ENTP with ADHD which means I was a pretty sucky student. He is actually a better student than I was because he is less likely to lose things or completely forget to do them (if he doesn't do it, it usually is a choice). My advantage was my teachers knew I knew the material because I always participated in class discussions and I have zero fear asking questions when I don't know something. I have continually told the kids that I do not care about grades, I just want them to make an effort. If they tried and got a B or C, I would be happier than if barely tried for an A. I have no idea what his homework or tests are because I realized he works better the more hands off I am (my husband pretty much stays out of school work). Effort is really what I am asking for.

That is where the problem lies. Being completely independent in school, it is up to him to ask for help when he doesn't understand what he is doing. He will ask me on occasion, though the one thing I am guilty of is telling him that if he needs my help, he cannot wait until 9:30 pm the night before it is due to ask me because after 9:00 pm, after his sister goes to bed, that time is mine to do whatever the hell I want or need to do. I am sure he ends up not getting stuff done because he procrastinated and by the time he looks at the homework, it is too late to ask questions. As he continues on, he is going to get to a point when he NEEDS to ask for help and ask questions to people who are not me to even understand material. In a math class that builds on itself, if he falls behind, it gets worse and worse to catch up and although I am pretty good in math and do use some trig in my job, I have no idea what the teacher is teaching and the new methods they use. He is so afraid of talking to teachers and even other students because he's worried they will think he is dumb for not knowing something, he won't ask.

The thing is, you can't just avoid things that make you uncomfortable in life. There are things you just HAVE to do, personality or not. I had a pretty terrible phobia of vomiting (other people or myself) for most of my life which had me have a full out panic attacks when someone around me did it. I almost wasn't going to have kids because I knew I would have to deal with it. Guess what, said son was a huge puker for most of his childhood. He had GERD as a baby, tended to get stomach viruses easily, and has that wonderful anxious stomach. But, I'm a mom, and I just had to deal with it because someone had to do it (my husband is both a really sound sleeper and is less able to handle puke clean up-which actually I can clean up puke better than I can deal with the person who is puking). By just sucking it up and continually being exposed to it no matter how I felt about it, I am almost phobia-free. I don't really get panic attacks when they are sick anymore (or feeling like they could be sick). Like my son with social anxiety, the anticipation of thinking someone could get sick was worse than actually dealing with someone being sick. I say this because I know, the more you avoid something that you fear, the worse you make that fear in your head. It's crippling. Again, I am just trying to head off this issue before it gets worse or leads to worse issues.

As far as popularity goes, he seems really not interested in it at all. He seems to have a similar thought as I did when I was in school that the popular people following each other like puppies is ridiculous. Also, he seems to actually be better in middle school than he was in early elementary as far as overall anxiety goes so I don't think this a puberty thing. He had a couple teachers he did not like or connected with in early school and I got a lot of fake-sick calls from the nurse back then and vomiting before school (although some of this was exasperated by allergies and drainage). Still though, he has anxiety attacks and still has his fear of asking questions to teachers and I really think he could use some advise from someone who knows something about it and at a minimum have a safe space to talk about how much of a pain in the ass I or his dad is.

When he was going through the anxiety attack and in discussions since, he was in favor of going to a therapist because he didn't like how he felt. It was only when we actually got the appointment that he said, he didn't want to go (mainly because this was going to a place to talk to a stranger). Once we met with the therapist, he is much more willing to go. If I feel like therapy is not really helping or causing more issues, I would not leave him going. I just know so many of my friend's kids really benefited from it and really put them in a better spot moving forward into adolescence.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is the bit that could go either way.... we only have your word for it. For all we know, the anxiety is "something to eradicate", a wrong thing that's hurting him. and he could be getting that pressure from either of you. We have no way to know.
The anxiety is part of him, and a natural consequence of the wonderful mind he has. It's part of him, he has to choose to change himself. Presumably he would want to do things without vomiting and such, but maybe he just doesn't care that much about the things? He needs to decide honestly.

And all you can do to minimize damage is love the shit out of him, and guide him to understand that mind of his without judgment even if he never gets over it. It's counterintuitive but it is the most helpful approach. It's easier to change via positive reinforcement.

The book 7 Habits of the Hghly Effective Person has a story like this, only with the author's son, who underperformed at sports. It's a good read.
I am not anticipating him being anxiety-free. I think that is just a part of him. Learning techniques to lessen the affects of anxiety can help him now and in the future. Finding a non-judgmental place to talk with someone who can offer techniques to deal with daily life is a good thing.

I will say, this INTP forum was partially what fueled me into wanting to have professional help for him. It seems like, at least based on the INTPs who are on this forum (which may or may not be statistically accurate because those who are in here might be more likely to have issues they are seeking answers to), there is a lot of anxiety, depression, and general life unhappiness. Most INTPS on here seem to describe their childhoods as unhappy and blame their parents/society for their issues or say the reason they have issues because no one understands them (which INTPs tend to take as their own special issue when I think almost every other type but SJs feel this exact same way-just some other types are not as in their heads as INTPs so they are less affected by it). This forum is often depressing to visit as a parent of an INTP because it seems like those on here give a bleak future for an INTP child (at least for the first 25-30 years of their lives). It makes me sad that my kid could be as anxious, depressed and as unhappy as many of the people on this forum for a significant part of his life and be as resigned that it is just who he is instead of looking to improve his overall contentedness and happiness. It seems like many take their depression and anxiety as part of their sense of self when they have so many great (but potentially hidden) things about themselves that get masked by depression and anxiety.

As a parent, you can only do what you can do for your kid. No one is perfect and we all do things for our kids that may hurt them thinking we are helping. Getting the ability to see what affects you, verbalize and recognize your issues with your parents and your life, and learn ways to deal with it at an earlier age I feel can only help.
 
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I think it's great that you're discussing with him logically what other people are thinking---getting a new perspective is always highly appreciated by Ti dominants. Out of curiosity, does he talk much about how he’s feeling in great detail? Or is it more just analysis of situations he doesn't like?
He kind of does both although it is probably more analysis over feelings. Moreover the feelings are when trying to understand his ISTJ dad. They are just so far apart in their thinking that sometimes I have to play the intermediary to have him understand what his dad is thinking. We really do have great conversations. He is so smart and witty and gets just a geeked out over random stuff as me. I hope we don't lose that ability to talk to each other as he gets older.

I have no doubts in my son's iNtuitiveness. The biggest reason is the wanting to really understand things, even things he could care less about and have no bearing on his life. I noticed in being exposed to lots of sensors in my life, Sensors tend to want to learn about things that have a use or interest in their life and do not have the curiosity about stuff that have no bearing in their life. Intuitives really have a curiosity for things they don't understand or know about and will really look into those things regardless of whether it has any importance to their life. The P to J just determines how random or detailed an iNtuitive gets into the stuff they get curious about.
 

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I am not anticipating him being anxiety-free. I think that is just a part of him. Learning techniques to lessen the affects of anxiety can help him now and in the future. Finding a non-judgmental place to talk with someone who can offer techniques to deal with daily life is a good thing.

I will say, this INTP forum was partially what fueled me into wanting to have professional help for him. It seems like, at least based on the INTPs who are on this forum (which may or may not be statistically accurate because those who are in here might be more likely to have issues they are seeking answers to), there is a lot of anxiety, depression, and general life unhappiness. Most INTPS on here seem to describe their childhoods as unhappy and blame their parents/society for their issues or say the reason they have issues because no one understands them (which INTPs tend to take as their own special issue when I think almost every other type but SJs feel this exact same way-just some other types are not as in their heads as INTPs so they are less affected by it). This forum is often depressing to visit as a parent of an INTP because it seems like those on here give a bleak future for an INTP child (at least for the first 25-30 years of their lives). It makes me sad that my kid could be as anxious, depressed and as unhappy as many of the people on this forum for a significant part of his life and be as resigned that it is just who he is instead of looking to improve his overall contentedness and happiness. It seems like many take their depression and anxiety as part of their sense of self when they have so many great (but potentially hidden) things about themselves that get masked by depression and anxiety.

As a parent, you can only do what you can do for your kid. No one is perfect and we all do things for our kids that may hurt them thinking we are helping. Getting the ability to see what affects you, verbalize and recognize your issues with your parents and your life, and learn ways to deal with it at an earlier age I feel can only help.

There is a difference between accepting something as a part of you and letting it define your identity. Subtle nuances like this are what make this situation so delicate and why giving him ownership of this process is crucial.

Also I'm just gonna ignore the fact you basically said you're willing to risk being the cause of him ending up like us if it gives you a shot at preventing him from being like us.

Best of luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
There is a difference between accepting something as a part of you and letting it define your identity. Subtle nuances like this are what make this situation so delicate.

Also I'm just gonna ignore the fact you basically said you're willing to risk being the cause of him ending up like us if it gives you a shot at preventing him from being like us.

Best of luck
I am willing to accept being the issue if that's what come out in the end. As a parent (not sure if you are one), I am saying that you try your best with your children. No one is perfect. I don't believe I am the issue but hopefully therapy will help that be determined. I can only do what I can do. I try to support but mostly, because I know he works better that way, stay out of it unless he wants me to. I would hope if I am the sole reason he has anxiety, I will work with the therapist to alter my interactions so that I support him the best I can. He has had anxiety of some sort pretty much his entire life (which like you said is a product of his wonderful mind).

I know it came out in a harsh way but I ask the question seriously. Do you think that just loving my son and ignoring that having anxiety so bad that he throws up and shakes just having to talk to a teacher is just a part of him and to just accept it will make for an INTP that is well adjusted and not depressed as he moves through adolescence and adulthood? If your mom had not put pressure on you about grades, would you have not had anxiety or would you have just found another thing to get anxiety over?

I accept that his personality is that he will never be a particularly social kid or even a non-anxious kid and I wouldn't want to change that in him but I do not accept the physical toll on his body because of it (which is something I have said to him). Like I have said, I have had panic attacks and I have friends who have had anxiety attacks and I know they are not a something someone wants to experience, and it is definitely not something I want my kid to experience. I have explained to him that anxiety is normal, as is the physical response but a therapist is someone who can help come up with tools to figure out how to deal with the anxiety to keep it from becoming a full out attack.

You do bring up good points in that I need to make sure how I word things to make him not feel judged. I am sure I have said things in a way that doesn't help (I am an ENTP that tends not to mince words and say things bluntly). I will let him decide whether therapy is a good thing for him. He has to try it though to find out. Reading anything online about social anxiety (not just in this forum) makes me very afraid for where it could go if left unchecked. Most case studies seem to indicate that most people do not seek help when it is more manageable but waits until it takes over their life. I am trying to make sure it doesn't get to the point that it takes over his life and he's online saying how anxious, depressed and alone he is. I just see that it already is at a point where it holds him back. I can't imagine it will be easier in high school.

Sorry, if I sounded shitty. Really, I do love my son's personality. He has an amazing mind. There is a lot of similarities between us which is how I figured out he was an INTP. When he was little I thought he was more like my husband because the introverted was very strong and heel digging but as soon as he started school and I saw the daydreaming yet got away with decent grades, inquisitiveness, sloppy work, lack of people-pleasing, and severe independence I could see he was much more like me. He's much more responsible and focused than me (even as an adult) and I am pretty sure he has a photographic memory. Kids do like him and he's always made friends. He is exceptional kind and never one to be moody with his friends (although he's had a few moody friends who he could never figure out how to deal with the mood changes). Girls seem to like him (luckily all the nice, independent girls seem to like him) though he has shown little interest so far in girls in any romantic capacity yet (no interest in boys either, don't think he leans that way). Except for the girl thing (I stay out of it), I've told him all these awesome things about himself. I also let him in the on the fact he is smarter than his sister but because his sister is such a people-pleaser who likes getting recognition, she will probably be in advanced classes and get better grades. I know from personal experience that grades do not dictate how smart someone is.
 
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